|Sitting in your back yard watching this it just makes the heart burst.|
OMG did I just make having kids sound awful? Haha every parent knows what I am talking about but maybe not brave enough to admit it. But the secret that every parent also knows is that the unconditional, indescribable love that you immediately have for these little life sucking aliens makes every bit of it beyond worth it.
|Kids and Horses they just go together.|
|Really they just do.|
When they were little it was a lost cause. I didn't even attempt to do the horse thing. Kudos to those of you who babies and still find a way to get out and ride. It was not in the cards for me. I had a husband that worked 70 miles away at a very stressful job. NO family and no real support system. So if my babies were gonna stay alive it was up to me. So that is what I did for about 6 years. Then when my youngest was 3 and could feed herself, go to the bathroom herself and could sit in front of the tv for an hour with her sisters I did not hesitate and that is when I got back into horses.
|I've been blazing trails with this kid...|
|Since before she was this kid.|
It then became my peace and restoration. It made for a happy Momma. Since then we've gone through countless changes but each year I still continue to get out on my horse and do something. Now I have all 3 kids that ride and still the name of the game is continuous change. You must be adaptable to survive at all. We've cycled through a few horses over the years as the kids riding ability grows and interest increases.
|You get to watch as they get brave and good...|
|and be there when they start to get really good!|
What I have always made abundantly clear and is the key to making it all work is, that I am not your caretaker, your groom, your maid, your cook. I am not one of those self sacrificing Moms who will go through 2 decades of her life not pursing or having any personal ambition. I won't. My husband knows this and my children get that. I'm not sure what that makes me appear to be to the outside world. Selfish? Neglectful? Mean? Who knows but actually I really don't care. It is working from the inside.
|Having your very own pony is really really hard.|
My kids must and do carry their own weight around here. It's like a time warp to 150 years ago where on a farm everyone was expected to chip in. I have made it quite clear to them that they do not have to do so much work. But that would mean they wouldn't have so much privilege. With great privilege comes great responsibility and that my friends is pretty much the gospel of this family. If you want it then you have to work for it.
|And if you don't go through all the trouble of having all those kids and your horses at home then you will never get the opportunity to have your child and pony knocking at your front door.|
That means on top of your obvious priority of school you must, get up early to feed your animals, after school clean stalls and ride a reasonable number of times a week to keep your horse working, healthy and happy. You will help clean the house, cook food and maintain the farm. You will not get a monetary award for doing any of these things because they are your responsibilities. Now if you go above and beyond and help with extra things it will not go unnoticed. They understand that the privilege of owning horses, taking lessons, Pony Club and showing are not things that other kids get to do and that is their payment. As my daughters will tell you, "we are paid in Pony".
|They even make cold, wet shows fun.|
You won't hear them whine or complain. They understand that it is just the way it is. They know that most of their friends spend most of their time watching tv or on an Ipad or cell phone with parents that cater to them. But they are ok with the way it works for them. I do get pressure from my peers that I am too strict, make them work too hard or am boarder line mean for the requirements I put on my kids. But they will openly admit that my kids are light-years more capable then their own. And you know what? I'm Ok with that trade off. Will my kids need therapy as adults? Probably, it's an on going joke around here. But even now my kids say that they have it really good and are the most grateful and respectful kids I know.
|Having a part in this moment...it's just worth it.|
I kind of look at it as if they are working students. It is kind of similar. Some manual labor for the opportunity to ride, train and compete. Hey they get free room, board, food, tack, horses, clothes, transportation, lessons, entry fees and any other physical need met. I'd take that working student position any day. My parenting style is not for everyone I know that but there is no way I could have a job, 4 horses, 3 kids, 3 cats, a dog and a farm without them pitching in. NO WAY! So that is how having it all is even possible. The kids have to carry their weight, period.