"Show team for teens and adults"
Who knew that only a few months later I would find my truest calling.
In the past few months my lesson program has grown to include some very young and even shorter students. Younger kids who didn't fit the lesson model at other facilities. They are nervous, unconfident and need a lot of time to think and regain confidence. They can't be told to "just do it" because they've done that and it didn't work for them. They got spooked, they got scared and in many cases they fell off.
This is where I come in. And while I was a bit hesitant in the beginning; I cannot begin to describe how incredible it is to see those little light bulbs go off.. And a smile return to a stressed and nervous face. So far we have kids as young as 6 years old facing their fears and overcoming obstacles. One of our young girls has progressed from lead line to walking, steering and stopping on her own in 4 lessons time. She even walks over a tarp and up onto the pedestal; both on the ground and in the saddle.
Another is this little man, he had a bad experience in a riding lesson and lost his confidence. So far to the point that he wouldn't get back in the saddle. It's taken 3 lessons to get him comfortable again. But just this weekend he swung his leg up over that saddle and sat down. Took a deep breath... And got off again. To some people that may sound like a pretty lame lesson; but Max overcame so many obstacles in his own life that day! To get him comfortable we did a lot of different things. We started him on the ground learning how to confidently lead his pony around. Over obstacles and turning, stopping. Confidently. We had him stand on the mounting block and practice putting weight in the stirrup. Stand up, take a deep breath, step down. Approach and retreat.
What strikes me as the most interesting point is that I can use my horse training methods to help these amazing little horsepeople. I use approach and retreat. I give them support, but them give them space. I help them relax and take deep breaths.
And the most wonderful things come about.
They start to have fun again!
But through it all there is one most important aspect; the horses who carry us onward. My reliable horses take their job of carrying very precious cargo, ever so seriously. Blondie is our number one for confidence building; and I cannot speak highly enough of her attitude and endless patience during her lessons. Our next in line for this supportive role is our new pony Ziggy Stardust. She holds great potential and is just the right size too ;)
If you are having any confidence issues, whether you are a little horse person, an adult or any size in between; I encourage you to come out for a lesson with one of our steady eddies. And remember why we began our journey with horses in the first place; to have fun!