Welcome to the dressage spot, a place for the young (or young at heart) dressage riders wanting to gain information on the sport of dressage, training tips, equine health care, maintenance and fun!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Working on Professionalism

Well a lot of productivity this week. Piles of changes and learning going on! I first have to say thank you to all of the people who continue to support me in all my endeavors, not just riding. I think that everyone from the farrier to the sponsor becomes part of the development of who you become as an individual. I told you in my last blog that you have to find out who you are; that you have to ‘brand’ yourself and let those around you know what you stand for. Well you in part become who you are because of their input and advice in your life.

For example, I had several really important discussions with Jeremy this week. He really is helping me make the transition from a youth rider to an active participant in the future of the industry. There are many possible careers in the equine industry (of course mine veers toward riding) but professional is professional and it requires some changes to be accepted in the adult world. Anyway, so we talked about the move into a new market. We discussed how Southern California and Washington and Texas have subtle nuances. Here people could be ‘just in the area’ and stop in without notice; regularly. This could be a sponsor, an owner, another trainer or a potential client. So never ever come to the barn without your person already spotless; stud earrings only, hair up, and professional clothing choices. Absolutely no short shorts! I swear if he could, Jeremy would make it illegal to wear anything shorter than knee length! Hint to anyone attending his clinics: He is a perfectionist about you and your horse’s appearances. If you want to impress him be immaculate! Your horse should be able to be pulled out of his stall without notice and look spotless! If you want to be treated as a professional, you have to look like one. I guess this is true of most careers in life.

Jeremy did start me on this in Washington; it has just upped in amperage in CA. For example, when I first moved to Washington I was so impressed by Shauntel. Every day when I went to the barn she was so perfect; she never had a hair out of place. All of her polo wraps, pads and apparel matched every day! I started trying to emulate her at first just because it was impressively cool. Then I began to realize the benefit. If you look cool, collected, put together and professional people treat you that way when speaking and interacting with you. It also makes you feel more empowered and gives you more courage to speak up and stand your ground.  professionalism

On a side note, I remember in the early years in riding many adults asked my parents, "but can she make a living in dressage?" After having spent years in the equine industry now the answer is unequivocally yes! I have met massage therapists who are making 80-100K a year! That is more than the average college graduate. Heck that is as much as most college professors! Shoeing, vetting, saddle fitting, braiding, clipping, dental work, training, and so many more industries thrive on the equine market. These careers can be very comfortable. Not only do they pay well but you are outside, working with horses and horse people! You get to be physically active and not stuck inside behind a desk. What could be better than that?

Anyway, in closing take all ‘suggestions’ as that. The adults in this industry want to help and share their knowledge. It is not criticism. That is a lesson I have to learn. As riders we tend to be type A controlling, over achiever types and we have a hard time not being ‘perfect.’ I am working to be better, to learn and grow from you and the people around me every day!

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