Time is the currency of the true horseman


Dear Dobbin,

I’m the Mother of a teenaged rider. She participates in a moderate amount of horse activity: Lessons, barn shows, a couple of larger shows each year. We neither own nor lease a horse and she doesn’t own her own tack. Still, this entire proposition is very expensive and once we reached the intermediate level the potential to spend exploded. Suddenly she has friends with their own horses and over-the-top clothes, helmets, you name it.

A friend recently changed barns for her child because another rider’s parents gave their daughter a horse in front of all the other riders and parents at the annual holiday party! We’ve been clear with our daughter that we’re not able to participate at that level and the she’s to earn some of her own funds for riding expenses. So far she’s been great, but we are starting to see a real distinction between those girls whose parents have gone all-out and those, like us, who are more moderate. What are your suggestions for navigating this bumpy road of materialism?

Budgeting Barn Mom


dear-dobbin2Dear BBM,

Release yourself from these worries. While it may seem money is the biggest stumbling block in furthering your daughter’s riding career, the real issue is time. Most trainers would kill for a junior rider who can really ride and is dedicated and reliable. Spend on the best quality lessons you can find, a few horse shows and some clinics. Get her to the barn early and let her stay late. She’ll have to learn to be organized and efficient with her studies and other responsibilities. She’ll need to stay fit and healthy. It won’t be long before she’ll have riding and showing opportunities coming out of her ears, mostly paid for by the owners of the horses she is riding.

A gentleman of means of Dobbin’s acquaintance shared that his secret of success was being willing to do the things other people didn’t want to do – learning to groom, braid and clip horses impeccably fall into this category. Also avoid the trap of comparison with others. A good work ethic trumps all.

– Dobbin

Your friend Dobbin invites your questions regarding the horse life. Dobbin’s experiences span 45 years of teaching hunter/jumper and combined training riders, fox hunting, trail riding for pleasure and competition , sales, dressage and a smattering of Western riding. Dobbin is at the ready to handle questions and your identity may remain confidential if you prefer. No inquiry too big or too small. Email Dobbin c/o lois@horsetalkmagazine.com. Please put Dear Dobbin in your subject line.