I've been debating whether it would be worth it to create a journal or not. And, I think I want to do it. One, because if I *do* achieve this goal, it will be nice to be able to look back and reflect on the roller coaster ride that I am sure awaits. And two, because there are very few true "horse people" in my life, but no shortage of "be realistic" debbie downers who would keep me not only away from the goal, but out of the saddle, until I'm nearly retirement age. I am realistic, cautious of big decisions and driven. But I don't want to spend all of my life locked in Corporate America, never going near horses but always watching videos and reading articles and wishing for something else.
So. My recent activity on HF has been pretty telling of this goal, but in case someone is reading this in the future (here's looking at you, CountingCrew!) and wondering just what I'm talking about. My goal is to one day own and operate my own lesson and boarding barn, and to be an instructor at my own facility. My goal for this barn is to provide students and their parents with a thorough equine education, in and out of the saddle. I want to provide clinics on 'horse ownership readiness' for parents of very enthusiastic children. Basic and advanced survival skills for trail riding, in the event of a fall. Basic weather information and how to read clouds. I actually have a rather large word document just full of ideas. And, as expected, this of course means that I myself have tons to learn. My time line for this goal is to teach my first lesson either 5 to 10 years from now, hopefully instructing religiously by year 10. Within either 20 to 30 years, I hope to purchase my own facility. Hence, long winded.
This is an extremely ambitious goal and it presents a handful of glaring challenges. The first and probably biggest challenge is the fact that I haven't ridden since I was roughly 16, and before that, I didn't start riding when I was 2. I don't have a lifetime of horse experience to back me up, and I already know that this fact could serve as a deterrent to potential customers. Who would choose an instructor with only a few years in the saddle over an instructor with 30 years in the saddle and an impressive show record? Just on paper, the latter sounds much more appealing. There is the fact facility ownership comes with a plethora of maintenance items, fences to upkeep, heavy machinery to acquire, know how to use and maintain. There is also the fact that any sort of property with land, in the area I am interested in establishing, is beyond over-valued. All those realistic details to consider.
In terms of outside employment, I am established in a very large company. So large, that unfortunately, there are nearly 12,000 of our jobs at stake due to the current COVID pandemic. Including my job. What I will do outside of this job is very much up in the air. Many companies are struggling and in the same boat, and I face the reality of having to go back to the DriveThru world just to have a source of income in the very near future. And honestly, any honest work is good work as far as I'm concerned. I'm not beneath working in a place like that despite what my coworkers say. However, there is a barn in my local area that is hiring. I have mailed them my resume. (They very specifically said DO NOT CALL in the help wanted ad, so snail mail was the way to go.) A cover letter, and am waiting for a response. It wouldn't be perfect in terms of amazing pay and great benefits. But. It would be decent pay and a fantastic way to get around horses on the daily.
I have toured 4 lesson barns in my area and am so far extremely dismayed. One had just miserable manure management and is run by a trainer whom I used to respect, until meeting someone he has truly taken advantage of. One wasn't much better in regards to the manure, the trainer was very disinterested during the tour and disregarded any questions I asked her about horses with a flip of her hand and no real answer. There was one extremely nice facility wherein my interest in becoming an instructor one day was stoked while watching a summer camp lesson. Unfortunately, the trainer has ghosted 3 of my attempts to schedule a lesson with her. And at this point, 3 strikes and you're out as far as I'm concerned. And, the most recent instructor actually verbally scoffed when I told her my ambitions. "You can't be an instructor when you don't know what you're doing." This after I told her the hopeful timeline of 10 years before even trying to teach a lesson. Initially I had no interest in telling her about this ambition, but she asked. Then, she was very dismissive and negative, and so immediately lost my vote. I have also reached out to three backyard instructors, but, no response from 2 of them, and the third sold her horse but apparently forgot to remove her lesson ad.
So, I am now waiting for a call back from an instructor at another lesson barn in my area. She was meant to call me back after a "meeting" earlier this evening, but it's been 4 hours. If she doesn't return my call by tomorrow, I think she'll be out of the running as she did take my number and let me know she would return a call *this evening* after her "meeting."
Let's see where this goes! I really enjoy the advice offered by the patrons of this forum. You are not your typical "crazy horse people" and I genuinely appreciate that. I look forward to the journey with you. Whether I get to where I want to be today, or I get to somewhere completely different, as long as it has horses, I will be infinitely happier.