Hello everyone! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, something I would like to start incorporating into this blog is spotlighting some of my fantastic students and their accomplishments! To start this all off I thought it would be appropriate to spotlight the student that not only has come the farthest, but also the one who arguably supports and believes in me the most: Ammann Decindis.
Ammann Decindis started with me when I was working under another trainer several years ago. When I went out on my own, he decided to follow, and in the year and a half since then, he has grown more than I would have ever guessed! Amman began riding in his early 60’s in 2009 following a childhood dream. As he continued on, he made it a goal for himself to start showing, doing his best, and ultimately becoming a star!
When I met this eccentric gentleman, he quickly became one of my favorite students, and a highlight to my week. His stories never failed to make me not only smile, but laugh for days to come. Furthermore, watching him ride and improve was nothing short of inspiring. Fighting weak muscles, and a body stuck in its non-rider ways… I’ll be honest… there were days when Ammann really worried me. But no matter how many times he fell, no matter how many times he got frustrated, or I got frustrated he continued to persevere. He showed up twice a week, rain or shine for his lesson so that he could continue to improve.
He is constantly giving me nuggets of wisdom, which I find myself thinking of later. Many of these actually spark my ideas for blog posts! Ammann never allows his late start to the sport to get in his way. He says that everyone’s greatest downfall is themselves, and getting past themselves is their biggest challenge. This is undeniably true, and especially true in his case. When Ammann is relaxed and loose, he is a very talented and natural rider. However, his tendency is to think very intensely about one thing at a time, without seeing the bigger picture. This results in a choppy, disjointed rider. Despite this, Ammann continues to come to class, continues to go to gym after class to strengthen his riding muscles, and continues to think about riding day in and day out to better himself in the saddle! As such, every lesson shows the fruits of his labors.
When I opened my own lesson and training program, Ammann was the first to sign up. In the last year we have been working tirelessly on his position and skill in Dressage, Stadium Jumping and Cross Country in preparation for his first showing experience. Excitedly, we schooled test after test, practiced course after course, and finally registered for his first show: an elementary level combined test.
The result? Ammann was eliminated in show jumping. So we signed up for a second Combined Test a few months later… the result: Eliminated.
But if you thought that would discourage him you are mistaken! Instead Ammann upped his lessons to 3 times a week! It only made him want to work harder! We continued to practice and continued to show in Dressage until our year culminated in a third combined test, in which Ammann not only finished, but placed SECOND, and impressed everyone while doing it! To this day, Ammann says that his proudest moment in his riding career is that show, because all the hard work he put in paid off. We are spending the winter continuing to work on our showing skills in the hopes that come spring he will be able to compete in a full event!
At the end of every lesson Ammann asks me, “Are you happy with my performance?” What he doesn’t know, is that at the end of every lesson I am incredibly proud to call him my student. No matter how the lesson starts off, good or bad, he ALWAYS improves. Whether it is one step in the right direction, or a huge breakthrough, Ammann continues to get better in every single hour that we work together. He is someone who doesn’t know the word “quit”, and I couldn’t ask for anything more in a student.
If his story inspired you to continue to improve, feel free to peruse the rest of this site and contact us for lesson opportunities! Ill be back again next week with a horse graduate spotlight! Stay tuned!!