It´s been a LOOOOONNNGGG weekend, and I am drowsy at 8:00! You see, in addition to teaching third graders, I also work part-time one night a week teaching horseback riding lessons. Yes, I was that weird horse girl when I was in school – and I´m STILL the weird horse girl, a few decades later! Horses have been my passion since I was 8 years old. I´ve had horses of my own, but don´t have one now. Teaching riding is a way to stay ¨into¨ horses, even without one of my own.
One of my advanced students, a 13 year old girl, recently began leasing a horse, and is eager to compete in horse shows. This weekend we traveled to Woodstock, Illinois to compete in her second ¨away from home¨ show. Last month´s show was a success for her, and we were hopeful she would again come home with some ribbons. For this month´s show however, we felt she was ready to challenge herself a bit more and enter some jumping classes.
My weekend ¨ḧorsing around¨ actually began on Saturday morning when I took my own riding lesson with my trainer. Then in the afternoon, I made my way up to the show facility to meet up with our team. We weren´t showing on Saturday, but brought the horses up the day before so they could settle in and be well-rested for Sunday´s competition. We practiced a bit on Saturday afternoon, then went to dinner, and finally to the hotel for some rest.
Sunday morning. I´m not sure who was more nervous about these jumping classes, me, my student, or her mom! When my student did finally compete, she handled herself beautifully! Her horse decided he wanted to go faster than we would like, but she handled it like a pro! Out of the six classes she competed in, she ranked in the top 6 in three of them! Our goal in attending these shows was not to win, but simply to gain experience. Imagine our surprise when it was announced that she won the top prize, Grand Champion, in one of her divisions! The look on her face was priceless, as was the big hug she gave me!
Then, time for me to head home. Dinner, laundry, grading essays… trimester grades are due Tuesday morning… and finally SOL! Am I tired? YES! Was it worth it seeing my student´s hard work, patience, and persistence pay off? Absolutely!