Today’s lesson with one of my students will be a little different, it is not only a “last lesson” for one of my riding students, but it also presents a significance in the back of my mind.
It is Sarah’s last lesson with us at ThorSport Farm, as her family is moving …but that won’t stop us from enjoying the time together and reminiscing over the memories made and discussing hopes of the future ahead! (Future visits..?) 😁
For Sarah- this lesson signifies the path that she has blazed by following her heart and dreams, not only taking lessons and learning the traits it takes to make a great equestrian, but also transforming into a beautiful young lady. Gaining confidence not only with the horse but with school and social events, making memories, not only practicing at the barn, but winning many championships including an International win. And most importantly, finding what she is made of by displaying dedication to the sport she loves so much for many years.
For me- this lesson signifies not only the personal relationship I’ve gained with Sarah, her family, and her friends, but also recognition of a chapter that I first started when I gained Sarah as a lesson student.
When moving from Ohio to Tennessee over 6 years ago, I was not only coming out of a youth career but so were my horses. Looking for a new chapter in all of our lives, I started giving lessons with my horses that have taught me so much.. so why not share these life lessons with others! Besides reaching out to contacts and spreading the word, I also wanted to think outside the box and find new students that maybe haven’t had the chance to be around horses ever or thinking of trying the equestrian world for the first time. In February of 2014, I donated an auction item at the Rutherford County Heart Ball in conjunction with the American Heart Association with the goal in mind of a parent wanting to take advantage of the lessons, riding gear, and equestrian themed goodie basket for a young child at home. Well it worked! And that’s where it all began… Sarah became one of my first students! From beginning lessons, to trail rides with her dad, intense practice sessions in the summer heat preparing for a show, or discussing with her mom about the goals for the season, it was an experience I will never forget! This family and their daughter Sarah have been the epitome of my goals when I first started… to not only share the powerful relationship with an equine partner but also open up and expand the equestrian world to the community and beyond!
I’ve always have been so grateful for the childhood I had and the experiences I had the opportunity to be apart of, but with those blessings I also have been blessed with the responsibility to share that same message, character traits, and goals with those younger than I. Starting by just word of mouth and still to this day, I have gone from one student to 20 students on a weekly basis, have coached riders to 3 International championships, 2 World championships, and numerous blue ribbons, countless demonstrations and exhibitions, and also served as Youth Vice President for the Tennessee Walking horse breed registry for many years.
Out of all of the roles I play, teaching and instructing has by far moved me in a way that has forever changed my life. There is something so special about a child- the innocence, the eagerness, the purity, and the will to do whatever it takes to accomplish their dreams. I have been able to experience this first hand and the message that is so clear to me is even though we all age and “grow older,” we can still always keep those youth traits within us!
To Sarah and her family, I graciously appreciate the chance you took on me when first starting out, for trusting me for guiding your daughter, and for becoming lifelong friends even though there will be distance! Cannot wait for future visits!