Adult Amateur, not Alcoholics Anonymous. Though there are some days that the second one seems appropriate.
When I was doing the professional thing, we used to tell the horses in training that they needed to be good so some sweet lady would buy them and spoil them rotten and never make them work hard again. While we always say that every horse should experience being loved by a little girl, I think there's a lot to be said for being an adult lady's horse.
For one, there's more money available, so there's more things like massages. Papi and Bambino both enjoyed massages this week after being purchased by their adult ladies. Theo has also had a dentist visit, a chiro visit, and a saddle fitting in the past month. He's also seeing a decrease in the number of lessons he teaches with a corresponding increase in rides from experienced riders. Trainer A has a couple of training rides coming up. It's certainly not a bad gig. Kids have carrots and hugs, adult ladies have custom ordered tack and Stud Muffins.
Another perk is that adults are better at grooming. Kids may love the process, but they can't reach everything and they don't really get into it. They want a horse that's clean enough for tacking up and not getting in trouble at the start of the lesson. Adult ladies, now they know how to groom. Curry combs with long fingers and using your shoulder to really work into those hard working muscles. I can spend an hour grooming Theo easily and he is usually sound asleep by the end of it, head hanging in the cross ties and eyes closed. The school ponies love it when I help groom because I know how to get through the thick winter coat and find the itchy spots. I spent fifteen minutes working on a pony this week and had an ankle deep pile of hair all around him. He looked a bit drunk, eyes half closed and lip twitchy. Kids are cute and fun, but adults know how to groom a pony.
Kids have unending energy. I remember as a teen spending the whole day at the barn in summer and never getting tired. My poor horse would have a lesson, then a couple hours off, then a trail ride, then a bath, then some time off, then maybe some more messing with him. I loved to braid his mane and tail. Fortunately he was a tolerant soul and would do things like lay out in the sun for a nap while I messed with his forelock. My instructor would chase me off so he could have some peace, but I always gravitated back. Adults have jobs, families, and responsibilities. We don't spend the entire day at the barn very often. We come out, groom, ride, snuggle, and go away. It's a pretty fantastic deal.
Unfortunately, these great perks do come with some drawbacks. Face kisses and baby talking are commonly a thing. Hovering and trying to make sure everything is perfect for our precious babies? Yeah, that happens. Freaking out over the smallest nick or sneeze? Oh yes. Amateur riders also tend to do things like lose their balance or get nervous about dumb things. And there's nonsense like this:
Welcome to life as an AA horse, Theo. I'll order some more Stud Muffins for you, since you didn't bite me for my behavior last night. I saw you thinking about it.