Instructing in Australia

Plan – wipe out as many ignorant horse owners as possible through owning my own agistment property, running a riding school and having facilities and contacts available for all areas of horse work.
Weakness – impatience!

I’m currently working on a stud to improve my hands on, still be working with horses and have the chance to earn/save money. This isn’t enough though! I want to instruct eventually and thankfully boss is kind enough to agist my horse so I can ride often, but I need the piece of paper that says I am qualified to instruct. After a small amount of research, one has discovered there are a few different possibilities in relation to teaching:

NCAS – Level 1 instructing is through Pony Club Australia and on the Pony Club Victoria website, it is stated to be for people over 18 years of age, designed to enable them to instruct at Pony Club C Certificate level and above; Candidates are expected to attend an NCAS Pony Club Level 1 Course (32 hours total) with 100% attendance.

EFA – Equestrian Federation of Australia – The EFA covers many disciplines – dressage, eventing, showjumping, show horse, reining, paraequestrian, vaulting, endurance and more. They offer coaching courses under an EFA/NCAS registered intructor. Need to be a member of the EFA to be able to become qualified. FEI is the International Federation for Equestrian sport.

RDA – it is also possible to be qualified to coach as part of Riding for the Disabled. The RDA Victoria, Australia website has some information although I’m sure any RDA branch would welcome those interested in coaching.

http://www.horseridingcoach.com/instructors.aspx – I stumbled across this site from the Pony Club Victoria website while looking into instructing qualifications. The courses offered here are appealing as you pay as you go at your own pace. There is a good response time in relation to doing your theory, handing it in and getting results back corrected. My only issue is finding an accredited person to mark off practical skills for me. Also some ‘events’ need to be carried out in a riding school. So, working in a riding school may be the easiest way to go about being qualified, but while working on a stud, the idea of being able to work toward being a qualified instructor also, is very appealing.

Before heading off to Ireland, I was doing about one module a month which costs between $100-200 each month – $50 a week investment and after 13 months (13 modules) you can be qualified to instruct at basic level… not bad!

“Definition: Equitation – The ability to keep a smile on your face and proper posture while your horse tries to crowhop, shy and buck his way around a show ring.”

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Machu Picchu, Peru

So my time at the Irish National Stud seems to have turned into a bit of an eye opener in many ways…

One is definitely finding out more about other’s cultures and countries and the other day I had a bit of a history lesson. I have a list of what will eventually be (got 53) 100 things I want to do before I die – see the aurora borealis, ride over the snowy mountains, take part in a Group 1 race, etc… and was talking with a friend about it who consequently mentioned her desire to visit Machu Picchu in Peru – http://www.machupicchuperu.info/.

The next day on tea break I was flicking through a horse magazine from last year and stumbled across an article on ‘a charity horse ride in Peru, aimed at helping two remote, rural communities in the Andean mountains’ which involves a train trip to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas! Go figure.

The site referenced is http://www.perolchico.com/ but doesn’t appear to say much about the charity ride although there are some awesome looking tours over this area! Further investigation appears to be required… haven’t yet worked out how much it’s gonna cost me either, but this’ll have to go on the list of things to do!

“The horse thinks one thing and he who saddles him another” – Benjamin Franklin’

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Finding Work Online

So there are many different courses and holidays that you can do with horses to gain experience and qualifications, but this isn’t always a financially viable option. The best way to get hands on and learn as much as possible is to actually get yourself a job with horses.

If you really want both the qualifications and the hands on, there are places that are willing to help staff by sending them along to seminars, or apprenticeships that can be carried out, or once earning money, it may be possible to invest in doing a correspondence course outside of work hours.

For me, stud work is currently the most appealing as it covers so many aspects of the horse’s life and you can work on a stud almost anywhere in the world. However, if something else appeals – go for it! Polo, dressage, show jumping, cross country, polocrosse, national hunt, western, farriery, vet, pacers/trotters and many more.

http://www.stablemate.net.au/ advertises jobs in most of these fields and in Australia, Europe, America and Canada.
http://www.horsedirectory.com.au/classifieds/index.php?mid=1 – Horse Directory Australia offers the chance for employers to advertise jobs for sale in all states of Australia and also for those seeking to publish their skills and the type of job they are looking for.
http://www.horses-sales.com/horse_classifieds.shtml has links to possible jobs with horses under many different countries.
http://www.agriseek.com/work/e/Employment/Equine-Horses/ advertises jobs based on category or location.

“Even the greenest horse has something to teach the wisest rider.”

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AI Course, Colorado

Another course!

