Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sometimes, life just interrupts itself. After a very hectic spring preparing for then taping the Online portion of my L2 Assessment, life interrupted my horsemanship efforts. Oh, it wasn't anything major; just... stuff.

I mean, there was the sudden death of my old riding buddy. But then June flew by without so much as a visit to the barn. We had a spate of freakishly hot weather, followed by a new spate of unseasonably cool weather. It's July, but it feels like October.

I've been wrestling with my goals again. The eternal struggle for me has been horses versus music: which is the right career path for me?

Much of it has to do with age. I realize that mid-40s is young nowadays, but it still feels like the window for rock superstardom (only half kidding there) is about to close, at least for those trying to resume dormant careers like I would be. Though I'm a good age for Parelli Instructorship—just about right, matter of fact.

But the news release regarding the program changes was long to arrive.

So, I applied to graduate school. Out of state. To a music-related program that is only offered in that one state. I have no idea if I'll be accepted, or if I'll have the funds to attend if I am. But it seemed like the perfect compromise between prudence and passion, so I went for it.

Then, the revisions to the Professionals Program emerged—and for the first time ever, it looks POSSIBLE for me. It used to be that to achieve 3-Star (full instructor status, able to hold 12-person clinics) was a long, expensive process: after passing L3, the student would do 14 weeks of study (four week boot camp plus 10 weeks of training), become 1-Star; teach 1-2 students at a time for a year (no pay); then do another 10 weeks, become 2-Star, teach up to 6 at a time for a year (with pay); then do another 10 weeks to become 3-Star. The cost was prohibitive, and it was a three-year plan, with the first being without pay.

I've heard legends of instructors who sold their homes and all of their possessions to be able to afford it.

That terrified me.

Now, there are two options: one week of study to become a 1-Star, followed by the option to do a second week a year later to become a 2-Star (for a total of $15,000); or, the 12-week Extern program for $12,000 that grants 1-Star status automatically, 2-Star if the student graduates with honors and if not, the student can come back in a year, do the week-long course to become 2-star and it's already included in the tuition.

The other change is that 1-Stars can teach all three levels—four if the instructor is Official L4—but the caveat is that 1-Stars can only teach Online. 2-Stars can also teach FreeStyle. To be able to teach Liberty and Finesse requires 3-Star status. To achieve 3-Star, the student completes the Mastery program. The details of that have yet to be released.

It seems do-able now. Twelve weeks (once I pass L3), and I could be teaching Online skills to students. Maybe Online and FreeStyle. For pay. I could be an EMPLOYED PNH Instructor.

Or, for the same cost but three years of study, I could have an MFA. In music technology. And be able to work in the music industry, or teach.

So what's the question? Why is there a debate?

When I was very small, my Mother asked what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I stated quite boldly, "I'm going to live on a farm, and raise and train horses."

My Mother snorted in disbelief (or amusement—or both). "How are you going to do that? You haven't grown up on a farm around horses—how will you know how to train them?"

I had no answer at the time. (I now know the answer was, "through Parelli, that's how!")

She continued: "And what are you going to do for a job? Because horses are expensive, and you'll have to have a really good job to make enough money to have a horse."

Well, I couldn't answer that, either, and my dad, a college professor with a PhD, didn't make enough that we could afford ONE horse (or so they said whenever I asked, "we can't afford a horse"), so they must be goshawfully expensive, and I want to breed them, which means I'll need at least two, so... good grief, I'm going to have to be a millionaire to be able to pursue my dream.

Ah, the logic of a six-year-old.

So I looked around to see what people did for a living, and it occurred to me that entertainers, especially the ones on TV, seemed to make a LOT of money. But they spent it on silly stuff like furs, cars and jewelry. I knew I could sing, and play guitar, so I thought, "if I become a TV star, or a musician, and I save my money instead of spending it on junk, I should be able to make enough to retire in 5-10 years, then I can do my horse thing."

So, I decided then and there to become a rich and famous rock star, and retire at 40 to live on my farm and raise and train horses.

The rich, famous and star part didn't work out, though the rock musician thing carried me through my 20s and most of my 30s. And I did become a horse owner right on schedule, along with discovering Parelli.

The truth is, my dream of rock superstardom ONLY originated because I thought it would finance my REAL dream. I just got too caught up in the musical lifestyle and forgot about the horses for awhile. But the belief that music is my ticket to horse dreams is still dominant.

Either that belief needs to go so I can go after the REAL dream (including PNH Instructor training); or I need to really make it in music this time.

I think I'll go to the barn tomorrow. And maybe win the lottery. Then I can ride without the guilt shadow hovering over me (since I'm behind on board due to no job yet, hardly any savings left, and no interviews recently). Wish me luck.

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