Sunday, December 30, 2012

Endings and Beginnings

Didn't want to post this online before everything was all settled and done, but I've stopped teaching lessons at the rescue. Today was my last (windy, blustery, slipping-on-ice-with-my-bad-choice-of-footwear-y) day teaching. It actually worked out great because the original instructor wanted to come back from her maternity leave for the new year.

I haven't really posted much about the lessons (aside from the crashes) since I thought it would be kind of weird to talk about how they were going when my students could easily look it up and read it. And I did enjoy teaching--but it's definitely not all fun. It was a job, which I think I took a little too lightly going into it, especially since I was getting flipped around between different groups so much at my "real" (and also fairly new) job, which basically meant a lot of change and learning and transitions every couple weeks. And I am not a person who thrives on change.

Anyway, it just amounted to that working 6 days a week just wasn't working for me. I was exhausted on Mondays. I stopped wanting to go to the rescue and exercise the schoolies. I stopped even wanting to ride at all, which you may have picked up on with my sporadic posting this fall and my reports of "meh" rides. All I really wanted to do was stay inside and read. So I guess that settles a question I was debating months ago--at least at this juncture of my life, having a horsey job actually made riding into work.

Another issue was just interpersonal stuff. Now, I'm not really talking about barn drama per se--more that dealing with people is just hard, and I'd prefer not to do it at the barn. Sure, I can be polite and professional, but the idea that I wasn't qualified, I didn't know what I was doing, and that other people knew it and were judging me for it kept picking away at my confidence, whether it was a reasonable assumption or not.When things went wrong, I would obsess and worry over them for days. I just do not have the personality for it, I think.

Also...the more I ride and deal with draft horses...the more I realize I don't really like them unless they are very athletic and don't act like draft horses. Blasphemy, I know.

Anyway, those aspects of teaching sucked. Here's what I did enjoy:
  • helping a student bring Remy back from a rough period where he was freaking out anytime he felt rein contact to being consistently balanced and relaxed at the walk, and much more adjustable and relaxed in the trot. "Supertrot" is not the automatic pace anymore; it kind of depends if he's feeling up or not. Cantering and jumping are still works in progress, but the every week they're making great strides forward (pun intended). That has been very gratifying to see. Can you tell I like having a project horse, especially when I don't have to ride it?
  • planning out interesting jump exercises for my students who jumped
  • the learning aspect: Possibly because I was afraid I was doing things terribly wrong, I read a lot over these past few months, listened to webinars, absorbed everything my own instructors told me, and tried to turn it around and pass useful tricks along to my students. Teaching really is the best way to learn.
  • nerding out with other horse-crazed people. Don't get me wrong, bloggers, I love you too, but it was good to develop some real-life horsey friendships.
  • bringing along students who had not been on a horse in years to the point where they were comfortable and happy learning to post the trot.
  • our FAUX-SHOW! Which it appears that I neglected to post about. Oops. Well, remember the show I was planning on this fall? We were all set to go...and then got rained out since the host farm has only outdoor arenas. So we had our own show, with WT, WTC, command classes, and switching of horses. Everyone got ribbons, too, since GG has done some fundraiser shows in the past. I surprised myself since I didn't think Command would be my thing, but it was actually my favorite part. 
  • riding outside with the students
  • watching students new to riding creating some really sweet memories. When I would see them snuggling the horses or just quietly walking them back to the field, I was reminded of why we ride in the first place.
Here's a picture from our faux-show (couldn't get it to go in the bulleted list). Levi is the blurry gray on the left flinging his head up and down.
from the GGDHR Facebook page
So--all told, I think the transition is going through smoothly. Teaching just wasn't right for me, and now I can focus on my "real" job and on my goal of horse ownership.

And playing Braid on Byron's Xbox.


  1. Interesting!
    It's good that you've got the experience the whole 'horses are work instead of play' scenario in such a low key kind of way.
    Teaching does suck sometimes. I remember hearing whole lesson groups groan when I outlined my plan for the ride :( Ungrateful snots!
    Luckily the good times do make up for it - I loved watching kids progress from skill to skill and pony to pony.
    I'm a bit glad I don't teach any more though - I think you have to be a special kind of person to do it well (and I mean that in a good way :) )

  2. Man, good for you for sticking up for what you needed to do personally. I am going through the same thing - I need to keep doing 7 hours of stalls on Sundays in order to pay for Connor, but in order to start showing I need to, you know, not work what ends up being a 60 hour work week sometimes. In 2013 I hope to take a lesson out of your playbook and do the same. Happy New Year!