Teachers, coaches, trainers, instructors, or whatever else you may consider yourself please listen up.
The thing I appreciate most is when an instructor remembers where they came from. It gives them the ability to create the most fantastic learning environment, it gives them an ounce of compassion for those of us that can’t afford to pay $100, an arm, a leg, a firstborn child, and a soul to the devil, just for a one hour block of instruction.
As a self-employed Natural Hoof Care Practitioner, trainer, and fellow horsewoman, I do understand we can’t just give our work away for free. But here’s the thing, a lot of people have big fancy barns, and big fancy arenas, and lots of land with a handful of pretty ponies, but somehow, they can’t afford to give a person here and there a break when they are looking to better themselves.
We shut down the dreams of so many young people when we don’t give them the opportunity to learn! I know this from experience, I’m 20 years old, have always wanted a future with horses, but can’t afford to be taught. So instead, I’m dropping it and going to learn Sports therapy. Will I always have horses? Sure, I hope so. But I won’t be able to work them for a living because “Frustration begins where knowledge ends” and it’s one of those things if no one is willing to help me out, I’m pretty much at a mental block because I’m not going to damage the horse or myself to try to teach myself.
People get so caught up in their work because they either never had a problem of struggling to learn what they love, or they get so caught up in “Oh look at me” that they forget where they came from and no longer have compassion on those of us who have undying passions but no funds to learn it.
So in return, what we get, is a dead end and we eventually just give up. Because we spend years searching for some one to help us and we can’t find anyone. I would love horses so much more if I only knew how to communicate with them better. I allow for things to get in my way of my time with horses because I am bored with my same old routines, and I can’t progress because I don’t have the money… I know I’m not the only person out there with that problem, and what is sad to me is there are people like me who are willing to work our tail of for that time with a coach and still no one is interested.
Now the other thing is, I found a horsemanship clinic this last weekend and determined nothing was stopping me from going. So I went, and I met this AMAZING horseman name Mike Guerini out of California. Let me just tell you, he made our group feel like one big family, or close-knit group of friends. No one was made to feel stupid, but we still got to make a little (good) fun of each other. I generally don’t ask questions with trainers because I’m afraid of being talked down to and yelled at (had a few of those trainers) and with Mike, he was just fantastic because I could ask questions I felt were stupid and he answered them with good humor and kind words, as well as a gentle tone. I think that’s where most trainers hit a wall, they aren’t upset with their students, but they are perceived to be upset because of their tone. But I also know there are a lot of trainers that once again, forget where they came from, and they can’t wrap their minds around why you don’t just get it. I can’t even begin to express how happy I was that I could ask questions I’ve been wanting to ask for a while now.
He was even nice enough to take time out for his students to help us one on one. With me, he instructed me from the ground and when I didn’t get it he helped Sontari while I gave the cues, when that didn’t work he finally got on a SHOWED me in detail explaining each individual step and showing me what it looked like done correctly and what I was doing and even let me feel the pressure he was putting on the reins when I asked him about it.
So if there is anything I could get us who are responsible for teaching others to remember is this:
1. Remember where you came from
2. Don’t give students a reason to not ask questions (no matter how stupid they may seem)
3. Be understanding
4. Never think you are so good that you quit trying to learn
I think we could benefit a lot more and become much more successful in what we do. We will have much happier clients and a much better reputation when remember those four things. If you think about how happy you could make one or two people just by helping them out imagine how many people they would start telling in their overflowing joy of getting to learn, about how pleased they were with your kindness and amazing people skills. How many people they could get to come to you and be paying customers all because you helped that person.
It goes back to a story I read awhile ago.
“There was a young boy gathering starfish that had washed ashore from the high tide. He’d pick them up by the arm full and put them back into the sea. A man saw him gathering the starfish and he says ‘You know you aren’t even going to get half of these starfish into the sea before they die right?” The little boy nods as he releases another arm full into the water and the man replies, ‘So why bother?’ The little boy gently scoops up a starfish and holds it out to the man, ‘Because sir, it matters to this one.’ Then he proceeded to gathering more starfish.”
You can’t help everyone, not just because there are too many to help but also because it is your livelihood and you need to make money to keep it going. But it doesn’t hurt to help a few. Make a change for someone.
Happy Learning or Teaching,