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Darn210

Opinions From Horse Lovers/owners

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My daughter has always loved horses. NEVER had an interest in dolls. It has always been about horses:wub:.

I had figured (from about the age of 2) that when she got into elementary school, I would look into riding lessons for her. We have friends whose daughter has turned into one of those girls that would live in the barn if they let her. She takes lessons, mucks stalls to earn money to ride more often, and just hangs out there whenever she can. I see that same kind of potential in my daughter.

At this point, we haven't made any plans, so we wouldn't be taking anything away from her. But I know that it is something she would love.

There was a recent thread on being glutened while cleaning stalls (I think). I would like some opinions of the horse lovers/riders/owners. Do you have a lot of problems working with the horses? Is there anything special you do to protect yourself. Should I not even introduce the possibility to her?

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I was (and still am) horse crazy from three years old on. As far as gluten goes, you can check with the farms you're looking at. Most horse farms in New England use sawdust and shavings for bedding and we feed grass/clover hay. We just dont' grow wheat around Massachusetts!

I know it's different in the midwest where you are. Check with the farms and see what kind of hay they feed. I think that would be the biggest gluten possibility for her, because that's one of the dustiest parts or horse care is the hay.

But horses are only fed grain 2-3 times per day, and usually when the lesson kids aren't around. Most of what you do with a horse is in the aisle on a cross tie, so her contact with the feed buckets, etc are limited.

I think with a few precautions, she'd be fine.

I'd look for a barn with a real bathroom with running water, so she can wash up afterwards.

Hope that helps!

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My daughter, like yours is a total horse nut! She LOVES them! She started asking to ride when she was 2-1/2 and by the time she turned 6 she wore us down. We actually thought riding would be a great way for her to have some independence and contol in her life in spite of all the lack of control she has in other areas (particularly food related). To that end it has been a totally wonderful experience.

She is now 7 and she has been riding 1 or 2 times a week for the past year. We do have some concerns about the grains around the barn and do know of one time that she did get glutened after feeding the horses and then wiping her face with her hand (yuck!). So now we are careful to take some precautions.

The kids at her barn do help out with all of the barn chores including feeding. Camryn makes sure not to be involved with feeding. She can do water and she can muck stalls (since that stuff has been digested). She also wears her riding gloves the entire time that she is at the barn (a little uncomfortable in the summer, but she's used to it). This helps both to keep her out of direct contact with whatever may be coming off the horses when she is grooming and it also serves as a reminder to her to keep her hands out of her mouth. She takes them off when hosing off the horses, but we figure at that point it's okay since there is water involved. She always washes her hands before getting in the car to go home. Then she takes a shower immediately upon walking in the door at home and all horse clothes get washed.

With these precautions she has been a totally happy equestrian and is becoming a pretty good little rider. I hope your daughter can ejoy it as much as Camryn does.

Barb

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How wonderful for your children! Horses and girls have a magical bond. We have had several horses when my girls were growing up. They eventually competed in Combined Training. I have never been so proud!

Encourage horses in any manner you can. It's benefits far out weigh the risks. Barb has seemed to come up with a very workable solution.

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Guest j_mommy

I think you should go for it if you can afford it!!!

We don't have wheat hay here in teh midwest either...we do grass hay! Find a good place and let her loose!!! :D

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I also love horses & ride in the trail ride here in Houston sometimes. i took riding lessons a few years ago, but stayed away from the grains, it is usually stored in barrels with lids (to keep out the rats & other varmints :D:D I mostly like to do the trail ride photography & I also scrapbook.

I say go for it, riding is an excellent thing to do!!!!!

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With our daughter and her ponies we practice strict hygiene rules. She washes her hands and under her nails straight after mixing feeds and gets them checked by me. Disposable gloves were ok for a while but not good for the environment, and her riding gloves ended up being very messy. :rolleyes:

I am less worried by it now though as we put our ponies on a gluten free diet to help with any CC that my daughter might get. Our hay is meadow hay and we also no longer use any oat or wheat products in the feeds, but are very cautious nevertheless. :D

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I "hang" out at the barn with my daughters and wear light leather gloves to remind me not to put my fingers in my mouth etc. I'd identify any gluten sources (if any) and work around them--giddy up! :D

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I have a different take on the horse thing.

One of my friends from high school was a competitive rider. She died in a freak accident where the horse threw her over a jump, then jumped over and landed on her head.

My best friend as an adult used to be an ER doc. She and I started horseback riding lessons together, which was lots of fun. She had always been a "horse" person; it had always been a dream of hers to do dressage.

After riding for 10 years, she bought two horses, and began showing and competing, all the while taking 2-3 lessons a week. Then one day, she was riding the more gentle of the two horses. Nobody saw what happened; perhaps it was a bee? At any rate, the horse (who had never bucked before) bucked her off. My friend was in a coma for 4 months, and has permanent brain damage. It took her a year to walk again (which she does, very slowly, with a walker). She cannot speak normally, either.

My daughter also loves horses, but we have encouraged cats and dogs instead. I'm sure I'm over-reacting, but I will never let her on a horse. Since she has met my friend many times, she totally understands.

Sorry to put such a downer post here...

