Confessions of a Horse Show Mom: Responsible sharing

There’s a time for sharing, and there’s a time for politely saying no. HN mom-in-residence Barbara Hamilton talks about teaching your child to respect personal property.

From Barbara:

What’s yours is yours, and what’s yours is mine.

I mentioned before that when I was given a list from our trainers of what we needed to start showing, I gulped and went out and bought everything from clippers to shipping wraps. It wasn’t cheap and my daughter didn’t get the top-of-the-line in everything. I shopped around for clippers from checking out dog clippers to comparing site after site trying to find the best price. Amazon won. She got the “basic” show pad and used it until this year when she finally got the sheepskin one she always wanted.

But what about all the other items you need—the different shampoos, the sprays from Show Sheen to fly spray. Baby oil for touch ups. Liniment for after the show.

Hoof Heal. Sponges, combs, brushes. A show girth. Two different lead lines. A cooler sheet. Shipping wraps. Even a sheepskin show halter. Well you get the idea–the list went on and on.

So after spending all this money how do you tell your child whom you always told to share their things—not to share? Easy. You tell them you’re not made of money.

Everyone got the same list and you’re not going to replace it if it’s broken, or used up by someone else. Especially the clippers. I spent the most money on them so right from the start I told my daughter that the only people who could use them besides her were our trainers. It was hard for her at first, but she understood what could happen—I can’t tell you how many of our trainer’s clippers were broken or simply burnt out by people overusing them. And I made it really clear I wasn’t buying another pair and she knew I meant it.

I know it’s not easy for a child to say no to another child they ride with and talk with all the time. But when you’re buying shampoo and Show Sheen over and over it adds up. Of course I’m not saying you can never let someone borrow something once in a while. Everyone forgets something sometimes. But at some point your child has to learn to say no.

One time my daughter got off her pony she was riding at a show and her foot hit a garbage can. (Don’t ask me what it was doing there or how she didn’t see it.) But it spooked her pony who then broke her reins. That weekend I ordered a new pair for the barn. No if, ands or butts. You break it, you replace it.

I don’t know one child who doesn’t love to go to the tack store; on the other hand I do know a lot of parents who stay away as much as possible. I’m that crazy parent who is proud to be the Mayor on Foursquare for the tack store we go to—I know it’s sick.

Some things to keep in mind:

If someone leaves something out by accident, like shampoo in the wash stall, it doesn’t say “use me.”

Everyone forgets something once in awhile. Let your child know what they can share, and what they can’t.

Help each other. My daughter learned to wrap her horse from the older kids at the barn and now she’s helping the younger ones.

If your trainer asks to borrow something the answer is always yes. They’ll remember it and appreciate your generosity.

Knowing when to share and when not to share is not always easy for a child to learn, but it’s a lesson that will serve them well not just in riding, but also in life.

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