A friend was excitedly talking about a recent jumping lesson and then suddenly stopped and got a sheepish look on her face and began to apologize for not taking the lesson from me. I was dumbfounded. I don’t teach jumping lessons, why would she apologize?
Yesterday a similar incident happened. I was helping a neighbor with her Wintec/Bates saddle … finding the correct gullet size for her horse. And she began talking about having one of her other horses checked by a saddle fitter who came to flock the saddle. Again, I was dumbfounded that she apologized for not hiring me. I don’t flock saddles, why would she apologize?
I’ve failed to help people really know what it is I do. Even people I know well don’t know what I do. They’re in the dark and I’m to blame.
I teach a series of nine stress free Centered Riding lessons that focus on the biomechanics of riding a horse, understanding the nature of the horse, and using mind hacks like visualization and imagery to connect with the horse’s movement. Most of my lessons are done at the walk and include both ground work and mounted work. My lessons are applicable to jumping and barrel racing and trail riding and dressage and whatever type of riding you choose to do but I don’t specifically teach jumping or barrel racing or dressage. Usually a person knows if the Centered Riding lesson series will benefit their riding discipline … they know because they feel there’s something more or something missing in what they’re trying or because they just aren’t feeling confident riding. Centered Riding is great for building a balanced seat and confidence.
I also teach people how to evaluate their own saddle fit. Something that is beneficial for all horse owners to know. Especially if you’re getting a new horse, going saddle shopping, or conditioning a horse that may be changing shape. While the learning process does include evaluating their current saddle on their current horse, learning to measure the horse and the saddle, I do not fit saddles as a business. I’m a teacher of horse owners on the basics of understanding saddle fit, I’m not a ‘saddle fitter.’ And I don’t flock english saddles. I hire a saddle fitter to come out and reflock my saddle yearly.
In other words, I fill a specialized niche. A niche that is new and different for horse owners. A niche that empowers horse owners to become better horse people, more knowledgable, more savvy. But it’s not for everyone. Not everyone craves horse knowledge for themselves, they are happy to rely on others who sell the saddles, or to hire a saddle fitter when a white spot develops, or to add another saddle pad, or they just don’t worry about saddle fit. And not everyone wants to delve into the self-awareness required in mind-body riding. That’s ok. But for those who are interested in these things, I’m sorry I’ve failed you in not being more clear with the message about what I do offer. And I promise to offer that clarity from now on!