Pushy parents

Gingerwitch

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So one of the kids I gave adopted at the yard does not want to canter, gallop or jump. Dad appears to think child is a future professional rider. Kid just wants to plod.
Told this morning that she needs pushing out of her comfort zone.
I only want to have a relaxed hack I don't mind the kids coming with me but don't feel its appropriate that I am pushing/forcing the kid and tbh i have enough drama in my workload.
I am happy to escort the kids but don't want the drama and starting to think what have I done by taking them out.
By the way mum and dad have separated and kid does not want to jump or gallop.... but won't tell mum or dad. I feel sorry for kid but am feeling that I want to avoid them as I just don't want the pressure or stress, I was drilled when we got back about the ride, where did we trot, canter what did we jump etc.
What would you do as it does seem that mum and dad are competing and poor kid is in the middle.
I can't do fixed arrangements due to work commitments but am now feeling guilty about. saying I cant ride at x time or if I am a little late being ready. They want to ride at 9, but if I am having an issue with one of my others I may be running a little late. Not much but I am feeling a bit hounded.
 

Cowpony

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I think you need to be straight with them. You're not a paid instructor and you are allowing the kids to come with you out of the goodness of your heart. If the father wants more he needs to pay for lessons. If necessary I'd play the "not competent" card (although I'm sure you are), or say that you aren't insured to teach. Tell him that riding is your relaxation and if it gets stressful you won't take them out at all!

Nicely of course :)
 

Not_so_brave_anymore

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Explain to them exactly what you are willing to offer ie the kid can tag along on a hack out if the timings work, and at a pace you choose (and if you're not actually willing to offer anything then say that!) and if they want more than that then they'll have to actually PAY someone else for their services (shock horror!!)

Seriously, some people are proper cheeky ****ers! I'm usually really bad at standing up for myself, but when people are this awful you really don't need to pussyfoot around them (it sounds like he's pretty thick skinned, I'd be surprised if you were physically able to offend him!)

Ps poor kid 😔
 

Flicker

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I‘m not too clear from your post what the parents are expecting of you. Do they want you to teach the child or ride with them?

There’s a lot to unpick here:
1. Presumably the child tags along with you when you ride? Therefore, one would assume that the child should follow the pace that you, the adult, deem appropriate. This is for you to decide as the person in charge at that time. Not the parents.
2. If the parents want the child galloping and jumping, it would seem that the appropriate place for this activity to happen is under the supervision of a qualified instructor.
3. If you are that qualified instructor then it is up to you to explain to the parents why the child has neither the aptitude nor desire to ride at the pace that they want it to.
4. If the child is coming with you as a favour, you have every right to tell the parents to butt the hell out of your ride and that you will do what you consider to be safe and enjoyable. I am staggered that they seem to view you as some kind of free tutor for their child to be bossed around and told when to trot, canter etc. This is extremely rude and entitled behaviour on their behalf.

In general, where I have had horses that are good ’hack-nannies’, I set the day and time that I hack. If others wanted to join me they would either message during the day or wait on the yard until I showed up and ask if they could ride with me. If I wasn’t hacking, tough. If I was running late, tough. On very rare occasions where I‘d had a hideous day and just wanted to be on my own, I would say so. At the end of the day gingerwitch you are doing them and their kid a favour. It should all be on your terms.
 

Winters100

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Oh poor you. You are being so kind letting them come along, and now it seems to be a case of 'no good deed shall go unpunished'.

Regarding the timing I would just tell them that 'I usually go around x time, and if I'm going I can sometimes take them along, but I can't guarantee'. It is your hobby and you should not be made to feel that you are on a schedule. And if they keep grilling you about what pace you were riding at I would just be straight and tell them that you go at the pace you go, if they want to be able to dictate the speed of the ride they can hire someone for this.

So sorry that you are in this situation because all you were doing was being kind, and now you find yourself in an awkward position. I bet you are a godsend to this poor child, having another adult to talk to is probably really helping them. Well done you.
 

mini_b

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If this was me...
...on my terms re timings I’d continue plodding out with the child - sounds like they need just that!

if parent continues to push, I’d also be saying I’m not competent/qualified/horse isn’t sane enough something along those lines to be escorting/teaching a novice to jump and gallop in open spaces then quickly recommend a good instructor who is fab with kids!

I do think it’s rather cheeky they are being this pushy with you, who yourself is not a paid instructor!

Also, If something happened who is responsible? You :( possibly explain to implications re insurances in case of an accident?
 

