I stayed at the riding school for just over a year. It was intense, hard work. I got hurt, physically and emotionally. But I learnt so much. I turned out to be a proficient horse rider and ended up teaching my own riding lessons for people of all ages and abilities. On Saturdays, a coach load of children would turn up for the day. They were split into three groups: novice, intermediate and advanced. I took the novice group. They were called novice but nearly all of them were pretty capable riders, able to trot and do a bit of cantering unaided. I would take them for an hour riding lesson or a hack out around the countryside, and then for an hour class-based tuition.. They would then help out around the yard, filling up water buckets, raking the muck heap, cleaning tack etc. Once we had an Open Day and the kids had to do a dressage to music for the public. I kept the routine pretty simple and picked Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene for them to do it to. It went really well and brought a tear to my eye. I have never been so proud.
However, there’s only so much you can learn. After a year I was still working hard, harder than ever really, but I was still on the same pay, which was virtually nothing. Like I said before, we were a close knit little community which made things more enjoyable. But as time went on people/friends left to go on to better positions and suddenly things weren’t the same. I decided it was time for me to leave. The owners did try to persuade me to stay - I suppose hard-working staff willing to work for next to nothing are hard to find. But I’d had enough. It was time to pack my bags. Looking back it was the best time, and a part of me wants to do that sort of work again.
I went home, to my parents’ house. Things were different though: I was different. This was no longer my world. I should be thankful that I did have somewhere to go, though. We should always have somewhere to go. I was a bit lost for while. The intensity of working six long days a week to doing absolutely nothing was a shock to the system. I suppose I needed to get acclimatized. You know, adapt, atune, adjust.
To cut a long story short: