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January 23, 2012

A Dose Of Winter Perspective

Photo by Susan J. Stickle.

Greetings from a Jet Blue Airbus 320, from Dulles to Fort Lauderdale. I am returning to the Sunshine State from my first weekend home to teach, and I am seated next to a child with no volume control. I am blogging so I don't throttle the little beast.

It's the end of a fairly nutty weekend. I'm always happy to go home, and I LOVE seeing my students, but after weeks of really quite mild weather in Virginia, the Meteorological Powers-That-Be decided to dump bitter cold and the infamous "wintery mix" on NoVA, canceling a huge chunk of my lessons. And the plague I picked up last week has left me rather drippy and nasty.

But antihistamines kept me functional, and the handful of brave riders with four wheel drive rode terrific. I've got so many students who want to show next year, and they're all really looking good. How exciting!

Last year I held our first horse show planning party, and it was such a rousing success that I've decided to make it an annual tradition. We talk about what horse shows we want to go to and also go through what memberships my riders need to compete at the level they want to: Participating or GMO memberships? Horse IDs or Lifetime Recordings? That sort of thing.

This year, I added a new bit of paperwork—I asked all my riders to write down their goals for the competition season and their plan for achieving those goals. Lastly, I asked them to write down how I could help them achieve those goals. I think I'm a good teacher, but no one is perfect, and I really want the feedback from my students to become even better at helping them.

I had a look around the table as I spoke to the room, almost 20 people who braved the cold and the yuck, and I know it would have been more in good weather—more than 30 RSVPed. I'm so fortunate to have in my life all these wonderful people who want to make their riding better, and who've asked me to help. I had so many students interested in riding this weekend that I had to have a wait list (and with the riders who cancelled because of the weather wanting in on my next visit home, I'm in for a wild weekend when I'm home in February!).

Yeah, I'm really pretty lucky. Probably shouldn't jeopardize it by murdering this child next to me.