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Discussion Starter #1
I am in the process of getting my PATH certificate at the center I volunteer at. The plan was to be a 'float' for vacation or sick, just on Saturdays (I work full time). Anyway the head Instructor just emailed me and offered me Saturday mornings permanently (personally I think she's being a tad over confident in me passing my PATH but hey ho ;-) )

So I have a few things to consider:

1. I would have to change my riding lesson, I usually ride Saturday am and I don't think my coach has any other slots on Saturdays. An option is mid week, assuming she has a time, I can work from home and nip out

2. I loose the flexibility of being a 'volunteer' as would need to be there every Saturday

3. I work full time, and don't want to burn myself out (see above) though, they are closed over school holidays (Easter, Summer, Christmas)

4. I am having massive doubt about my ability and my impostor syndrome is having a field day!

To be honest, the timing of this in a way couldn't be better; I had a realization the other day that I don't think I will go much further in my full time job, my role is very busy and doesn't allow for a lot of side projects, I am OK with that as there is still a lot I like and I have quite a bit flexibility in my role that allows for other things. So if I can't grow and develop in the full time job, there's lots of ways I can in the part time one. Horses are my passion, as is helping people, and becoming an instructor would allow me to grow and learn so much but with the financial security that my full time role provides.

Thoughts??
 

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Go for it. There's no real downside. You're already volunteering, they've already got a pretty good handle on what your abilities are and obviously, they think they're good enough. If it turns out to be too much, you can always go back to volunteer status. I think you'll find that this job gives you a sanity break. I used to race professionally (slalom and Super G on snow skis), teach lessons on the weekends, work my full time job at the Sheriff's Department and on Mon & Weds nights, I taught the 'Parkers and Wreckers'. Our county Parks & Rec and a learn to ski program for kids from 5 to high shool and I taught the 5 and sometimes up to 7 year olds. I'd be exhausted at the end of the day and think, "OMG I just can't make it through another lesson." and then I get there and those kids would all come running and give me hugs and kisses and we go have so much fun and then at the end of the night (we got done about 8pm), I'd go night ski until 10 pm and come out feeling totally refreshed. Oh Gawd, that just exhausted me reading it! To be young and have unlimited energy again!

So do it. Push that comfort zone!
 

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Congrats on the offer!

I used to have a similar situation; I work full time in a field outside of therapeutic riding, but I taught anywhere from 1-3 Saturday morning lessons, and would occasionally be the instructor leading a Sunday birthday party during the nicer weather. I personally loved having my lessons to look forward to on Saturdays, as it was such a change from my "day job." I asked for all the early lessons so I could be done by noon and still have most of the day to do weekend things with my husband/friends. Our lessons died down in the winter, but I still had 2 consistent riders in the coldest months.

What I DID NOT like about my setup is that finding consistent, reliable volunteers for Saturday mornings was a nightmare. While it wasn't technically my responsibility, if volunteers didn't show up, I could be left with up to three riders with not nearly enough volunteers. Sometimes with NO volunteers, which was just plain unsafe. Depending on the riders and lack of volunteers, I might have to skip mounted activities and work on the ground, which really sucked for the families and kids (my riders were all kids). Volunteer recruitment and retention was a major problem with the program I worked with. I tried to do what I could to make sure my volunteers were appreciated and had a good time, so that they would want to come back, but it was a constant issue.

Where are you in your cert process? If you are an instructor-in-training, will you have a certified instructor with you for your lessons? I know some programs skirt the rules a little on that, but you should think about any personal risk you're liable for if there was an accident and you were the only (uncertified) instructor on the premises at that time.

And, would there be other volunteers at the barn not involved in lessons while you're teaching? If so, what is your responsibility/oversight for them if say, someone is out cleaning a pasture and gets mowed down by a horse?

On the financial piece, I personally would be very scared trying to make it on an instructor's salary. I technically did get paid, I think $12/lesson, but I only accepted the pay because I could not be covered by the center's liability insurance as a volunteer and they had to demonstrate I was treated as a staff person. Every year, I made a "donation" back to the program in the same amount as what they paid me, because to me the instructing was volunteer work. When I joined the Board of Directors, I sadly had to stop instructing because you can't get paid as a member of the Board (financial conflict of interest). If I had it to do over, I wouldn't have joined the Board and would have stayed with the instructing! While I could see a way to live on an Executive Director salary and teach a few lessons here and there, I personally could not make my family's finances work just instructing. But I won't get nosy about your personal financial planning or where you are in your career. Just a word of caution to think hard about what it would mean both short and long term to leave your full time job.

