I wrapped the little pony mare's legs and tail. I taught my fellow instructor candidates how to fit a saddle to a horse. I wore my suitable western attire. I was polite and pleasant but threw in a few laughs here and there. I learned from my fellow candidate about rope halters and a new way to tie a quick release knot. I lunged the grey pony mare in both directions and managed to get her on both leads and even do a half decent stop on the lunge line.
I handled my stable management interview with what I felt was confidence, and later was told that I "exceeded expectations." Huh? Yeah! Me! Me who forgets everything!
I rode that super-quick pony before the mounted lessons and figured her out the best I could. I taught my lesson in the quick abbreviated version, as the evaluator asked, because we didn't have four hours for each of us to do an entire lesson. I did alright... I felt like I was teaching for real, and only had one jaw-dropping tongue tied moment when one student completely ignored my instructions so she could do some impromptu training with her horse. I assured her he was doing fine, even if he wasn't up to her standard of perfection (she does reining and expects perfection) and that for what I was asking in this lesson he was great.
In our final interview, I was asked what I thought went well and what I thought could be improved.
I answered, very honestly, that everything could have been improved. It's true, right? There's always room.
But I knew, and told her, what specifically could be done in the future to teach better. Now my job is to get out there and do it- get the experience, work with the riders, understand the horses.
It's going to be great!
I spent 10 hours in that barn. I was there well before 8 am, and left for home at 6 pm. It was over an hour's drive from home. By the end of the day, my feet were numb, my head hurt, and I was so tired I wasn't talking right anymore. But, elated. Relieved. Pleased.
It's Monday morning now and I have to burn out for a little bit. Y'know, take a nap, do some laundry, sweep up all the critter hair. I'm pretty tired. I had to go visit my horses yesterday, and of course, the humans they live with! Later I'll tell you about my visit from the friendly neighbourhood vet (It's okay, everybody's fine, but somebody has a "zipper" on her forehead now) and more about Bucky's treehouse.
It's just sinking in... I've reached a goal I set in place three years ago. About ten years before that I thought I'd like to teach riding lessons. Now I can. I'm a certified Western Riding Instructor. I'm legally and officially ready to teach beginners the basics of safe and effective riding. I get to show people how much fun it is to spend time with horses!
ps I could not have done this without:
an excellent coach (who is also a pretty cool friend to have)
kids who handled the changes in their lives with their mother out of the house a lot more
a husband who believed in my goal and wanted me to have it
friends who cheered me on every step of the way (and there were many steps)
my God-given gift of ancient inherited German stubbornness.