So you want to become an equine professional? That is wonderful! Finding a good mentor to assist your development into the professional world is invaluable. The challenge is in selecting the right mentor for you.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone who wants you to excel and succeed in your chosen profession. The mentor will be willing to share her knowledge and skills with you so you can take those out into the world and make an impact.
What a mentor is NOT
A mentor is not someone who only wants you to succeed within their predetermined boundaries. A mentor is not someone who keeps you inside their “kingdom.” A mentor is not someone who does not encourage you to question or challenge ideas/thoughts/methods. A mentor is not someone who does not allow you to grow and become who you truly are.
Beware of the “glitter factor.” This is where you become so dazzled and transfixed by someone that you ignore gut feelings and red flags. Someone may talk a good game, but do they truly walk their talk? The “glitter factor” blinds you, so be aware.
You can learn a lot by observing someone. Watch their body language. Watch how they treat horses. Watch how they treat their other students and clients. If they will not allow you to observe, then walk away and find someone who will.
Professionalism and Respect
What does your potential mentor have to say about other professionals in the industry? Do they only have good things to say, or do they offer objective reasons why they may or may not like another professional’s methods? Beware of the professional that will immediately bash another professional’s abilities. You don’t have to like or get along with everyone in the industry but there are tactful ways of stating you do not like something.
Find a mentor that is close to where you currently reside, otherwise you may have a lengthy commute that will add extra time and stress to your day. If you can relocate closer to your mentor even better, if not, then just try to find someone as close to your current living location as possible.
What is right for you?
Determine what is going to be the best learning environment for you. You won’t be able to select a mentor overnight. You will need to go back and visit potential mentors many times before you make your final decision. Does the facility feel good to you? Are the horses happy and treated well? Do the potential mentor’s methods resonate with you, and is it something you want to learn? Only you can make the decision about what is right for you. Sit down and write out a list of must-haves, nice to haves, deal breakers, etc., so your decision process becomes easier. The more time you take to make your decision, and base it on your gut feelings and not impulse, the better off you will be in selecting the right mentor for you.
Kim Baker, KB Natural Horsemanship, KB Equine Solutions, Holistic Healing, Pet Communicator, Lessons, Horse Clinics, Natural Horse Training and more...Building quality partnerships and lasting relationships from the ground up. Cell: 303-981-2127 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org , PO Box 1077 Elizabeth, CO 80107, www.kbnaturalhorsemanship.com
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(Photo by Carol Burke)