Do You Have a Plan?

Posted in: Horse Training, Ranch Life

After a little wheeling and dealing, my son and his Grandpa Rooster, negotiated a pony riding deal.  They sealed their contract with a handshake and we brought home a Shetland.  Joe is a gentle pony, a bit of an easy keeper, who needs experience and exercise.  He is also my 9-year-old son’s first project horse.

It is difficult for me as a parent, to determine how much involvement in my son’s projects is too much.  I want him to have a positive experience, while developing a sense of personal responsibility.  So I find myself asking, where does one draw the line between helpful assistance and potentially debilitating over-involvement?

I’ll be the first to tell you, I haven’t figured that parenting dilemma out. I have learned my first impulse, the gnawing urge to boss and holler, is almost always the wrong one.  I rein myself in and come back to one simple bit of wisdom someone once shared with me, “Always have a plan.”  Rather than nagging about hand and body position, I ask my son, “Do you have a plan?”

The more I bite my tongue, the more the boy and pony seem to learn and grow.  He knows how many times he will take the pony around the corral during a ride, how many steps he will ask for when he backs the pony up, and which direction he will turn around the hay feeder.  A plan requires a certain degree of mental and physical preparedness on the rider’s part.  A prepared rider, unlike a passenger, is a safer rider.  The next time you saddle up, ask yourself, “Do I have a plan?”

Posted in: Horse Training, Ranch Life

About Rachel Larsen

Rachel Lohof Larsen is a fifth-generation rancher, mom, wife, cowgirl, and blogger. Originally from Montana, Rachel has a BA in Environmental Science from Colorado College. She and her husband, Guy, bring a sense of integrity and a strong interest in sustainability to all their pursuits....

View all posts by Rachel Larsen