A Thankful Thanksgiving

I have many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Today I’ve been thinking about all the blessings that have come into my life this year.

As a recipient of the Deanne McRae Memorial Scholarship. This allowed me to pursue a long-held dream of becoming a certified biomechanics coach. Five years ago when I first started my journey with horses I saw Colleen Kelly speak at the Midwest Horse Fair. Her teaching made riding principles seem accessible. So many other presenters made riding into an astrophysics equation that no one could ever hope to solve.

Following Colleen’s articles and presentations for the next three years, I discovered the International Society Of Rider Biomechanics. Realizing that basic seat, position, and safety were things that any students of riding could use I applied for the teaching scholarship.

As a direct result of my experience studying for the exams and attending the 2016 ISRB Symposium, I’ve gained confidence as a rider and teacher. Spending time with other instructors from around the world showed me just how much I have to offer to the equestrian community. It showed me that my strong belief in safe fundamentals had a voice and it gave me the courage to speak up about it.

I never imagined taking on a leadership position in my local equestrian community either.  Yet as an IDCTA board member I feel that I’ve gained a new perspective on riding. I’m thankful for this opportunity to help shape and develop a schooling show series for young horses and riders. Having financially accessible shows that are friendly to beginners is one of the biggest ways we can continue to grow horse sports.

The cost of rated shows, competitive environment, and level of experience needed to compete are intimidating for riders. Our local schooling show series gives people a low pressure, more affordable option for showing and I am incredibly proud of that. I know without it I would never have developed my riding skills so quickly. Now I find myself in the position of being able to go to the USDF Annual Convention next week as a representative alongside our GMO’s president.  Who would have thought!

Another thing that I am thankful for is stumbling into substitute teaching. I’ve always said that I never wanted to be a teacher because the job was too hard. There was too much responsibility in guiding students. Yet somehow, I found myself teaching more and more. Then, I was hired as a substitute teacher. With an hour and a half training session, I trotted off to my first job, three hours in elementary school.

After that first day, I wasn’t sure I’d ever go back. Convincing myself that this was an opportunity to learn and practice leadership I signed up for another tour of duty. It might have been in middle school but I can’t remember. Needless to say with each job I took I found new skills and thought about teaching in completely different ways. It taught me to take myself seriously if I wanted thirty students to do the same. Subbing gave me the ability to work fast, under pressure, and on a wing and a prayer. It taught me that taking a risk often leads to great rewards.

I was excited to keep subbing this fall. With jobs booked every school day in September, I thought I was off to a great start of the year. The last position I had signed up for was in the Franklin Special Education Department. It was a weeklong assignment. I discovered it was an open position and by the end of the first day I had an application in. The next week, I was hired.

It seemed serendipitous to me. I had been thinking more and more that I need a permanent position. As much as I enjoyed subbing the job variability added a certain amount of mystery into my life. Never knowing if or where you’re going to work can lead to a certain amount of stress. Yet, at the same time, I didn’t feel that I was truly qualified for a job outside of teaching since that’s all that I had done for the last few years.

As if it was a sign from the universe, this was also the middle school that my brother had attended. I think it’s even the same room. It just felt right.