All that said though- I also say "go for it!" Maybe agree to one "session" (assuming you center defines sessions in something like 8-10 week blocks) and then reassess after that's done?
 

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I’m also a ‘go for it’. When you accept build in a probationary period (around 3 to 6 months, or whatever you think best) that way it makes easier for you to back away from it if you’re not happy.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself about doubting your abilities to do the work — it shows you’re thinking and analyzing matters and that’s a good way to to develop successful self improvement.

Good luck.
 

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imposter syndrome?


I'd give it a try. we often don't value our own skills as much as others do. We have to trust that they see something we do not.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Congrats on the offer!

I used to have a similar situation; I work full time in a field outside of therapeutic riding, but I taught anywhere from 1-3 Saturday morning lessons, and would occasionally be the instructor leading a Sunday birthday party during the nicer weather. I personally loved having my lessons to look forward to on Saturdays, as it was such a change from my "day job." I asked for all the early lessons so I could be done by noon and still have most of the day to do weekend things with my husband/friends. Our lessons died down in the winter, but I still had 2 consistent riders in the coldest months.

What I DID NOT like about my setup is that finding consistent, reliable volunteers for Saturday mornings was a nightmare. While it wasn't technically my responsibility, if volunteers didn't show up, I could be left with up to three riders with not nearly enough volunteers. Sometimes with NO volunteers, which was just plain unsafe. Depending on the riders and lack of volunteers, I might have to skip mounted activities and work on the ground, which really sucked for the families and kids (my riders were all kids). Volunteer recruitment and retention was a major problem with the program I worked with. I tried to do what I could to make sure my volunteers were appreciated and had a good time, so that they would want to come back, but it was a constant issue.

Where are you in your cert process? If you are an instructor-in-training, will you have a certified instructor with you for your lessons? I know some programs skirt the rules a little on that, but you should think about any personal risk you're liable for if there was an accident and you were the only (uncertified) instructor on the premises at that time.

And, would there be other volunteers at the barn not involved in lessons while you're teaching? If so, what is your responsibility/oversight for them if say, someone is out cleaning a pasture and gets mowed down by a horse?

On the financial piece, I personally would be very scared trying to make it on an instructor's salary. I technically did get paid, I think $12/lesson, but I only accepted the pay because I could not be covered by the center's liability insurance as a volunteer and they had to demonstrate I was treated as a staff person. Every year, I made a "donation" back to the program in the same amount as what they paid me, because to me the instructing was volunteer work. When I joined the Board of Directors, I sadly had to stop instructing because you can't get paid as a member of the Board (financial conflict of interest). If I had it to do over, I wouldn't have joined the Board and would have stayed with the instructing! While I could see a way to live on an Executive Director salary and teach a few lessons here and there, I personally could not make my family's finances work just instructing. But I won't get nosy about your personal financial planning or where you are in your career. Just a word of caution to think hard about what it would mean both short and long term to leave your full time job.

All that said though- I also say "go for it!" Maybe agree to one "session" (assuming you center defines sessions in something like 8-10 week blocks) and then reassess after that's done?
Thank you 😊 I am an instructor in training and all being well should have my certification in the next couple of months. We’re a large center and there are other certified instructors on site and we have a barn manager and staff that look after the horse care, so no oversight needed on my part 😃

I am very lucky, in that I don’t need to do this for the money. I will get my cake and eat it really, get horse time at the weekend but still keep my current lifestyle.

Thank you for the good wishes!
 

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It sounds like you may end up being over extended. You have to keep the job that buys you groceries and a place to live.

How important is riding and lessons? Where in this list is your volunteering?

While it is flattering to have such a quick offer, as you are sensing, it will tie you down and cause other aspects already working well to be shifted about.

I would pass for now. Keep in contact with her. Pass your PATH and volunteer at several places so you can get a feel of what kind of environment would best fit in with you. Don't let volunteer work to become a burden, always do the leisure activities that are important to you.
 

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Thank you 😊 I am an instructor in training and all being well should have my certification in the next couple of months. We’re a large center and there are other certified instructors on site and we have a barn manager and staff that look after the horse care, so no oversight needed on my part 😃

I am very lucky, in that I don’t need to do this for the money. I will get my cake and eat it really, get horse time at the weekend but still keep my current lifestyle.

