Tuesday, 8 January 2008

January blues

I was standing in the middle of the arena today feeling surprisingly impatient with one rider who was particularly hopeless and uncoordinated and I think I was rather harsh with them. Although they didn't mind and they actually even enjoyed being pushed a bit I really don't think I should have had gotten to the point of being angry with a client. In the end of the day, it is me who is responsible for motivating them and making them want to learn and do things well. I think, the private clients spoil me to certain extent as they are so eager, so hungry of the knowledge and so happy to learn that when I switch to an average riding school rider I miss that drive which comes from passion. My irritation was only very short, I quickly got over it and we made a great improvement with this rider but the situation made me realise ever so strongly how much I want to move away from "commercial" teaching.
There are moments when I really do enjoy getting people into riding, seeing their first steps and how they learn to discover the beauty of the sport. However, the organisation, the horse power, the facilities, the way the riding has to be "sold" to the client - it's all mega off putting.
I have about 90 hours left out of the compulsory 500 to complete my AI certificate. Once this is done I am going to find more private clients.

The good thing about teaching at riding schools is that you get a block of hours and you just stay in one place and teach. You don't have to worry about transport, traffic, costs etc. You may, as I did, come across a great team of people to work with which is always great. The bad thing is that the rate is always lower than when you teach privately, you are stuck with beginners 60% of the time (and that if you are lucky as someone told me today they teach almost only total novices) and you are therefore not developing as an instructor.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against teaching total beginners - I actually prefer those who start with me over those who already acquired bad habits due to someone's lazy teaching. I also get a lot of satisfaction and pleasure from teaching intermediate and advanced riding schools riders.
However, what I am steadily feeling more and more sure of is that I have best results with competitive, amateur riders. Those who don't necessarily want to get to the top but who want to be the best they possibly can and who want to bring the best out of their horses.
This considering, I will be amending my weekly schedule from the middle of this year.
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Little news
: my lesson with Anna Ross-Davies is now moved to the 24th of January - very exciting :)

Picture left: taken on Sunday - one of the horses at Barnfield RS enjoys his lunch time roll ;)
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