Well, I'll definitely agree that endurance riding is one sport that you won't see "little league parents" pushing their kids in it to compete at too young of an age. There just isn't enough "glory" in this sport. Where in the world did this argument that horse sports are BAD for kids pop up? Sounds a little like some people are going off on tangents over a single statement, than really addressing the actual issue, which is physical damage to growing bones. I still have not seen any concrete evidence that horseback riding - THAT far and THAT long over a long period of time - doesn't hurt the growing bones. I can't imagine that it wouldn't - especially since we're being told, quite firmly, how damaging too much too soon does to our horses. Any pediatric or orthopedic professionals out there that can give an opinion (not vet, totally different animal there). So far, all we've heard is hearsay and personal experience. Neither is very scientific. Question to all those
that are being brought up as poster children to young riders -- How early did you start riding? How long did you train? How long of a ride did you compete on and how often? Just saying that you did a ride at a very young age doesn't add weight to the argument that there wouldn't be damage. Document time and effort, then we'll see.
--- Tall C Arabians - SE Texas
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 10/29/2002 8:13:29 PM
Subject: Re: [RC] Whoops, sent it before I was done....sorry
>Oh yeah, and none of them are into drugs either...................................................
One of the things that too many people don't consider when arbitrarily legislating younger kids out activities is what the alternatives are for many kids. When the adult world constantly tells them "no" then one alternative is to simply go off and do things WITHOUT permission. Drugs are just one problem of many. BTW, if you haven't had a reality check about drug abuse lately, it is STARTING in elementary schools these days. I work part-time in our school district, and the FIRST grade has active anti-drug campaigns and discussions about drugs. And yes, folks, this is a rural school district, not on the beaten path. I work with kids who have special needs, and no, they would NOT be able to do an endurance ride or much of anything else at this age. But in the first grade classrooms where I work, I see a few kids who are sufficiently precocious that they
NEED an outlet for their energies, and yes, they are mentally mature enough to grasp what they are doing. Shame on us if we close doors to those very kids who need a healthy pursuit that captures their interest and their desire, even if those kids happen to be less than 8. Here locally the one sport that is available to those youngsters is hockey--three cheers for the active hockey organization that provides an outlet to these kids. If they are handicapped, they may get the chance to ride in the therapeutic riding program. If they are normal, 4-H has closed its doors, and the only possibility is pee-wee rodeo. What a travesty that we can put tiny kids on horses to sprint around barrels and poles, or to ride calves and sheep that buck them off, but that those of us who can offer something less concussive, less dangerous, etc. are considering cutting off one more outlet for these kids.
Maryben is right--the kids that I've seen out there as both a ride vet and an RM are NOT being pushed by their parents. They are there because THEY want to ride. Although I didn't start quite so young, I can relate--my parents never heard of endurance when I was a kid, and *I* was the one who wanted to do it. I started out with CTR, because it was local. I rode my horse to my first event, because we didn't even own a trailer. We didn't need sponsors in our CTR organization back then, and my parents simply came as spectators. My mother does not ride at all. My dad ranched part time and taught me to ride, and he was proud of me--but also I think a little bit confused that I wanted to do something outside of our family experience. HE learned about endurance riding from ME--and started endurance riding when he was 60, having caught the bug after conditioning with me when I was in college.
Hats off to the folks who are willing to sponsor those kids whose parents don't ride, and who understand that kids pushed by parents are NOT typical of the juniors in our sport.
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