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Horses/Convincing Parents to Let Me Go Horse Riding Again

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Hi Shelley,

I have always loved horses and first rode my aunt's horse at the age of two and enjoyed riding ponies and donkeys on the beach until I started taking riding lessons on and off at the age of four. I then, after four years of taking on and off lessons, began riding seriously at the age of eight. I attended a riding stables every day and rode there, as well as doing grooming, mucking,  leading, tacking etc. However, at the age of twelve, I stopped due to a bad accident (mainly because I lost my confidence and my mum was worried for me).

I am fourteen now and still love horses as much as ever, if not more and decided I want to ride agajn after about a year and a half of careful consideration. I would be dedicated, as I was before,  money isn't an issue as I can start off paying for lessons by myself and I still have appropriate clothing with the exception of a helmet.

My real question is, how do I convince my parents to let me ride again? I know my mum especially is worried for my safety, but the accident was my fault and I take full responsibility for it. Whenever I mention it in passing or give subtle hints, both of my parents either brush it off as a joke or say something like, "Well that didn't work out last time, did it?" and change the subject.

I apologize if this sounds like me being a whiny brat, but this is something I really want, bearing in mind how both my parents used to think it was good exercise, fun and educatinal before the accident.

Thanks again Shelley!

- Abelie

Answer
Dear Abelie,
Well- the first thing I would ask you to consider is your parents' position in order for you to have a meaningful conversation with them about the situation. You do not provide very much information about your accident- there is a big difference between a fall over a fence that results in bumps and bruises and something that results in hospitalization etc. The nature of your accident will have a great deal to do with the depth of your parents' reluctance. A child is the most precious aspect of a parents' life- so I am sure you can appreciate that their concerns are legitimate. You would be wrong to try and convince them that riding is not a dangerous sport- it most definitely is.
So- I would not suggest that you try to dismiss the dangers inherent in riding but rather that you demonstrate that many aspects of every-day life are easily as dangerous- being in a car or riding on a motorbike for example. There is a need to discuss these dangers and rationally address how to minimize risk. You indicate that you do not have a helmet- well- I won't get on a horse without one. It doesn't matter how well you ride- no one is bullet-proof. A Hit-Air vest can protect your core in an impact- it works like a personal air-bag. Expensive- but they work very effectively.
Plan your discussion ahead of time. Make a list of the dangers and how you can minimize those risks. Ask your parents about their concerns and respect that they love you and are worried about your safety. Begin by making a vow NOT to ride without a helmet. Suggest no over fences work until your skills and your parents' comfort level dictates that it is acceptable to do so. Ride in a paddock or arena under the watchful eye of an instructor. See if there is a Pony Club near where you are as they stress safety over all else. Working with horses has kept many young people away from the temptations of drugs and drinking and encourages youth to connect with like-minded animal-loving people who share their passion for horses. As the director of our high school equestrian program- I can tell you that not one of my students has the inclination or the time to get into trouble when they have a horse to care for.
Ask your parents very seriously to arrange a time to have this conversation and let them know that you are serious about returning to riding. Give them time to think about it. Above all- be patient and don't get angry. As frustrating as it may be- their concerns are based in love- not a desire to make you unhappy.
I hope this helps.
Regards,
S. Evans

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Shelley Evans

Expertise

I would be happy to respond to enquiries in the following disciplines: dressage, working western, hunter, halter (open and IAHA), hack and pleasure. I can also offer assistance with schooling and equitation issues.

Experience

Twenty years Class A show circuit including multiple championships.

Organizations
CEF, IAHA, BCHC, IALHA

Publications
Inside International

Education/Credentials
BA, MEd, Teaching Certificate (PDP), CEF Western Level I Coach, provincialy approved Hack, Equitation and Western Judge.

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