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“Help me canter!”

Well, not me. My student. It’s a woman that I’ve known for a long time and she’s been instrumental in my decision to become an instructor. Why? Basically because she begs and pleads for riding tips. Then when they work she tells me that I need to get my license.

So, here I am.
Watching her canter.
Actually, I’m watching her butt hit the saddle.
Bump
Bump
Bump

How I remember those days.
Actually, I think it was only last week. Sigh.

“Sit back more! Opening your hip angle will help you sit better.”
I know it helps me.
I see a momentary improvement.

Hmm, she’s tense which is causing her to be against the movement.

“Think about bobbing in the ocean. Allow the ocean wave to gently pick you up and set you down.”
There! She relaxed into the motion.
“Ocean wave, ocean wave…”

Oops!
Bump
Bump
Bump

“Be a bean bag draped over your horse.”
There. She’s got it!
Softly sitting
Softly sitting

Oops!

“Open on the up. Close on the down.”
Nope. She’s out of rhythm.

“Relax your knee and thigh.”
She’s got it! I actually saw her seat deepen.
“Good job!”

“Thank you so much! I could really feel the difference.”

That’s the payoff. Hearing the thrill in another person’s voice because you’ve given them a small glimpse into what riding can really be like when you partner with your horse. Those aha moments that are so addicting.

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“Hello – Hello – Hello,
Is there anyone in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?”

Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb

Me! I’m home and I can hear you.
Oh. You can’t hear me?
Hmm, I guess that’s because I’ve been, um, busy.
Yeah, busy. That’s the ticket.

Seriously though, since I lost my job finding another has been a full time endeavor. I’ve been fairly lucky finding work through temp agencies and some freelance but no one’s biting on the permanent job front. Stark reality is staring me in the face (by the way it needs a breath mint, whew!) and I’ve had to consider reinventing myself. Which sucks because I’m not broken.

What would reinvented Lee do?
I like animals. As I child I wanted to be a vet. Who doesn’t?
I like art. That’s why I became a graphic designer.
Ideally? Art + animals = equine graphic designer.
Thankfully, I already have some equine related clients but not enough to sustain me. Not yet anyway.

I need a backup plan. Something that I’m interested in and hopefully good at that will get me through the lean times ahead. Aha! Riding instructor.

Actually the riding instructor idea wasn’t entirely mine. I recently dropped in on my first instructor and ended up giving tips to several of her students. It was her idea and now I’m her apprentice. Immersed in learning to speak “student”. Not just parroting back what I’ve heard all these years but helping them connect the dots. They can learn the theory later. Believe me. The minute you touch on theory their eyes glaze over. They want to ride. That’s good because I want to give them the tools to ride well.

Which brings me back full circle to the whole busy thing. I’m juggling a 2 month contract position, freelance, apprenticeship and family. I haven’t even had time to sleep.

Speaking of sleep (yawn)…..zzzzzzzzzzzz

Contact Me

leecullen@comcast.net

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