For years I've heard the saying, " You can't beat experience," and "Knowledge is power"... which from my point of view, are both very true.
As kids, we dream of what we want to be when we grow up. As the years go on, it becomes clear if that dream will become a reality or something that will have to change slightly to choose a career a little more suited to your lifestyle.
Many of us spend a lot of money on education...Secondary school, college, degrees and masters. Some have gone straight to work after school while others don't finish school at all and have become very successful in life.
Some find a niche early in a career and others not until they are in their 40's or even 50's.
For me after I left school at 18, I joined a couple of friends and became a waitress in the local restaurant . It was only for the summer until I decided what part of the equine industry I wanted to work in.
I then went on to college to learn how to become a riding instructor with BHS exams in tow. After that I got a job teaching in a riding school for a good few years. I worked in a tack shop, livery yard, and managed a couple of private yards.
Curiosity got the better of me and wanting to see what was outside Ireland, I went travelling with some friends I had met working in the riding school. I got the opportunity to work in different yards in America, Australia, and the UK. I got to see how they done things with horses in so many different places and I learned new tips and tricks with horses and yard duties.
When I settled back home, every now and again I'd get a young horse to break, train and sell on. I found a love for this when I was 17 and always dipped in and out of it. Learning many lessons from different horses and ponies along the way.
I had taken different tips and tricks from all the places I worked and people I had met, and applied it to my knowledge working with horses. I loved listening to the stories and experiences of the older generation horse owners, I found these very interesting.
The day you stop learning is the day you die.
I've heard you are either "book smart" or "street wise". Maybe you can be both. I know one thing , I am definitely not book smart! I learn from what I see and do in practice. It's easier for me that way rather than reading it from a book. I could read it 20 times in a book and not get it, but see it done once in front of me and I've got it.
So you or I have spent all these years learning a trait for a career in horses, hours sweating, staying up late, missing birthdays, weddings, trips away with family / friends etc, because we all know how time consuming jobs with horses are. There are no bank Holidays, weekends off or sick days. No double pay, no staying dry or keeping warm.
After all these years of experience and hard work, please tell me you are charging enough to people when they call you to ride that pony that's been acting up? Or to teach that pony camp lesson for the week? Or groom for someone "important"?
They aren't just paying for you to come teach them to have a canter around the arena, they are paying for the years of hard grind.
From just one lesson of teaching someone, I can tell if the pony's feet are good, the tack fits, the diet is right, the rider suits the pony, what workload the pony should get, how old it is and how to get it and the client safely around a course of fences and more. They aren't just paying for a canter around the arena to be told their leg is swinging . Do you see now?...
My husband recently told me a story about an older farrier who went to a client to "fix" a horses hoof... he did, and did a great job at that! When asked how much was owed by the client, they were appalled! Asking how could he charge so much for one foot that only took 20 minutes to fix?!
The farrier's reply..."you are not just paying for 20 minutes of my best work and time, you are paying for 30 years of experience, knowledge and hard work".
Now, tell me, do you know your worth?
Experience and knowledge is everything, and without it being passed on or made into careers people would just be lost.
So next time you are asked to do a job that you have years of experience in, don't sell yourself short by thinking "it's only one lesson -I don't want to over charge them" or "it's only a little pony I have to clip, I'll take it easy on them."
Stop selling yourself short!
Remember you have more experience than you can think of and that is why they called you. Because you don't just go in and do what is asked, you see a problem, come up with a solution and help make it better or even fix it. You do your damndist to make sure the job is done right and to the best of your abilities.
Don't sell yourself short. You are worth it. ❤️