I guess what my whole blathering post last time was really about was this:
Sometimes a coach may not be, for the long haul, Mr. or Ms. Right. You may find yourself riding with a stepping stone of sorts. Like I did. We will call her Coach Ritenau.
Curmudgeon, how stupid was that. You have told us yourself to go out and find the best, watch the best, learn from the best...
Yah, yah, I know. And I totally agree with the wise, yet somewhat catty words (not that there is anything wrong with that) of Anonymous 4 June 2012 21:51 (gotta love these creative usernames). If you want to see how things should be done, go to Tom, Belinda or Ashley. Or whoever your local Mr. Right is. Tada! Problem solved.
If you are a beginner with a 3yr old $6000 saddlebred cross, doing so will most likely earn you a giant board cheque and a standing date with a working student. Mr. Right will stride or ride by, notice your existence periodically and politely inquire as to what's up when he does. Kind of like the dentist during a checkup... you know he earns 3x what the hygenist does, but she is the one scraping the shit off of your teeth and dealing with 45 minutes of halitosis - he just pops his head in at the end, stares in your mouth authoritatively then prances off to the next cubicle.
Not that I am blaming him - not at all. Because Mr. Right got to be Mr. Right by making logical choices and being a good business person. Riding a young crazy horse - one that could hurt you and put you OUT of business - really and seriously not a good business decision.
Spending lots of time with a beginner client who is obviously never going to have the bucks to become a sponsor - or buy a six-figure horse full of commission - not a good business decision either. No, I am not going to the Young Rider World Cup or anything else prestigious or even mildly interesting. Sure, I am money coming in, but not much, and I am in no way a beacon of positive advertising. And so, the time and effort that should be put into retaining me as a client should realistically adjusted accordingly.
This is no different than the thought process that any good business or business person goes through - "how do I allocate my resources to maximize returns".
Now, if I were starting again today - I would probably do this anyways. Yep, even though I know full well that the likes of me would probably be put on the back burner. Why? Well - because I can. Back in the day - money was tighter, and I really didn't have the option. That was one reason I didn't even try this approach.
(Ok, I am ready to hear 15 stories from people who did take their economical horses, thin wallets and poor riding skills to top stables, and were treated like first class royalty by Olympic riders...proving that I am a bitchy curmudgeon. GO!)
But really, the main reason that I didn't even try was that after my experience at Frau Trainerin's I was petrified of being told my horse was not good enough. That I needed to sell and buy something big ticket. That the perfect horse for me was right here, right now.. for sale.
I really felt a the time that I had done the very best I could with what I had, and I wasn't about to put myself in a situation where I would be told this wasn't good enough. Even though my situation was not perfect, I really believed (and I think, correctly so) that we were totally well suited and prepared to ..uhh.. errr... well, maybe not take the dressage world by storm... but at least to start having some fun. Tonight. And from what I saw, this could totally happen with Coach Ritenau
Checkpoint 3: The Coach (let's try this again)
I liked Coach Ritenau immediately. Let me see if I can put my finger on why. Oh yah, I remember now.
She was quiet and polite and did not seem to be entirely full of shit.
Yep, I decided she would do just fine.