The bonus of working with a good facility is of course the access to that facility, to the infrastructure, to comfort for the riders. However, I had a good think about it and I came to conclusions that after all, primary vision for non - owners branch of Aspire Academy is to provide top quality riding tuition for riders without own horses NOT plush time in cosy coffee rooms (even though I do like those :).
That's when I changed my approach and whilst continuing to search for a centre on smaller scale, I put 90% of effort into finding another solution...I'd been testing a "share a horse for lessons" scenario for a while now and decided it could be the way to go. Owners of the types of horses I am after often welcome a financial contribution to the upkeep of their horse whilst the type of rider I am after to teach is eager to build relationship with the horse they train on. It is not easy for a learner-rider to find a share horse simply because the owners are worried that the horse might end up mistreated or ridden badly due to simple lack of knowledge of the inexperienced sharer. The situation is different if the learner rider actually takes well structured, long-term planned lessons that not only teach the rider but might also school and improve the horse...
I'd emailed and messaged (good old Facebook) pretty much everyone that I thought might help me move forward with this development but for many weeks I had no luck. Either horses were not suitable or the place was just that little bit too "out in the sticks" or there were other reasons that would make the logistics impossible like the horse being only available on Mondays 7am...you get the idea.
In the meantime, various funky things were happening, like this bite on my eyelid a few weeks ago!
|Waking up with an eye swollen shut is not a very amusing welcome to the day|
Not sure what my immune system was thinking but it decided to blow up half of my face as well as the eyelid, working on laptop with one eye was a challenge and was also surprisingly tiring. I also had to teach in sunglasses so I didn't scare anyone and that was a little inconvenient too since it was a week of fog and rain ;) It lasted about 5 days but felt like 5 weeks. Kudos to all one eyed horses jumping and eventing out there, just moving around people and horses in walk was hard enough!
Finally, I found a yard with several owners looking for sharers. The yard that is very easy to get to and so the big trial begins this month. Of course it wasn't without a drama that almost made me lose the remaining hair that still hangs on to my head but all seems ok, for now at least!
If as many riding schools' owners say it is not possible to accommodate certain structures into the schools' set ups then perhaps it's time to change the set ups...Sharing a horse for lessons might not be for everybody but if it is for the kind of person that Aspire programmes exist for in the first place, then maybe that's the path to take.
I have so many plans for next year. I don't know if it's the age, the stress, the various things that needs sorting out but taking forever to do so or what but for the last couple of years I lost quite a lot of my usual courageous ability to make plans. Fear of failure maybe, not sure. I am glad I managed to shake it off to some extent.
Some big changes coming up next year too. One day I am feeling invincible to take them on, the next one I'd rather be hiding under the duvet ;) On those pathetically fearful mornings I tell myself that the clock is ticking, the time is passing, the worst that can happen is that someone will say no.
If you are doing something different or entrepreneurial in your life do let me know what you are up to and how you deal with your challenges!