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Fiddle-Faddle,

Every sport has it's risks. You have the weight the benefits from the risks. Horses, in my case, taught my children how to care through the good and the bad, responsibility, self reliance, poise and most of all, how to win and how to loose.

Wouldn't have traded it for the world.

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I just had to throw in my two cents here....

This isn't about being gluteneted at the barn, although I have never had any problems. But as for the safety debate, I needed to express my opinion.

I begged for years to ride. My parents finally relented when I was nine (I'm sixteen, going on seventeen now). I fell in love with the sport. A shy and underconfident person in real life, I blossomed around horses. My true personality came out. Horses were never judgemental, and they were always sweet. It took me a few years, but I was able to be that self confident around everyone, not just horses.

The thing about horse injuries is that they aren't usually petty. But it's those ones, those serious injuries that you hear about. For instance, taking a tumble from a horse is common. You usually hit the ground, laugh, brush yourself off and get back on. I can't tell you how many times I've fallen off. Or witnessed a fall. All safe. I've only ever witnessed one serious horseback riding accident, and that was last month when my best friend fell off coming over a jump and the horse kneed her in the face. The helmet caused a serious incision from her ear, following her hairline to the middle of her forehead. It took 31 stiches. She's perfectly fine now. But that's been the biggest accident in our horse community in years.

With any sport, there are risks. Statistics have proven that soccer has more injuries than horseback riding. But if you approach those risks and take the safety precautions (HELMET - always wear one, saved my friends life a few months ago - calm horse, experienced instructors and safe area to ride) then horseback riding is a positive and extremely amazing sport.

So while you can hear about all the horrible stories, (I'm so sorry for your loss FiddleFaddle, and your friend), you also need to consider; how many days of plain ol horse fun do you hear about? Plenty of horror stories go around. More stories about safe and fun riding need to be spread around.

So here. I'm sixteen, going on seventeen, having been riding for 7 years, and horses make me happy. I own my own green horse, who I am currently training, and am an assistant teacher. My life around horses has been overwhelmingly positive. They've given me confidence, taught me about responsibilty, and introduced me to some incredible people.

This post is not meant, in any way, to downsize anything FiddleFaddle said. I just love spreading the horse bug. Good luck in your decision!

-Lissa

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Fiddle-Faddle,

Every sport has it's risks. You have the weight the benefits from the risks. Horses, in my case, taught my children how to care through the good and the bad, responsibility, self reliance, poise and most of all, how to win and how to loose.

Wouldn't have traded it for the world.

I totally agree with you. Horses are beautiful animals, and caring for and interacting with them is a wonderful thing. I've even read about their being used as therapy.

I've just learned through sad experience that the risks are far more than what I used to believe.

When my first friend was killed, I assumed it was a fluke. When my second had her life ruined (she can't even walk and talk normally, let alone work, and can't take care of herself), I realized it was not a fluke.

Many doctors and nurses at from the ER where she used to work are horse people. One thing they told me as I sat with her in the neuro ICU watching the ventilator breathe for her is that the helmets currently used (or, at least, the ones in use 5 years ago, when she was injured--I have no idea if standards have changed) are worthless. They are not designed for protection, they are designed for looks. (And both my friends were experienced riders and were wearing helmets, by the way.)

I don't think people shouldn't ride, but they should be aware that the risks are really downplayed.

When my friend was in a coma, seemed like everyone I came in contact with--nurses in the hospital, then nurses in the nursing home, and friends I wrote to around the country--everyone knew someone who had either been killed or seriously injured in a horseback riding accident! Nobody told me and my friend this when we started riding together (I had assumed that my first friend's death was a total fluke and not something common). We were asked to sign a waiver, of course, and told that serious accidents were practically unheard of and that it was just a CYA for them.

Another thing to be aware of is that, with any serious injury, insurance does not cover recovery.

When my friend had been in therapy (PT, OT, speech, everything--she had to relearn how to use every muscle, even how to swallow)for a year, she was suddenly told that she was being discharged because her progress was leveling off and that she would not improve more.

She was totally mystified by this, as she had reached every goal that the therapists had set for her. Every one. Turned out, insurance didn't want to pay for her to improve any more.They, like all insurance companies, had set a limit--based on days of treatment, not based on how she was improving--on how much they covered, and when they decided that they didn't want to pay any more, that was it--unless she wanted to pay out-pocket.

I had looked into paying out of my pocket just for her speech therapy (they cut that off when she could swallow on her own and when she could begin to form words and they said that that was good enough), and it would have been thousands of dollars just to get her assessed.

What I ended up doing was sending her to a voice teacher (a singing teacher) who was married to a violinist I know, and she worked on the same things the speech therapist would have worked on, and I just paid her what she usually charged for voice lessons.

The kind of treatment that high-profile people like Christopher Reeve received is NOT what the rest of us get. My friend was basically dumped in a nursing home until her parents were able to sell their house in Oklahoma and move here to live with and take care of her. The insurance company couldn't care less that stopping treatment caused her to lose functions that she had worked hard to regain, and they couldn't care less that another year of intensive therapy might have given her back a near-normal quality of life.

Lissa, that's a wonderful experience you have had, and I hope it continues to be wonderful for you. Both my friends felt that horses were the WORLD for them, and were never happier than when riding.

I just wish the risks weren't so high.

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