Sunday, 5 October 2008

Sundays In Life of a Freelance Riding Instructor

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to someone and they said that I should post some more pictures from work. Well, I thought about it and today I decided to take my camera to a place where I knew I will get a lot of fun shooting! I could have gone for my private clients, some competition horses or BHS exams' student but my Sundays are such a little gem in my weekly schedule that here we go:

First lesson of the day, 9am, good coffee and a shelter is a must!

Sunday are my days of organisational paradise! When you work freelance you go to various places to teach or ride, you have very little to do with how these places are run and managed, you have no idea where everything is, where does each horse is stabled at the time, what mood are the horses in, if they have any injuries/soundness issues you should know about, whether their tack is due to be re-fitted, whether any incidents happened since you last taught at a place etc etc and this list is endless.
The way you end up doing your job depends significantly on the staff at the place, how they organise the running of the day and what they tell you upon your arrival.
Having worked in a rather few places already I can tell you this: you can have excellent horses to your disposition and have most dedicated riders as clients but if the organisation machine is badly oiled all you get is constant grind...

So why don't you grab a coffee, sit back and I will tell you a little about my Sundays, days when all I have to worry about is how to improve my riders...

Barnfield Riding School is a tiny place, 15 minutes hack from stunning grounds of Richmond Park. I initially started working there to speed up the process of logging in of my PTT hours, of which there used to be 500 to be done (the system is now changed). I planned to stay there for a few months. That was a year ago...
Why did I stay? Three reasons: they have the best freelance-instructor's-customer-service I have ever came across at any other place, their clients barely ever miss a lesson and they treat their horses as if they were most precious competition prospects.
At Barnfield the horses truly come first and riders all seem to understand that equestrian sport isn't like any other - you don't just rent a sports equipment and play, you deal with live animal that might hurt, feel bad, be of need of rest.
I am always given my own printed day plan and Sunday staff gives me full report on any issues of every horse I am using on the day. We chat and make any changes necessary to allocation of horses or lesson plans.
Ladies at the yard make sure all my clients are mounted and prepared to enter the arena on time.

Free coffees and cakes (eek!) are brought to me in regular intervals! I am being well spoilt there ;)

Some images from today, very very wet day ;) I will add a little slideshow at some point (when I have the time to upload all the images!).

Discussing how to ride Prelim 10 - good job DressageDiagrams do laminated dressage tests ;)

On the left: Suzanne, who is a great help with all things horsey and always rescues me if London Transport fails!


Can you see the jump? ;)

Over the poles - Wendy gets the best out of this little horse

M. with all her determination - Smarty has a complicated brain...;)

K. who had a blast on that pony (check out the pouring rain!):


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And some pics of my regular little people. I strongly believe everyone should start by learning to balance on the horse first. We do lots of riding on the lunge without reins, bareback riding plus various exercises to get to the point when the rider, regardless the age, is as independent of the reins as possible: Ch.'s first ride off the lunge: speed seems to appeal ;)

And H. whose stories are just out of this world! He keeps me on my toes - you just never know what will happen next:

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All important cuddles - Wendy (the cakes lady!) and Bella (new pony)
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Mr.Z.'s first ever riding lesson. Mr Z. learnt rising trot in 20 seconds - now, that's something! Watch this space - this is very much a 'before' picture as I am sure in a few weeks time you won't recognise this rider...



Slideshow with more images to follow some time soon.



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