Winters100

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GW, be very very careful in taking minors out with you, parents get very litigious if anything goes wrong, more so if you are not insured/qualified etc.
I totally get why you say this, and of course you are right, but I find it so sad that things have got like this in the UK. I grew up with a disabled Mother and a Father who was largely 'absent' due to mental health issues. If there would not have been people around who let me tag along in exchange for doing chores then I would have spent many days in the arena. Where I am we don't have these concerns. There is one 13 year old at the yard who likes to ride with me, if I am running late he will bring in and tack up for me and i don't give it a second thought. Likewise I sometimes give him one of mine to ride and he loves it because they are faster than his pony. Of course all are sane and sensible / good to handle etc, but I think that if I was in the UK I would be too afraid to do this because of potential liability. Sad situation.
 

Gingerwitch

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It's hard to understand what the arrangement is that you have with the parents.
It started with the parents following on foot whilst we did loops in full view at various paces and would meet at jump clusters cir parent supervision. this week I got told they were not following but I was to push kid. It was all done as and when I saw them, but they got my phone number off the other little girls mum. and now I feel they are In control as plans are being pushed and if they chang due to my work I get texts saying x is really disappointed Nd was really looking forward to our ride can wec No money changes hands, I like the kid and feel sorry for her but its just more pressure on me. I struggle to fit everything in
 

The Fuzzy Furry

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I totally get why you say this, and of course you are right, but I find it so sad that things have got like this in the UK. I grew up with a disabled Mother and a Father who was largely 'absent' due to mental health issues. If there would not have been people around who let me tag along in exchange for doing chores then I would have spent many days in the arena. Where I am we don't have these concerns. There is one 13 year old at the yard who likes to ride with me, if I am running late he will bring in and tack up for me and i don't give it a second thought. Likewise I sometimes give him one of mine to ride and he loves it because they are faster than his pony. Of course all are sane and sensible / good to handle etc, but I think that if I was in the UK I would be too afraid to do this because of potential liability. Sad situation.
You are right, its v sad indeed.
I sometimes escort adults out on new horses etc, but I emphasise that no money is taken and they ride at their own liability, no horse is infallible.
 

Cinnamontoast

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Honestly, I’d say I can no longer nanny hack. Is this not limiting your own ride? You can’t canter or jump? You’re being nice and these parents are taking the mick. The dad is acting like he’s paying which he isn’t. Telling you the child is disappointed when it’s an informal arrangement is guilt tripping you and interfering with your schedule.

He needs to pay for a proper escorted hack/lessons rather than relying on another livery to take out his child for nothing. And yes, you are responsible if anything goes wrong and you’ve agreed to escort the child, so be aware of that.
 

Winters100

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Isn't it sad though, kid does not even want to gallop or jump and I don't want to be caught up in the drama of it all, as Winters says no good deed goes unpunished.
It really is sad. If they keep going like that the child will probably end up giving up. I hope that you manage to keep out of the drama - no fun at all:(
 

Trouper

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It started with the parents following on foot whilst we did loops in full view at various paces and would meet at jump clusters cir parent supervision. this week I got told they were not following but I was to push kid. It was all done as and when I saw them, but they got my phone number off the other little girls mum. and now I feel they are In control as plans are being pushed and if they chang due to my work I get texts saying x is really disappointed Nd was really looking forward to our ride can wec No money changes hands, I like the kid and feel sorry for her but its just more pressure on me. I struggle to fit everything in
I, too, was going to suggest a softly, softly approach to the parents but when I read this I was astounded!!! What utter cheek.
I think a very firm reminder to them that it is a casual arrangement out of the goodness of your heart and that your hobby can't be timetabled to their requirements. They need an instructor at times to suit them.
 

maya2008

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I would simply say you’re really sorry you cannot be more reliable due to work and needing to do other horses. You really wouldn’t want to be responsible for making any child disappointed so it would be better if they found someone else to take their child out. And end the arrangement there.
 

Midlifecrisis

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I empathise GW and Im not sure there is a way of regaining your “independence “ without ruffling feathers, the child will feel upset and the parents cross that they have to accompany child on hacks again however you approach it but underlying all that is your time and enjoyment. I wonder if you could say to parents..”I’m not sure of my commitments over next week or so but let’s fix a date xxxx for the next time your child can accompany me”.
I now project the “I’m going for a quiet hack“ vibe and kids who want to bomb about don’t come.
 

Keith_Beef

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I, too, was going to suggest a softly, softly approach to the parents but when I read this I was astounded!!! What utter cheek.
I think a very firm reminder to them that it is a casual arrangement out of the goodness of your heart and that your hobby can't be timetabled to their requirements. They need an instructor at times to suit them.
I'd give the dad one last notification that you're not a qualified, insured instructor, that any hacks out with you are solely at your convenience and out of the goodness of your heart and that it would take a very good instructor to overcome his daughter's reluctance to go further.

