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BOTD 4/11/15 "Riding Academy" A mahoover Production

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David M. Katz

Riding Academy
A mahoover Production

You run a stable for tourists on an island just off the Gulf coast in the US.  There are several resorts on the island, and you provide the horses that they use for beach-side trail rides.  You have three sons: Johnny who is eight, Tom who is twelve, and Paul who is fourteen.  Paul is a very good rider, and a big help around the stable.  Tom is just starting to learning to ride, and is still very much a beginner.  And you have said that Johnny is still too young to learn to ride.  You have let him ride in front of you, but don't want him on a horse without you around yet.

Tom has been pestering Paul to help him with his riding, but between chores and school, Paul hasn't had a lot of time to help Tom.

Today Tom comes to you in the office and says he has a picture he needs to show you.

He complains that Paul has time to help Johnny with his riding, but not him.

Johnny - 8
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Tom - 12
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Paul - 14
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Who is in trouble?

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

David M. Katz

I don't think anyone is in trouble other than a sound ear burning. I will talk with Paul and let him know I appreciate him helping with Johnny but remind him why I wanted to be present. I will also suggest he spend a little more time with Tom. Johnny, in little boy think, most likely felt that since he was with his big brother that he was not disobeying. I will remind him also of why I want to be present. And, Tom, seriously?! Taking pictures. No one likes a tattletale.

Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.


I am being stupid! I should have realized that Johnny IS old enough to start riding and helping around the stables. It does appear to be the case that Johnny is a little small for a full sized horse but ponies are available and I should get one for him, and also for the children of customers.



I don't think anyone is in trouble. And I'm not convinced that sitting on a horse's back while someone else is holding him (or he's tied) constitutes "riding".

I may ask some pointed questions which may lead to further discussion. When I was a kid, I took riding lessons, and the instructor's kids, who were all younger than I was, were omnipresent, not just helping with stable chores, but riding as well. I think 8 is old enough for supervised activity.

I'm going to suggest to Tom that if he wants his brother(s) to interact with him, being a tattletale is not a good way to achieve that goal.


Can't answer this as I was riding and jumping barrels at this age so....

I would say no trouble

Hugs kal


All three of them are in trouble, but not much.

I'm kind of confused why Tom isn't a good rider by now, or why I haven't been working more with Johnny, so I think I need to get my priorities straight, and make time to work with my own kids.

"In the end, it's just a story. But if you ask me, it's all true."

John Boy

I could ditto Katz or Jack on this one.


Agree with Iconoclast. Maybe now it's time for a pony or two for the younger guests, and certainly Johnny and Tom can be on hand to reassure the guests that it's a good experience, and help them. Make it plain to all three that this incident may be a way to make something productive happen. Certainly, if Johnny can manage a small horse with no saddle it suggests he has some talent with horses.


Think I've been pretty dumb here.

At what age did I let Paul start riding?

I've got two potential sable hands here that I'm not making use of by incentivising them with riding lessons.

I'm missing out on making more money from the tourists by not having ponies for their kids.

Reckon it's me who needs a kick up the butt!

Tom's going to get one quick flick of the whip for being a tattletale and then we'll start riding lessons for both him and Johnny.


I am going to Ditto(tm) David.

I will remind Paul that horse can get spooked easily, and that is why I want to be around when Johnny is on a horse.

I agree that Johnny should be getting used to horses, but I want to wait till he is a bit older before starting actual lessons, for now rides with me will get him used to how horses react.

And I will talk to Tom about fibbing. And ask him how he would feel if one of his brothers got him in trouble. I will try to get him to realize he needs to apologize to them, but won't force the issue.


Editor Extraordinaire
I agree with Kier.


Stone Man

John Boy wrote:I could ditto Katz or Jack on this one.

Me too.

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