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Shameless Brag - GRS has the best working students ever!

So I just wanted to say I have the best working students ever. I was talking to a friend the other day about how far they've come and figured I'd take a second for a public mini-brag :)

Kennedy and Jack
We'll start with Kennedy, because she's been a working student the longest. When Kennedy started working for me, every weekend I expected she'd tell me she'd had enough. She always got the job done, and without any complaint, but it usually took 2-3 times as long as I'd expect and I would've understood if she'd decided it wasn't worth it. She was a low- intermediate level rider. She could w/t/c and jump beginner courses. She usually rode Apollo, and - even back then - did a fabulous job with him. She gave that horse a *ton* of confidence and got him jumping and doing XC. So that was all good and I was having a lot of fun teaching her.

When we moved, I half expected her to take the extra distance as a good reason to stop -- but instead she seemed even more eager. Sweet. And the difference I've seen in her since the move. Wow. She's found her groove as far as chores go -- she's now as fast as anybody and does a fabulous job while she's at it. And just as important - her riding. Let's just say she's long-since outgrown Apollo's abilities. She now rides with my competitive group. Her flat-work is becoming really solid -- she can get most horses (even Nick!) on the bit with a little help from the ground. And is starting to jump more interesting technical questions and stadium courses at Entry height. I also trust her to introduce green horses to new challenges -- she jumped Apollo over all sorts of firsts and took Louis up the bank for his first time ever. That's a HUGE change in about a year and a half or so. I'm really proud of how far she's come. Next steps are consistancy on the flat, refining eq over bigger fences and riding more complex combinations.

Rebecca and Jack
Next we have Rebecca -- aka Superwoman (she even has a cape!). Rebecca came to me having worked at several farms but with very little riding experience. And the farms were ones where things were done... Shall we say in a different manner than how we do things :) She quickly proved to be very eager to learn -- asked intelligent questions and I don't think I ever had to tell her something more than once. She's fast and hard working and, most importantly, has the two critical skills for barn work: observation and problem solving. Sweet. So I lucked out there. But the riding... Oh dear. It turns out that most of the previous w/s jobs she'd had weren't so big on the actual lessons part of things. She was a very novice rider. Could walk and trot reasonably well, but canter as often as not ended with her on the ground and jumping was... Well she really shouldn't've been jumping at that point. She rode Nick and Louis and we worked on real basics.

So now in the barn -- the minute I can afford to actually hire staff, the job's hers; if only I can convince her she likes the barn as much as the pianos :) I trust her completely -- both to do what she's been asked to do, but more importantly to make correct decisions when something unusual happens (and let's be honest, in a barn environment unusual things happen All. The. Time.). But she was pretty awesome when she came to me, so that's not a *huge* change. The HUGE change has been in her riding. Instead of beginner horses, she now rides Jack. Instead of cross-rails with really scary eq, she now jumps entry level courses with confidence. HUGELY impressive improvement. Next steps are getting the horse on the bit on the flat, consistancy over big fences and introducing technical elements over the smaller ones. Going to be So. Much. Fun.

Brena and Bella
Brena is my newest working student - and she wins for sheer eagerness. She took on afternoon and evening shifts at the same time just to get in some extra riding. She gets everything done in a reasonable time and is super about looking for other things that need to be done if she's finished early. I love teaching Brena because she'll take any opportunity to ride and to learn. She started with me having w/t/c and cross-rail type jumps, but quite nervous and reasonably ineffective. It's amazing how often those two traits go together *g* -- I'd be nervous if I were ineffective too! Gradually, working through Bella's *many* tests, she's become very effective. Her position is more solid, she's starting to learn to use independant aids, and even when she thinks I'm insane -- she manages to control her nerves and make magic happen with her pony. I expect we'll see Brena eventing next year, and hopefully teaching beginners the year after that! Fingers crossed :)

Kirby and Charlie
Kirby's background was close to Rebecca's -- lots of experience at ummmm interesting facilities :) She has enough barn experience and knowledge that I trust her completely on her own -- I know she'll catch any issue, no matter how small, and be capable of dealing with it. Only those who've ever run a barn can really understand what a difference it makes to have somebody you can trust to back you up. She's completely reliable -- has been known to come to work even when she's feeling too ill to ride. Kirby had reasonable basics when she started riding with me, but no confidence and her jumping was at times precarious. Now she's at the point where she can take a nervous, hot horse and get him over a *terrifing* fence. She's gotten to the point where she can control her own nerves and use her skills to help her horse to great results. Woohoo! Kirby's winter challenges include learning to keep Charlie consistantly on the bit and jumping canter courses confidently. No problem.

Chelsea and Lissy in competition
Chelsea isn't officially a w/s -- yet! But she gets honourary mention for helping out with Kennedy and Kirby and coming in during her summer break. She's super eager and tries really hard. Her dedication to her riding is incredible -- one of my few students who actually *works* in her practice rides *g* Chelsea came to me with w/t/c and iffy cross-rail basics. She's now confidently showing at PE and schooling E and sometimes even PT fences. I could easily see her making young riders in a couple years if she sticks to it. I'm very much looking forward to her being old enough to be an actual working student, because she has the attitude and determination to be an awesome one!


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