Preventing Burnout While Running an Equine Lesson Program
Updated: Dec 30, 2021
Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged and excessive amounts of stress is what causes us to burn out.
When we first begin our lesson programs. We are all so excited. Every time we get a new rider, when we get a new lesson horse, when our riders begin to excel in their skills…it all is so exciting. And then it hits. You cannot think of a new lesson plan. You do not feel like interacting with the parents. You begin to lose patience with the beginners. You start to only prefer the more advanced riders because you do not have to hold their hand as much. Texts and emails begin to go unanswered because you do not have the mental capacity to do so.
It’s starting to sink in. Burnout. At this point, you begin to wonder what happened to start making you feel this way? Why don’t I jump out of bed anymore and race to the barn? Why am I loosing patience with riders? Why am I having a hard time thinking of new teaching techniques. Not to mention you still have to keep up with the administrative side of things, and manage the horses. Running a lesson program is not easy by any means. But there are ways to make it less stressful to prevent burnout to the best of your ability.
We are all different, and carry stress in different ways.
Here are a few things you can do to help lower the amount of stress and work for you in your program:
Schedule your time in a way that you have set days off. In my academy we work on 8 week cycles. After 8 weeks, we take one week off. Every time there are 5 weekends in a month, we take one weekend off as clients only pay for 4.
Create a separate work email and download a texting app for your phone and do not turn on the notifications, OR, turn on the notifications during “working hours”. You check it on your time. This way, when clients reach out to you, your phone is not going off every 5 minutes. It is alright to create this boundary.
Creating a booking system and screening process that is minimal work for you. When clients contact you to come to your program, the next conversation will be either you have a spot for them, or you don’t. If clients are already in your program, they go through your booking system instead of contacting you.
Limit clients time at the barn. They get the time that they paid for, and you have to reserve your energy for other clients.
Any client that you dread dealing with, let them go.
Now sure, things will arise and all barn rules are different. This is all to your discretion.
These are all simple things that you can incorporate into your policies and procedures so they don’t seem “harsh”. You are simply creating boundaries for your clients.
We all love what we do, and in order to keep that same enthusiasm, we need to keep ourselves in a good place mentally.
So please, set your boundaries, protect your peace, and take care of yourself.