It was an unusual start to a new job for Jackie Tamminga, a Lakewood Ranch resident who on July 10 became the spa director at the Sirius Day Spas in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota.
Sirius Day Spa owner Karen Medford knew Tamminga had been born and raised in horse-happy Lexington, Kentucky, so why not schedule her for a lesson at the Sarasota Polo Club?
There was one problem.
"I've bet on horses more than I have ridden them," Tamminga said.
Medford knew she was in the same position last October when she took her first lesson from Ashlie Osburg, who teaches beginners at the Sarasota Polo Club.
On July 14, Osburg had her calmest polo horse, Gina, ready for Tamminga, who arrived at the stable with her husband, Keith.
Osburg checks with each student on their past riding experience.
"Does riding a donkey at the state fair count?" Keith Tamminga said.
Jackie Tamminga, who has owned and operated gyms and spas most of her career, seemed comfortable as she received safety tips and instruction from Osburg before climbing aboard Gina.
That was important because those who aren't comfortable receive a lesson in a smaller pasture. Tamminga and Gina were headed for the big practice field.
Well, if Tamminga could get Gina to go. She couldn't seem to find the ignition.
"She doesn't seem to want to go," Tamminga said.
Gina received a "let's go" look from Osburg, and off they went.
"I call them babysitters, not horses," Osburg said of Gina and her other lesson horses. "They know what is best for you."
It was a hot day, in the 90s, but Osburg took Tamminga and Medford through a lesson. Osburg said the lesson in the heat isn't a problem for her horses because they are fit, and the pace of teaching beginners is slow and relaxed.
For lessons, call Osburg at 630-360-0441 or go to SarasotaPolo.com.