Rach has been riding on and off for about two years, and consistently for the last 8 months or so. I tried hard to talk her out of the whole horse thing. It's expensive. It's dangerous. It's time consuming. But she really, really loves it.
It's not just the riding she loves, either. She takes pleasure from grooming, and cleaning tack, and mucking stalls. I'm proud of her for pursuing this in spite of the fact that we didn't want her to do it. I guess we could have told her that riding was absolutely not an option. But she has been crazy for horses since preschool. I thought she'd grow out of it, that it was just a phase, but it wasn't. And she didn't.
Now I see that maybe it isn't such a bad thing. Being responsible for another living creature, even if it is only while you are riding upon it's back, is healthy and requires maturity. It's a lot of work, and that's never a bad thing. She is focused on something wholesome, and hasn't started down the slippery slope of clothes and fashion. It's also been good for us. Rachel and me. We spend a lot of time together, just the two of us, riding out to the barn in the early mornings, brushing the horse until it gleams, washing him down after a hard ride, and waiting, waiting, waiting for him to dry completely before putting him back in his stall. We talk a lot during those times.
I guess sometimes you just have to step back and let kids tell you what they need, rather than trying to corral (get it?! this is a post about horses... corral.... kinda punny?!) them into doing what you think they should want/need. Who knows. This parenting stuff is tricky. Just don't fall off, Rach. Okay?