Thursday, 6 December 2007

Can you make a living out of it?

Apart from the obvious equine element, what I like about teaching to ride is the variety of people you come across. One day you teach someone who wants to be a forensic scientist, an autistic man who loves to stare at horse's eye, a vascular surgeon, a cello player etc to name just a few.
I find it fascinating how all those people who would never have met in everyday life, would have never spoken to one another, find a somewhat unique connection via four legged hairy creatures that bump them about.
So yes, I love teaching riding. Today, a city worker asked me whether it is possible to make a living out of being a riding instructor...Having recently thought about it a lot I had to admit that it's highly unlikely the pay would satisfy the enquirer.
This actually really annoys me. I find it infinitely unfair that something I enjoy doing, something I would love to concentrate on improving and making a career of, is not only badly paid but it's paid worse than my very dull, samey, brain killing, part-time office job.
Why can't equestrian coaches be equally regarded and well paid as football coaches? That would be great, wouldn't it? Ha, if only equestrianism got as much attention as football...or, for instance.
My part-time job involves a lot of conversations with a city firm. For every each of those conversations my company is charged per minute. We are also charged for the time it takes to write an email, print a paper, scan a document. I received some bills this morning. One, being for a couple of emails, couple of conversations and a few print outs - totalling 18 minutes - went up to £££...I should have studied law indeed and just teach riding as a volunteer instructor ;)

Out of curiosity I googled some advice 'an average person' would probably read if one was looking for widely available career resources on becoming a riding instructor. As an example Learn Direct/riding instructor says:
  • "Starting salaries for trainee and assistant instructors are likely to be up to £12,000 a year.
  • Experienced instructors are likely to earn up to £24,000."
The problem with this is that the above salaries usually have accomodation included in them. This means, that unless you want to live on the yard, you will never see the money mentioned.

Careers Scotland/riding instructor:

"Riding instructors earn in the range of £12,000 - £17,000 a year, rising to £20,000 - £24,000. Higher earners, including those who work as lecturers, can make around £23,000 - £33,000 a year. Some employers provide instructors with meals and accommodation.

Riding instructors usually work a basic 40 hour week. However, long hours, including early starts, late finishes and work on weekends and public holidays, may be required. Some posts are seasonal."

The lecturing path is the one I am personally interested in so if/when I explore it I shall drop a word about it for sure. However, having had a chance to chat to lecturers from a couple of top UK equine colleges I am aware that not everything is as good as it sounds...

Yes, I know it should all be about being rewarding and satisfying - and it is! - but it is hard to arrange for this satisfaction to pay the bills. Needless to say, the city worker will not be quitting his comfortable (yet deadly boring) chair just yet.

As to me, I will just keep plowing through what I enjoy doing. Who knows what opportunities wait around the corner...

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