For the last couple of years I've been hearing a re-occurring question coming from my daughters' mouths. "Mommy, when can we get a horse?" Or "Mommy, when can I take riding lessons?" Gulp! A mixture of pure delight and fear runs through my veins at the same time! How should I respond to their request to engage in what is probably one of the most expensive sports out there? My husband and I are folks of modest means, so what do we do?
A couple of summers ago, we had the good fortune of living near a farm that had an ancient quarterhorse called Treasure, and the farmer's wife was kind enough to let the kids ride her once a week. I was so proud to see them up on Treasure's back (Treasure was, by the way, a horse that I rode years ago!). Treasure was the perfect horse because she preferred not to move much at all.
We have since moved away from there and now find ourselves living in an apartment in a large city! And yet, the question keeps coming up! "Mommy, when can we take riding lessons?"
Part of me would just love to indulge them, and get another job so I could fund their passion! I mean, wouldn't it be cool to see my daughters become top notch equestrians? Wouldn't it be great if they could get the training that I never did?
And yet would I want that?
There's real value in working hard, even at a young age for a hobby you love! It proves how serious you are about riding horses! If you're willing to give up your spare time to shovel out stalls, wait tables, or take on a paper route just so you can get up on a horse a few times a week, you can be pretty sure that you really do love horses!
So, since my daughters Annie(7) and Charlotte (6) are a bit young to get jobs, I'm trying to get them to show me how ernest they are about horse back riding in other ways. I've told them that if they really love horses then they've got to study them. So right now Annie is busy memorizing horse anatomy, and Charlotte happily does what big sister does!
The kids are taking care of the family cat too! It's been great! I hardly ever clean out his kitty litter anymore, and this too is all in the name of displaying responsibility!
Again, part of me wishes that we were made of money and I could just hand them the opportunities that I never had. But would they really appreciate it? There's a saying that where ever you sink your treasure, you're going to find your heart there too. Right now, because they are too little to get jobs, their treasure is a willingness to study and to show responsibility in other ways.
So far, by the way that they are gobbling up horse books, I'm thinking I might need to start setting some money aside for a few riding lessons! If anyone has any suggestions on how they are dealing with horse smitten little girls, I'd love to hear from you!