Horseback Riding: How to Be a Great "Barn Parent"

Updated on September 24, 2018
Ellison Hartley profile image

Ellison is a professional horse trainer and riding instructor. She runs a summer camp program and offers kids a safe introduction to horses.

Those of us that are riding instructors and trainers appreciate all of our customers. We just want to give a few simple suggestions on how to be a great barn parent or lesson parent.

Stay and Watch the Lesson

Though I do realize that things come up and you may not be able to stay for every lesson, it is important to us that you watch your child ride. We want you to get to see their progress and see what is going on during the lessons.

Not that we are thinking of the worst, but if something were to happen and your child fell off and got hurt (or just shaken up), you are going to want to be there to see if they are okay. If your child falls off and if they are upset, having a parent there to encourage them to get back on might be very helpful.

Stay and watch, you never know what you might miss, like a first time bareback ride!
Stay and watch, you never know what you might miss, like a first time bareback ride! | Source

Don't Overreact

On the same note, if you see your child fall off, please try not to overreact. Instructors will tell you from experience that the bigger deal you make over a fall, the more upset the rider will be (not that we do not want to make sure your child is okay—we do and we will). The best way to get a scared child back on is to make sure they are okay as quickly as possible. Talk to them about what happened and what they could have done differently, and get them back in the saddle as quickly as possible.

I know it's hard and scary to see your child fall . . . it is hard for us too. We just want to make sure that as long as they are not hurt that they get back on and keep riding.

The longer it takes to get your child back on the horse, the harder it is going to be. Assuming they are not hurt, we want them back on the horse to gain their confidence back as soon as we can.

This was a scheduled dismount in a vaulting lesson, but you get the point!
This was a scheduled dismount in a vaulting lesson, but you get the point! | Source

Communicate With Your Instructor

Just as we want our students to communicate with us, we want parents to also. If you have a concern or question, please don't hesitate to ask us to explain why we are doing what we are doing.

There is a method to our madness. We sometimes forget that someone who is not familiar with riding or horses might not understand what is going on. We would rather you ask us than to be worried or upset about something that you are seeing.

Unless you are concerned for your child's safety, please wait until the end of the lesson (or at least until we are taking a break from our exercises). Hopefully, you never will have a concern about safety, but if you do, that is a time when I would find it appropriate to say something while we are working.

Wait for an appropriate time, then feel free to communicate your concerns!
Wait for an appropriate time, then feel free to communicate your concerns! | Source

Support Our Decisions

As much as we would like to be able to clone our lesson horses, we only have one of each. Every barn has a favorite or two. We choose the horses for our students based on which one will best suit what they need to work on at the time.

A lot of the time your child's favorite will be one of the "easier" horses, so if they move on to a different horse, it is most likely a sign that they are making progress.

We need you to back us up on this. Encourage your student to ride whichever horse they are assigned with an open mind. Tell them that they are making progress and learning new skills. We aren't trying to be unfair or play favorites.

It's okay to have favorites, just help your child to understand that they need to ride others to get really good!
It's okay to have favorites, just help your child to understand that they need to ride others to get really good! | Source

Dress Your Child for the Weather

I have found for some reason though, many parents (maybe because they are rushing or because they work inside all day), don't send their children dressed for the weather.

If it's cold, dress them in layers and don't forget gloves. Gloves are so important in the winter—you can't hold your reins effectively if your fingers are frozen.

In the summertime, try to dress them as cool as you can. Light colors and fabrics of course. Many sporting goods companies have great hot weather shirts and tank tops. The riding specific brands also have clothing meant to help you stay cool.

Also in the summertime, it is super important to bring your child a drink; it is a work out to ride. Not to mention, just being out in the hot sun, your child will do and feel a lot better if they stay hydrated.

Not that we would be riding in this kind of cold, but you get the point! Dress for the weather!
Not that we would be riding in this kind of cold, but you get the point! Dress for the weather! | Source

If Your Child Has Tack, Take It Home With You

In a lesson barn situation like mine, a lot of students have things like brush boxes and saddle pads. We have enough of our own stuff to keep track of. If your child has their own gear that they would like to use that is totally fine. Just make sure that it is labeled with their name or initials. Then, after the lesson, take it all home with you.

Unless your barn has a designated place for riders to store their things, it is hard for clients supplies that are left behind to not get mixed up with the barn tack. Brushes, saddle pads, crops all those sorts of things, look the same after a long day of teaching. Which makes it really easy for them to end up mixed up with our lesson horse tack.

Come Early and Stay Long Enough

Come in time for your student to tack up their horse if that is the barn policy. Make sure you know what is expected of you. Do you need to come early? Are you responsible for cooling the horse out and putting it away after the lesson? Knowing the expectations will help avoid conflict.

Know the Pet Policy

Some barns are open to clients bringing their dogs to the farm. Others are not. Make sure that before you do, you know if it is allowed. If it is, keep the dog on a leash and make sure that it does not distract or spook the horses.

Pick Your Child up on Time

We would like you to watch and be involved in your child's riding career. We know that this is not always possible. If you do have to drop off your child for the lesson, please get back on time to pick them up.

Parents tell us that "she can just hang out" until they get back. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. We are only responsible for your child during their given lesson time. Once their lesson is done, we need to focus on our next students, not be distracted making sure we don't lose track of your child before you come back.

Practice Good Sportsmanship

At my barn, my goal is for everyone to feel comfortable. Everyone learns at their own speed and has their own riding goals. As instructors, we want to foster a good environment for the kids to feel comfortable and learn.

Parents making rude comments or not being supportive of other riders is not good sportsmanship. We are all on the same team and we love horses—we want the kids to learn and be safe. We want our riders to get along and support each other in achieving their goals.

I made many lifelong friends in my early years of taking lessons, this would have not been possible if the environment I was riding in wasn't friendly and supportive.

Support each other!
Support each other! | Source

We Are All on the Same Team

It's pretty basic stuff! Come prepared, respect your instructor, remember you brought your child to us for lessons because you didn't know about horses. So please, trust our judgment, communicate well when you have concerns, and be friendly to other parents and children.

When we are at the barn and with the horses, we are all on the same team!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)