Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teacher of Many Species

I haven't decided if child care is a passion of mine yet, but children in general are indeed something I am passionate about. Something I clearly know is my greatest passion is riding.

Every horse person has some pretty clear preferences. Maybe we really love quarter horses, but we wouldn't pass up the opportunity to work with an Arabian too. Perhaps we absolutely love dressage, or maybe reining is our biggest riding pleasure. Personally, I love babies (by babies I mean 3-4year olds). Even more then babies, I love rescues. I've worked with a good amount of rescues.

Working with rescues is like finding buried treasure. You never know the real history of that horse. Were they trained for pleasure? Were they a show horse? Did they trail ride? Were they beaten? Do they respond to leg cues? Are they saddle broke? Do they respond to the bit?

The first time I rode Tahiti I was in the round pen, with a helper to lead her around. She was saddle broke, fantastic- that's my least favorite part of training young horses. Tahiti was dead broke. She neck reined, she responded to leg cues very well, and she is quite forward. I think she will make a great lesson horse in the near future.

I enjoy working with young horses because I am a teacher by nature. Under all of the hats that I wear, I am a teacher and a leader. This is the biggest similarity between teaching preschool, and teaching horses.

Another is routine. Horses like routine, some more then others. I worked with one mare, and Appaloosa named Star, that NEEDED routine. With a schedule she was amazing and consistent. Kids are the same way. They like to know what is happening next, and when it is happening. Something as simple as staying outside too long can throw off the entire day for kids. Hopefully your horses aren't so adamant about that one though.

Working through temper tantrums. I work with infants through 4 year olds. This means lots of terrible twos, lots of meltdowns. Working through these meltdown with kids is addressed through redirection, or talking to the child to find out exactly what is wrong. With horses we call these 'temper tantrums' shutting down. Horses are just a little more predictable then kids, when you feel your horse starting to shut down you have got to catch it before they do. After noticing the oncoming meltdown what do you do? You redirect your horse's energy. If you are working on side passing, you ask for one more step, then you let them cool off at the walk for a lap or so. Same exact technique, different species.

I am sure that there are a million other similarities, but those are the most notable to me. I find it interesting how similar these jobs really are. Training horses, and teaching children. Oh and of course the children get clucked at plenty out of habit. As does the dog, my mom, my boyfriend, the car; pretty much everything that moves gets clucked at.

Is your job similar to your horse hobby? What's your favorite discipline, breed, or color?


  1. My job is not at all similar to my horse hobby. I use my horse as a get-a-way from the stresses of the job.
    I used to work with a boy who had autism and I find that to be similar to working with horses. You have to be clear, consistent, and patient.

    I would have to say my favorite breed is Haflinger and they only come in one color. As for discipline, I am still deciding. Basically I want a trail horse, but I am willing to explore other options.

    1. It is amazing to explore the world via horseback. Horses will literally take you places that no vehicle ever could. I'm certain that soon enough you and Shy will be exploring together!

  2. I have found that terrible 3s are worse then 2s. And I kinda think it is the same with horses. Since I am a nanny right now I am kinda in the same boat as you but I probably won't be the same when I get my nursing license. I don't have a favorite bred but I don't have breds that I don't like as much as others bc of experience or they don't do well in my disciplines.

  3. lol tell me about it being tha same accross the species i have a 3 year old in the midst of trying to find himself which results in him yelling at me and major temper tantrums, i have a 1 year old dog who has to be attached to me at all times just in case i mysteriously dissapear who does what ever he wants even when told to do something, and a 5 year old horse who gets bored of what i ask him to do and will throw tantrums and try to get out of having to do what I want him to do so he can do what he wants. And at the end of it all they ALL give me the same look and the same type of cuddles at the end of the day.

    Oh how life would be so empty without them all. Oh and my boyfriend does that too he clucks at EVERYTHING it makes me crazy, he hasnt clucked at me yet, and hes very lucky for that :p lol

  4. My job is nothing like my horse hobby, but truthfully I think I spend more time working with the horses then actually working lol.

    I also cluck at people out of habit. I do it when I watch a video of myself riding and I want to see myself trot (haha), I do it when kids are not moving fast enough and I do it when I'm walking my dogs!