I realized pretty early on with both kids that horses were not going to be a huge focus as my daughter was always obsessed with ballet and my son with ice hockey. They had a small Shetland pony when they were very little who was a saint and they rode and played with her until she went to greener pastures due to the effects of old age. The vet estimated between 30-40 years old. What a sweet old girl she was. After the trauma of her passing, both kid were ok with not having a pony since they each had an activity that required hours and hours of practice a week. I did occasionally hear whispers about having another pony and eventually, after a few years, through an acquaintance I met at a Dorothy Crowell eventing clinic, I found a replacement pony. I wasn't really sure how things were going to work out and if the kids would really use the new pony Rose enough, but I took the leap into having an extra horse for kids that would never really ride seriously. Just because.
It has turned out to be one of the better things I have ever done. The kids only ride once a week during the school year since hockey and ballet are in full swing, but in the Summer they ride 2-3 times per week. They both have learned so much about dealing with another personality, especially because Rose is quite a character, strong and always testing their competence. My dancer daughter has to be tougher than she would like and my hockey player son has to be softer than he is inclined and on the whole it has tested both of them for patience and perseverance in wonderful ways. I have actually enjoyed teaching them and it has been interesting to take my improvements on biomechanics and use them teaching the kids. Because they both receive a lot of instruction in their respective sports they are very coach able and follow physical directions well. My daughter is turning into a beautiful dressage rider which is no surprise with the parallels between ballet and dressage. Body control and technique are everything. My son usually has one of biggest smiles I ever see from him when he is going at speed through poles or at speed in general. The developmental and emotional benefits have been so good for both of them even though they are active, involved kids with other pursuits. After 18 months the end result of following hands and nice seats, thinking riders, and smiling kids makes me so, so happy.