Where do I begin?
I have been gone for five days, putting myself through the most stressful experience I had ever been in. I even told Eron these past five days were more stressful than planning our wedding, going to school, and preparing for the Division II Softball World Series, all at the same time (for the girl who never thought about wedding details before becoming engaged, that was a high stress endeavor).
Who knew life’s challenges don’t get easier… I actually believe they might get more difficult, which in turn, gives you the chance to strengthen your faith and rely less on your own abilities.
I had to do that a lot this weekend. Rely less on me, and more on the Lord and His purpose for me. There were lots of lessons learned that is for sure.
So, are you wondering what I am talking about yet? I told you in my last post that I was going to be leaving to certify as a CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) riding instructor, well I did it! I went down to Ponder, TX, where Riding Unlimited was hosting a certification clinic.
Riding Unlimited is a beautiful therapeutic riding facility with an awesome indoor covered arena. They were outstanding hosts and I have no complaints there. They provided us with food and just about every beverage we could have possibly wanted. The facility was great, the hosts were great, even the clinic directors were great!
The pressure was what wasn’t so great. I began to let my fears creep in almost making me sick at times. The clinic directors, Darla Walker-Ryder and Pat Leach, reassured us that they new how stressful the process could be and would try alleviate as much of it as possible. They were encouraging, yet unwavering in the CHA standards of safety and skill. This was nice because I knew my money was going toward a very structured and valid certification.
The first night we were evaluated on our riding ability. We had about 5 minutes with brand new horses and I just had to keep reminding myself to breath. There were 6 of us and we were all nervous. After the evaluations we were assigned lessons to teach the next morning. CHA certifies instructors based on their ability to give safe and effective lessons to not just one rider but groups of riders.
I went home that night and stayed up pretty late writing and re-writing my lesson plan. I also had to give a lesson on feed and feeding, but wasn’t too concerned with that one. The clinic went like that for the next couple days finishing with a surprise lesson on the final day.
By then I had relaxed a little. I kept telling myself, “God is with me, He is for me, and He wants great things for me, breath, relax”. Whatever level I leave with will be exactly where God wants me.
You see, the certification progresses from a level 1 to a level 4 master instructor in both English and Western and my competitive self, absolutely wanted an upper level certification. Eventually I learned how to ditch the fears and relieve the pressure by handing the reins over (pun intended). I was doing my best with the experience I had and the rest was out of my control.
Stressful, rewarding ,and affirming. I left certified as a level 3 English and Western instructor. I am certified to teach upper level lessons and received affirmation that I am in the right industry.
I have been riding since I was five, but for a segment of my life horses were out of the equation. I cannot begin to describe how much I experience God’s love just by being involved with horses again. I never would have imagined I would get this second chance!
This adventure back into the horse industry has been the best illustration in my life of Christ’s love. He died for us to have second chances, and to know just how much He loves us.
Another affirming moment that I was in the right place, was that all the instructors there were Christians. It was a supernatural experience and I have no doubt we were all certifying together for a divine reason.