Make it clear to the child that her dad is being unreasonable when asking you to organise your life around his and his daughter's availability.

If the dad continues to call, tell him "your call is at an inconvenient time, send an SMS", hang up and if the SMS is in any way rude or pushy, block his number.

Life's too short to be dealing with people who want everything for nothing.
 

katastrophykat

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I’m in agreement with most of what’s been said, aside from one of the posters saying to involve the child- she’s already feeling fractured enough between mum and dad without being between dad and another person as well.

Blunt is the only way forwards here- tell him to go jump himself (literally, on foot) then ask him to talk to his child and try to understand that her feelings matter. She won’t be opening up to him much at the moment and might even be telling him the opposite to try to appease him. Although this is all really none of your concern (my OH’s favourite saying is ‘not my circus, not my monkeys’), it’s still hard when you’re caught in the middle.

Best of luck!
 

scruffyponies

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GW - I think you are a doing a beautiful thing by supporting the young ones. Some parents (especially divorced ones) just can't see beyond their own ego, using the kids for status and control. It's selfish, shitty behaviour.

Next time mum or dad try to get you to put pressure on the child, tell them that the child has said they don't want to, and if they wish to bully the child they will have to do so without your help.
 

Annagain

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It sounds like you're happy to hack at the child's pace and aren't missing out on your normal hacks as a result of her being with you? If that's the case, I'd make it clear to the parents that you're happy for the child to come hacking with you as a favour to them but she will have to fit in around your schedule and go at the speed you want to go at (which happens to be at the speed she wants to go at) and that this is a casual arrangement. If either of these things are a problem, or if they want her to be 'pushed', they will have to pay for a qualified person to accompany her.

If she's sometimes waiting for you, could she give you a hand with your others while she's waiting? Assuming, of course, they are safe for her to handle (could she muck out etc if not?). You could have some help and be ready to hack out sooner so she/they benefit too. It also sounds like she could do with some time away from her pushy / competing parents, poor kid.
 

Bluewaves

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The parents probably won't bat an eyelid if you tell them you can't do it because of insurance/health and safety. They're just chancing their arm with you. Everyone gets that there are restrictions on how adults can supervise children. If the children do another activity after school or whatever, the parents will have had to fill in a form for that to give permission.
 

Goldenstar

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TBh I would wiggle out of it because this exactly the type of parent who will sue if child where to fall and get hurt .

I would tell father straight you ride for your own pleasure and leisure and if you wanted to be pushing children up the ladder you would have your own or if you have got your own say been there done that ,not why I have a horse .
 
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Gingerwitch

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Thanks all, we were getting on a treat, I hack out with the kids with 2 of my sane ones, 2 others are not suitable to ride if looking after children as they are a bit too hot and grub takes to much concentration to be looking after anything but our next step lol.
Its only really change over of tack and turn out the horse I have ridden I have already juggled my riding on a Sat to suit the kids times, so do two, then get ready for a ploddy one then come back and ride the others on the afternoon. So she can't really help and if I am having an issue with one of the earlier horses then sorry its tough as Sat and Sun are my more relaxed days.
What started as every so often on a oh hi I am riding if you want to come has totally backfired with the one kids parents, the other ones is looking to buy a horse for mum so I am a short term helper.
I just feel sorry for kiddo, I got want to avoid but may have to.
And I don't have any kids myself so I am surprised that the kids want to hang out with me lol.
 

Renvers

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Good of you to give the child your time, I remember as a child being taken under the wing of the older liveries and it taught me a lot and I always appreciated them taking the time with me. I bet this girl is glad to have a older horsey friend.

Can you make a point of letting the child know you enjoy the hacking with her whilst laying some ground rules with the parents on their behaviour?
 

Tarragon

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This is a hard one for you, especially when you just wanted to help out. Over the years I have given my time willingly to the youngsters who have been desperate to ride but with non-horsey parents. I always admired their determination, and I obviously rate time with horses as a very worthwhile activity for a child when so many of them seemed to be tide to their sofas and phones.
I haven't had you down as a push-over on this forum so this must be a very tricky, and it is probably mostly down to not wanting to hurt the innocent child who just enjoys a quiet ride!
Could you get round it by suggesting that the parents invest in riding lessons? I am not sure of the age of the child, but perhaps it wouldn't be wrong to diplomatically try to work out what their feelings are and support them in other ways?
 
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