Monday, May 25, 2009

So, what's next?

First of all, thank you so much for all your messages last week!  It does feel good to be congratulated!  I've been walking around all weekend telling myself that I'm a Level 4 rider now.  It's been three years since I made the decision to go out and get all educated, and for years before that the whole rider level system intimidated me.  Now I'm one of those guys.

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!


Patti said...


coffeypot said...

Good-looking and educated, too. You da woman!

You’re patient only because you know you can rip them out of the saddle and stomp them into mush if you have too. There is a certain peacefulness in knowing that.

Biddie said...

Lol at Coffeypot.
You will be great with everyone. People like you.
Congrats :)

Heidi the Hick said...

Patti, thanks!

Coffey pot, I snorted out loud at that! I picture myself standing there whispering and scowling... "I will destroy you...." mwahahahahaha

Bid, I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and all that, right?

jules said...

Congratulations again, and that new book sounds awesome!

Heidi said...

What an amazing compliment! And I totally "see" that in you! (as much as I can see over the Internet!).

You'll be an awesome teacher no matter who you teach, because you love it so much.

dilling said...

want me to send you some facts of my life? i'd love to be a character in your book...you know i volunteered for a place that helped metally/physically challenged folks ride???

Maddy said...

Great post!
When I read this in your post"...the sudden realization that most of us can do a lot more than we think we can", I immediately thought back to something I heard on my own Outward Bound course. I want to share it with you.
"We are better than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less. "
- Outward Bound Student
I often think of these words and have found them to be very motivational.