Especially if you think he/she is on the fast track to becoming a little tart in the next few years. (Tart is British for skank, or as my grandmother called me a “run-around.”)
I asked for a pony year after year as a child. My dad always put it down to some sort of financial thing (I now know it’s not that we couldn’t afford it, it’s that he would have done a million other things with his money than light it on fire at a stable yard), even after I calculated that if he just quit smoking we could certainly afford a horse with those funds. That of course was a mistake…
Now that I have a horse, yes, it is a MASSIVE “waste” of money in comparison to the cost of other hobbies (although I’m sure if I took up yachting that would make horsing look quite affordable). I put waste in quotes because who can decide a waste? Owning my own horse has given me so much; it’s a dream realized, it builds my confidence, it gives me goals to work towards, it challenges me, it has given me a range of skills, it has opened the door to a community and friends that I feel a part of and am so glad to have these relationships…and it’s just something I enjoy. Even when I’m hating it, I’m loving it. I love, love, love my stupid, dirty, half polar bear, lazy-arsed, nipping horse.
And I promise that getting your kid a pony will provide your child all of those benefits as well (as long as they stay interested and are passionate). It will also teach them about commitment, delayed gratification, patience, being humble, and relationship building. But, as a dad at the barn said to me, “If that (having a horse) is the price of keeping her off the streets getting into trouble, its money well spent!”
That my friends, is the real reason getting your kid a pony isn’t a waste…it’s an investment in your child’s future! It keeps them from being a hoodlum with their friends, staying out drinking, getting knocked up!
I had my second dressage competition last Sunday. Know what I did Saturday night? Spent the evening cleaning my tack, cleaning my boots, and getting everything I would need together and sorted. I didn’t even have a glass of wine because I knew I had to get up early the next day!
And on Sunday I was up early, scrubbing my little fingers raw trying to get my shit-brown Irish bog pony to a gleaming white, handsome Irish Draft-cross dressage king. And then there’s the plaiting of his mane, the suiting him up to travel, the loading, the unloading, the warm up, the 5 min competition, and then back home, un-plaiting, cleaning out the trailer, turning him out….
Not to mention all the practice, lessons, and hours spent at the barn preparing for this outing.
That my friend, is why if your child has an interest in equines, buy ‘em the damn horse! They simply won’t have the time or the energy to act a fool and get into trouble.
If little Suzie’s dressing skanky, she’ll have to cover her ta-ta’s to ride. And even if they were out…there’s not a whole lot of boys at any yard- a safe zone for your daughter and her ta-tas! And she’ll figure out real soon that it’s hard enough to balance on a moving ton of beast when sober, best not to try it drunk or hung-over. And obviously, she’d have to kiss her Badminton dreams goodbye if she were to get knocked up. Trust me parents, the safest place for little Suzie to be is on the back of a horse…so make sure Santa ponies up (quite literally) this year.
Afterword: Little Suzie might still get knocked up or start skanking around with her hoodlum friends. In which case, selling her beloved first pony seems to be just about the best punishment I can image.