Thank you for the good wishes!
This sounds like a great set up! I know you have a big support network there, but if you ever have questions about the certification process I’d be happy to answer them!
 

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I have not read any responses to change my thoughts...yet.
Will read after I post this...:smile:

So, opportunity knocks...
Open the door and say, "Howdy!"...
That means take what is being offered, YES!
Flexibility is going to be a big-one in your future needed.
I found mid-week lessons were more easily attainable as most people work 9-5 M-F...that works in your favor, now.


Your passion is horses...check.
You volunteer currently one-day a week and fill-in as a instructor as needed... check.
Your current job is stagnating..check.
A foot in the door job of your passion is presenting...check.
Take-it...

Now for a reality check...
You are already thinking full-time job opportunity and possibility here...check.

PATH instruction full-time is not for everyone...truth.
It takes a very special person to reach and fulfill the needs of challenged, disabled riders and not get burnt out from giving so much of themself all the time.
Burn-out is huge...check.
Turnover of instructors is huge seen from my personal experience...check.


Starting out small will open the door to more and more, eventually full-time employment...check.
Everyone needs a paycheck...check.
Can you survive on pay offered?.... :think:

Salary, will depend upon your location, experience level as most jobs have.
I've seen full-time employment amounts from $20's to mid $40's and if you are also program manager/director in the $50's...but that takes more degrees and management college level classes passed.
So...you pass your test and get certified...check.
Job offered...check.
Can you live on the salary?..maybe
You comment on eventually going full-time with this as passion of horses is yours and your current job is dead-ending.
The bigger question though is will your passion of horses continue when it goes from occasional to dedicated every weekend required.
I know when I managed/worked the barns as a job,... often I was not in the mood for antics, to ride after a trying day or to be "nice" to my horse so they sometimes were just patted on the nose and I went home to be fair to them. :|

Granted, a different kind of job but barn working has many similarities too...

I burned out after giving so much of me to everyone else, their animals needs...my own "needs" were done-in.
Just beware that this is a tough profession imo.
I think it much harder to be a instructor for the challenged/disabled than "normal" riders...you are always problem solving something and not just teaching riding but working with the entire individual {mental, physical and social}.
Very rewarding I'm told...
I've only volunteered, often & weekends mostly...taught occasionally if you call it that when you "pony-ride" with 2 hands-on side-walkers for their "lesson".
I love being with the animals, being part of the care team for the riders, but combined and a everyday job...not for me.
I give to much I'm told...then burn-out arrives and it hurts the passion.


For you, a door to opportunity is opening. :clap:
Open that door and experience what it can offer you and you back to the programs participants.
Much of how you will "feel" as a instructor depends upon the kind of students presented to you to instruct and work with.
From one extreme of a body just placed astride and held in place by others to riders who jump, run barrels and poles, do dressage, drive...so many accomplishments and levels abound.
Some more rewarding for you to instruct and challenging you to meet their special needs and then some so very challenging because of their limitations it is frustrating to you...
You will never know unless you try.
Kick your toe in the door opening and try...take that chance small-scale at first then decide if you want to expand this opportunity as it presents itself. :D

Good luck and enjoy the adventure.

:runninghorse2:....
jmo...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everyone for the advice, much appreciated!

I decided to accept the role, it doesn't change anything about my current schedule as I am there every Saturday anyway. A couple of people mentioned the salary, just to reiterate, I am not planning on this being a full time role, as I could not live on that (Vancouver, BC is VERY expensive!).

What this will give me is a learning opportunity, challenges and the chance to develop a skill set. That I am excited about, and it gives me what I am lacking in my full time role (which I should add, there is a lot I like and I have been doing it for a very long time!)
@egrogan I would love to get a perspective definitely! I promise you will be hearing from me :)

My practical is next week, and then I just have to do my own riding test (as I am in Canada it's all videoed and sent in). Here's hoping I finally nail being on the right diagonal :-D
 

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I will be totally honest. I got uncharacteristic stage fright during my ridden test- posted on the wrong diagonal and they very generously asked me to go back and do that piece again.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I will be totally honest. I got uncharacteristic stage fright during my ridden test- posted on the wrong diagonal and they very generously asked me to go back and do that piece again.
:clap:the plus to doing this from Canada is I send in a video. So I can do it as many times as I need!
 
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