I've been working every day this week which has been a little tiring for my brain. Miss T. had a bit of an accident (I'll let her tell you about it) so she is taking the summer off. They hired someone to replace her and we have a two week break starting next week, but I said I'd fill in for her classes this last week of Spring Session. Wow. I never realized just how much mental energy I use up teaching little kids. Not only do I have to be "on" but I also have to think on my feet for both helping them and making sure they are completely safe. It's a little easier to teach the teens because I don't have to be entertaining. I just need to think on my feet for helping them and keeping them safe.
Part of what I have to think on my feet about is how to help with body memory. That has become a huge subject in my life over the last year of teaching is how to get the concept past a child's brain and into their body. Little kids, especially (under about 14 years old) don't have as much control over remembering to change a body memory behavior, so I have to use exercises and games to make the exercises fun to help their bodies learn what they should be doing for being safe and effective. Some of the kids are sponges and will do anything I ask them if it means they can ride more effectively, but a few (who completely exhaust my poor introverted mind) just need to be entertained constantly. So, it's difficult to teach them without making it "fun enough to be worth their while". Wow. I am so not a gradeschool teacher or children's entertainer. I can do it really well (entertaining and trying to keep a borderline (or something full on) ADD kid entertained) but after a half hour all I can think is "I need to be alone and drink a cup of coffee and not see or talk to anyone for at least an hour" because all my internal energy is depleted.
I am awfully sad not to teach my teens anymore because they are trying really hard and I've seen them make huge improvements and that is really awesome and I'm so proud of them. And a couple of my little kids who are very serious about learning are hard to say good-bye to. One little girl who I've taught all year (she's in kindergarten) apparently cried before class yesterday because it was our last class. I'm pretty attached to her and her mom now too so I gave them my email and asked them to please update me how her riding is going and to send photos and when they buy her first pony in four years I would still go with them like I told them at the beginning of her lessons. Another mom of one of the teen volunteers told me her daughter was very disappointed I was leaving because she had specifically asked to have me as a private instructor in summer, and I was disappointed too because I would have really liked to work with her. She's sweet and smart and has the potential to be a very good rider. I could've had fun working with her. Ok, it's quite obvious to me that my teaching days are not over, just on hold for the time being.
My foray into equine massage, small as it is, is very fun too, though. I was very excited yesterday to hear that my short massage I did on Trainer KL's foster horse had good results. I'm also happy that Geir is starting to move a little differently since we've been working with him and I've been massaging him. Not that I want this AT ALL, but yesterday he got irritated because I was asking him to do something hard for him and he bucked a little and I was thrilled. Not because he bucked which is he is NOT allowed to do, but because I could feel that his back was looser and stronger when he did that and he would not have been physically able to do that nine months ago. It was not a bad buck by any means (my daughter could've ridden it out which is what's important) but the fact that he had the back strength to do it made me very happy. I'm starting to get a little more confidence in my beginner riding and I'm learning a ton from Trainer KL on how to ride and support a horse in beginning level training. I feel like I'm fully back into that "learning groove" I was in with Trainer K. and I was worried I wouldn't find that again. So life is good!
Here's something random for you. Yes, it's true - I love Tony Bennett.