Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Am I A Paranoid Mother?

Amber and I have had an ongoing debate about what she calls my "extreme paranoia," in regards to my concern about the safety of kids on horses ( don't worry, we still get along great, we just don't see eye to eye on this issue!). First, let me tell you that I do not worry when the either of my kids ride Bo or Waska, I only worry about Katie when she is on Sienna. Sienna the Cheetos loving, climb in your pocket, come in your house, two foot high pony? Yes...that very pony strikes a fear in my belly that I do not know what to do with, and let me explain why. Bo and Waska are riding horses, and have been for most of their 20 and 10 years of life, so I know what to expect from them in a variety of different scenarios that involve kids and/or adults riding them.Sienna on the other hand, has been a cart pony all of her life (she is 15), and has just recently been used for riding by Miss Katie. This is where the paranoia sets in. I cannot say what Sienna will do under saddle, with a small child on her back, on the trail, in the arena, or walking down the road. I know that while pulling a cart she is safe and reliable, and I would hope that she could maintain her good character with a child on her back, but I just don't know, and that terrifies me....when my daughter is on her back!! We just got a saddle all fixed up for Katie to ride Sienna in , and that is another possible issue. What if she spooks, and then decides that she wants the saddle gone??? It is rather like putting an inexperienced rider on a green horse. Who knows what will happen?Anyway, Amber gets really frustrated with me, because she feels that I should not worry about Katie on Sienna, and she likes to call me an "over protective and paranoid mother." On Katie and Sienna's first ride in the new saddle, Eric was trotting up ahead, and left us all behind. Did I worry about Eric on Bo? Not really, because I know what to expect from Bo. When Katie started to trot after him on Sienna, Sienna was trying to break into a canter, and I told Katie to stop. Sienna has never had a rider canter on her back, and I do not want Katie to try it out on the road. I want it done in an arena, with Sienna on a longe line in case I need to intervene. Amber got mad and kinda yelled at me, saying that I was going to make my daughter afraid to ride horses, and then she asked what was the worse possible thing that could happen if Sienna took off after Bo. The worst possible thing??? Oh my goodness, where do I start? How about Sienna bucks and Katie gets thrown onto the pavement, or Sienna loses her balance and falls, or....I have to stop myself from thinking such negative thoughts and push them from my mind!Again, once Sienna is better trained, and I know what to expect, I will not worry about this, but until then... Amber finally understood my worry when Eric told her that I was over protective, and made him be careful while riding the quads. Amber responded by saying that she guessed it was a good idea that I was cautious, because if she had kids, they would probably be dead from her carelessness. Do ya think??

So, I am curious to know what you guys think: Am I being a paranoid mother, or am I just being safe?


Grey Horse Matters said...

I think you are being a responsible parent. I would be paranoid putting my child on a horse whose reactions to things I wasn't sure of.I'd be even more obnoxious and wouldn't let her ride outside of an arena on this horse until they had many lessons together and knew what to expect from each other. Remember it's nobody's business what you do to protect your child, and keep her safe, it's all up to your good judgment.

Denise- LessIsMore17 said...

I don't think you are being paranoid either, just being smart, there needs to be more moms like you as we all know the inet world is full of the opposite.
It's better to be safer than sorry. I'm sure as more time goes on and Sienna proves herself more and more as a trusty stead that your fears will lessen.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You are being a safe and protective mother. And THAT is a very wise thing.

There probably is not much to worry about, but Sienna has not proved herself under saddle.
Just as in regular riding horses, every riding situation is different and horses react differently, too.

You might remember that dressage trained horse I trail rode recently, the one that had never ridden anything but arena or dirt road?
Well, when I got him out on some rolling hills in tall grass with some gopher holes scattered in for good measure...he lost his mind.

Sienna will probably do just fine on trails, but she was a cart horse, so saddles are a new thing for her. With time and practice and supervision Sienna can prove herself and then you will be able to trust Sienna carrying Katie on her back.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh and I just had to add that Katie sure looks cute riding Sienna!

Jenna has been begging me to get her a little pony to ride because she thinks Baby Doll is too big.

We've considered it, but we'd have to add a stall onto our barn! gah :P


Train Wreck said...

Hello! You are a mom! It is ok, no need to explain or feel bad! That's our job! I worry about what my kids think is silly too! If it make you feel any better she is closer to the ground?!

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Hey, it's unanimous! I think you are wise to err on the side of caution. Kids are not capable of comprehending all of the possibilities that could happen. They survive and learn from responsible parents, who aren't trying to instill fear, but a healthy respect for the dangers that are associated with riding horses...even cute, little ponies!!

Pssstt-Tell her she is responsible for "training" Sienna correctly and safely for the benefit of Sienna. Training takes time and requires lots of steps. Might sound silly, but it worked on Megan when she was little.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hey Melanie,

I just had to come back and post another comment.
My 11 year old twin son, Jem is in the hospital right now getting stitches to repair a large gash where he almost tore off his nipple.

It's my fault. I let my kids climb trees.
Oh yeh, I warn them to be careful, but I still let them do it.

Jem got stuck on a branch on the way down a tree and it broke and ripped open his chest.

Kids can get injured in so many ways. I climbed trees when I was younger and never got seriously hurt. I just wanted my kids to have the freedom to play, explore and be kids.
And now I have an injured kid.

One just never can predict what will hurt our kids can we? There is danger all around. All we can do is be as cautious as we can without wrapping our kids up in plastic bubble wrap and locking them in a closet.

It's been a long evening.


Melanie said...

To all-
OK...I feel better now. Honestly, Sienna is small, and she is probably safe, but until I really know what she will do, I am going to continue to ere on the side of caution.

I like you idea of telling Katie that she is helping to train Sienna...good one!

OMG...I am heading over to your blog now...

sidetracked said...

Trust me, from a person who works in the child protective field, you are acting like a normal concerned mother who loves her children very much and wants only the best for them. This is something that a lot of people coulse use you as a model for, I won't get into the horror stories.

Andrea said...

I am with you. My hands were sweating while reading this. I get soooo nervous when my kids ride. My kids ride my big 16 hand TB mare. But I trained her. I have showed her. I know how she acts, I know everything about her. So, then I feel safe when I put my kids on her.

I get nervous when they ride horses that I do not know. When I buy them a horse, I make sure I can ride it too. I make sure someone else's kid has shown me how good the horse is before I buy it or put my kids on it. I am not stupid. I want to make sure the horse won't bolt, buck, kick, bite, rear. So, I am with you. I get a lot nervous, and you are just fine. Do a lot of watching, if the pony seams relaxed then you can relax too.

Winter said...

I find there's a bit of a gap between parents who ride and folks who's horses (you can also drop dog into this sentence and it works) are their children.

When I explain my concerns about getting the right horse and giving up my handsome, but hot, horse, people act as if I'm insane. Unless they are moms.