BUT. I am not done yet.
In order to earn the Instructor of the Beginner certificate, I will still have to jump through a couple more hoops.
Here's what I've done so far:
-earn my Rider Levels
-complete First Aid course
-complete equine-specific "learn to teach" weekend
-become a member of Ontario Equestrian Federation
-mentoring hours; 10 observing lessons, 15 being observed teaching
-I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting one more thing...
Here's what I have left to do:
-pay for Equine Canada membership
-apply for candidacy for Instructor's exam (the OEF already have me signed up over the phone)
-submit mentoring hours paperwork
-take the Instructor's exam
I'll be writing up a lot of lesson plans for the next two weeks... luckily for me, I'll be assigned a lesson topic soon, giving me lots of time to practice teaching it. I'll need to get a first aid kit (one for humans, one for horses) and all the props I'll need (those orange pylons, ground poles etc) to bring to the exam with me.
I've got time to do this right.
If I choose, I can keep going after this. I can specialize and go on to become a Level 1 Western Coach. Most who go that far are focusing on training riders for the show ring, and I haven't decided yet if that's how I want to go. I might really find my niche with beginners and kids.
I found out something very interesting after my test last week.
The Level 4 requires two judges; my own coach, the awesome Susan, and another wonderful woman were watching me with eagle eyes. Before riding the pattern, I made ol' Bo stand still and quit fussing and fidgeting. At that moment, 17 years worth of owning a hot headed little fireball half-Arab came into sharp focus. (Thank you Champ, again!)
Joanne turned to Susan and whispered, "She's patient. She'll do good with nervous beginners."
When Susan told me that later I almost fell over.
I know what it's like to be nervous! I've never ridden as well in the show pen as I know I can at home. I fall apart easily and putting myself into nerve-wracking situations has forced me to learn to keep it together (a little bit). But patient? REally? I don't usually see myself that way.
But I can see it... I can totally see myself getting along with people who have the desire but haven't found the guts yet. I have had to dig very deep to find my guts, (pardon the gruesome mental images, haha.)
I also had a brain shift because I've been slowly working on a novel about... a riding teacher who is a rather strange chick who attracts all kinds of damaged, disturbed students. I did not set off to write an imaginary alternate universe kind of thing to my own life but here we go, life imitating art?
I'm thinking about horses and mental health and the art of teaching. I'm thinking about abilities and limits and quests, the need to improve, the sudden realization that most of us can do a lot more than we think we can.
And now I'm going to have a day. I'll be filling out paperwork and riding a brown and white pony. I'll bring my camera!