How to Convince Your Parents to Sign You up for Riding Lessons
I Was One of the Lucky Ones
I was lucky. I always had a horse or pony of my own as a kid, so I didn't have a hard time at all getting my horsey fix. Not all are so fortunate, so I have come up with a plan to not only help you get your horse fix, but to also learn a lot from the experience. That's not even the best part! Hopefully, all this time and effort you are putting in will also impress your parents and help your case for getting involved with horses.
Day 1: Do Your Research and Make Posters
You should have a blank notebook and pen ready for this. You are going to research all the lesson programs and summer camp programs in your area. Make sure you read carefully to make sure the facility accepts beginner riders. Not all farms do. As you find farms that have beginner programs, write down prices if they are listed, and list any necessary equipment that you would need to purchase. Write down what disciplines they offer and whether they are Western or English (we will use this part tomorrow). Write down the contact information for each farm (website, email, phone number). After you have done this, look up the addresses and use the google maps website to see how far away each facility is. You don't need to write down the specific directions, but how many miles from your house or how many minutes the drive there would be.
Now, using all the notes you took in your notebook, I want you to make a poster. First list the names and contact information for each facility. Now for the rest of the poster, you will list the facilities in different orders making it easy for your parents to compare and contrast. So one will list cheapest to most expensive, then the next list will be closest to your home to farthest to your home.
So you are putting all the facts out there for them and doing all the hard work. Make sure it is neat and professional looking. Remember, we are trying to make you seem mature, responsible, and deserving of trying out riding lessons.
Remember this is Day 1 of "Operation Get Riding Lessons." We are going to present all of this information to them at the end of the week, so until you get your facility information poster done, store it away safely for now.
Day 2: Add English and Western Riding to the Project
When you looked at the facilities yesterday, I mentioned taking note of what disciplines they offer, and whether they are western or English. Now, the first thing you are going to do if you don't already know the differences between the two is research and make a poster describing the difference between Western and English riding. Even if you already know you are still going to make the poster, do it so you can show your parents if they don't know. I want the front of the poster to say "English" on one side and "Western" on the other. Either draw, cut out pictures, or print from the computer so you can show your parents and compare the two.
I know if you are horse-crazy, you have probably read all about this basic stuff. This isn't for you though, it's for your parents! So work hard to make an impressive poster describing the difference between the two.
Day 3: Add the Disciplines That Interest You to the Project
Using your notebook and pen, now you are going to check your notes and look up what disciplines are offered at each farm. Even if it is a beginner program, it will probably mention whether they do hunt seat, western pleasure, eventing, etc.
I want you to write down explanations of all the disciplines that are offered in your area, making another poster describing the specifics of the disciplines. Write definitions, draw, cut pictures, do whatever you can to make it easy for a non-horsey parent to understand.
Day 4: List the Disciplines You Would Like to Try
Today, since you know know what programs and disciplines are available in your area, you are going to make a poster where you chose two disciplines that you would like to try. So, you will put a list of the disciplines and which facilities offer them. Also clearly list for each facility the pricing if you were able to find it online, and the information on how far away the facility you are interested in is from your house. So you are not only impressing them with your research, you are showing them how much you would really like to ride by listing options and being willing to be flexible.
We are getting closer and closer! Remember, we aren't presenting this until we have it all done!
Day 5: Create an Equipment List
Most facilities have minimal requirements as far as necessary equipment for new riders. If you can, find a specific list of things on Amazon or search for local tack shops that sell the items. If you need specific things, try to find the prices for what is specifically listed. If they don't have a list of equipment, just assume that you will need a basic riding helmet and paddock boots as the bare minimum, and get pricing for those things. This way, if farms have a specific list, you can give your parents the exact cost of equipment. If not, your parents will at least have a "ballpark" idea of what the equipment cost will be.
Day 6: Write a Letter to Your Parents
You are going to write a brief introduction to the presentation that you are going to give on Day 7. Basically, write them a letter. Something like this:
Dear Mom and Dad,
As you know I'm very interested in learning about horses and how to ride them. I have done a lot of research and gathered a lot of information, and I hope it will make it easier for you to see what options are available in our area for me to try riding.
I know that trying a new sport is a big commitment, and I'm dedicated to seeing it through and doing my very best.
I'm also willing to help to do the following things around the household to make up for the extra time and money you will spend to put me in riding.
List what you could do to help—yard work, chores, babysitting—maybe if you get an allowance, consider putting that towards your lesson fees. Whatever you think will be most convincing to your Mom and Dad.
Now, you are going to go in front of the bathroom mirror in your favorite horse shirt or lock yourself in your room with your toy horses and practice giving the presentation. You want to know all the details on those posters so that you can answer any question they might come up with. Once you feel good about it, get a good nights sleep and prepare yourself for the big day.
Day 7: Present "Operation Get Riding Lessons" to Your Parents!
Today is the day my friend. Gather all your posters and you're most convincing and sweet personality. Make sure your parents have time to sit down and listen (we don't want you to have to rush through all your hard work). So, find a time that is good for them and go for it!
They Will Be Impressed With Your Research
I Can Promise You One Thing! They are going to be impressed with your research and presentation. Which will show how much it really means to you. Don't be upset if they say they still need to think about it. That isn't a "no," it's an "I'm not sure yet," which probably means they need more information, which they can get by looking at your research or looking online.
If they say no, ask how they would feel about you volunteering at a farm? Some farms have volunteer programs, where you can work for lessons. If they think the novelty is going to wear off, maybe you could prove it won't by volunteering.
Never fear my friends, be patient. Those who are meant to join the crazy horse life will find there way into it, I promise! Don't lose heart and stay horse-crazy my friends, I'm right there with ya!