Confessions of a Horse Show Mom: Back in the saddle again
Horse Nation’s official show-mom-in-residence Barbara Hamilton is back with some tips on balancing riding and schoolwork.
It’s been quite a while since I wrote my last column mostly due to a new job, but also because my daughter Emma hasn’t been doing a lot of horse shows.
I’m sure many of you have experienced this one time or another: She entered her junior year in high school and suddenly grades became more important—even more important than something she loved—riding.
And while Emma was happy getting better grades what she wasn’t happy about was her performance when she rode in her first show of the season. She needed two shows before May 31st to qualify for her Varsity letter in riding. (See my column, “Lettering in Equestrian.”)
Suddenly she was struggling in classes that she always did well in before. All the other kids from our barn who had put their time in practicing all winter were doing great. I thought for sure it was going to turn into a “Mom, leave me alone” episode, but she came to terms with it. She was by no means happy, but she understood if she didn’t put the time in practicing she couldn’t expect to win. It was then we decided together that until school ended and she was able to really practice she would hold off on doing any more shows.
So now that school is winding down she is planning on spending a lot more time at the barn. But one lesson she did learn—if you want to do well in anything, you have to put the time in.
Some things to keep in mind when school and homework begin to take priority:
- Talk to you trainer—don’t just cut down or stop going for lessons without telling them what’s going on.
- Discuss the consequences with your child—we all know there are kids that can handle both. But if you see your child struggling with homework and riding sit down and talk about it. Depending on what your child is planning on doing later in life maybe showing is more important.
- Have a plan—for example when school is over you’ll let them take more lessons. Or suggest they spend their spring break riding. Maybe Friday nights and Saturday afternoons are spent at the barn, while the rest of the weekend is spent home studying.
I’m curious about what have other parents have done in this situation–leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.
Horse Nation Tip: Follow Barbara on Twitter @thehorseshowmom!
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