Remember that “weird horse girl” at school? That was me. That is me. I have been riding horses since I was 7 years old. I am now *ahem* in my 50’s, and have been involved with horses most of my life. I have taken lessons, owned horses, shown horses, trained horses, obviously ridden a lot of horses, and taught horseback riding lessons. Tonight however, was my last night teaching horseback riding lessons. I have been teaching lessons for over 15 years. It’s still hard for me to believe that! I did take a couple of years off when my son was born, but went back to it when a position opened up at the same farm I had left.
Why did I quit? It didn’t make me happy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my horse time, but teaching had become a chore. For about 3 or 4 months now, I would dread Wednesdays. The closer the clock ticked to 3:30, the crabbier I would get. For a very long time, teaching riding filled a void. I no longer had a horse, and I was not riding consistently. I would ride Mom’s horse every now and again, or occasionally take a jumping lesson with my former trainer. Afterward, I would always say, “I’ll be back soon.” Soon did not come very quickly.
Life got in the way. Marriage, a young son, career. The void was there, though. I missed horses. So teaching filled the void for 15 years. About 3 years ago, I started riding again on a weekly basis. It took some time, but I got back into “riding shape”. It felt great! It still feels great! I am riding twice a week during the school year now, and 3-4 times a week in the summer. I no longer have a void.
So it was time. I cried when I gave my two week’s notice. The barn manager, who has been at the farm as long as me, frowned, hugged me and said, “Don’t cry. You have to do what is right for you. We’ll miss you.” She is absolutely right. I don’t regret my decision. I wished my students well tonight, and told them I would come watch them compete. I drove home this evening a little melancholy, but not sad. I am grateful for the void so many students were able to fill.