The one thing that annoys me about the Thoroughbred racing industry is that AI is illegal. Now, there are valid arguments both for and against the use of AI, but either way, being something that is used in the breeding side of the horse industry outside of Thoroughbreds, I’d be interested in learning about it.

Was chatting with a mate about this while in Ireland working and another that has spent a bit of time studying in the US suggested a short course on AI at the Colorado State University.

Did a little search and:
http://equinescience.colostate.edu/content/view/41//

“The four-day course includes 24 hours of classroom instruction and 12 hours of laboratory work in mare and stallion management, seminal collection and evaluation, artificial insemination, and care of the pregnant mare and neonatal foal. Participants are encouraged to actively participate in the collection and evaluation of semen and insemination of mares. Topics to be covered include anatomy and physiology of the mare and stallion genital tract, hormonal relationships and fertility, seminal collection and evaluation, techniques of artificial insemination, factors affecting sperm production and output, sexual behavior of the stallion, training a stallion to a phantom, hormonal control of the estrous cycle and pregnancy, care of the pregnant, foaling and postpartum mare, and nutrition of the stallion and pregnant mare.”

Looks pretty appealing to me! Now, to add that to the list of things to save for… after South Africa next year, the Jackaroo/Jillaroo course, my motorbike and bass guitar. And they say money makes the world go round!

“A horse has so docile a nature that he would always rather do right then wrong, if only he could be taught to distinguish one from the other.”

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Wild Coast, South Africa

I’m a firm believer that if you’re interested in it – find out a way to learn more and work in that area.

After finishing studying in Ireland and having a bit of a look around, I’ll be returning to Oz to do the breeding season at my favourite stud and all the while, save for another travelling experience: a working/riding holiday in South Africa mid-2007!

I want to eventually be a riding instructor while running an agistment property and so need to improve my own riding skills before I can teach others. This holiday seems like the perfect opportunity!

http://www.sunrayfarm.co.za/ – Check out the working riding holiday link.

Sunray Farm “offer volunteers the opportunity to come to Africa on a working riding holiday. You stay on the farm and time permitting run the riding project for local disadvantaged children. Horse lovers are given an opportunity to eat, sleep and breathe horses from a couple of weeks holiday or up to 3 months in the volunteer program. You will be able to improve your riding skills, learn about the daily management of a equestrian establishment, work with young foals, school young horses, exercise the trail horses, assist and take out holiday riders on the beach rides, and if there is a Wild Coast Horse Trail booked during your stay you will be asked to join us as an assistant trail guide & groom!”

I figure taking into account flying out from Tullarmarine Airport in Victoria, Australia… it’ll cost around $4,000 Australian to fly over and pay to stay where food and lodgings are provided for around a month… very, very appealing!

“It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall.” – Mexican Proverb

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Jackaroo Course, NSW, Oz

So I love looking for any sort of course/holiday/work that I can do with horses that is different to what I already know… and gives me a chance to check out another place! Stumbled across this one the other day… not that I remember what I was looking for:

http://www.leconfield.com/

Tis a Jackaroo/Jillaroo ‘school’ set over five days that covers grooming, riding, natural horsemanship (Pat Parelli style), horseshoeing, whip cracking, lassooing, mustering sheep, barrel racing, sheep health, shearing, pasture improvement, fencing/yard building, mustering cattle, yarding and drafting cattle, using working dogs and more.

The school is run at Leconfield on a 5000 acre property in New South Wales and those that run the course offer the possibility of helping you find work afterwards if this is your desire.

So, once I’m back home from Ireland and have had enough of the racehorses for awhile, I think I’ll check this out… just hope I’m up to it! Has anyone done anything like this before?

“Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.”

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Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch

Currently, the most rewarding thing about horses is the fact that you will always learn about them.

It’s impossible to know everything about them. I hope that in the future, the most rewarding thing for me will be teaching others all I have learnt and am learning about this gorgeous animal and nursing back to health neglected equines.

There are so many people that own and work with horses that have a terrible ignorance and it almost seems that we should have a license to be able to work with or own any animal. Some are so badly neglected, I’m always asking if the person that let them get in that state meant well, but just didn’t know enough. It appears to be the same way with children at times, too.

Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch is a property run by Kim Meeder and her husband Troy. The pair work together to influence abused and neglected children while at the same time nursing back to health horses in the same condition. Thanks to an ever alert mother, I was given a copy of Kim’s book – Hope Rising and loved the stories between the pages.

What better cause can one give to than a child or animal’s life being restored?

“Follow a horse where no one else can tread, through the minefield of pain that surrounds a broken child’s soul.” – Kim Meeder, Hope Rising.

http://www.crystalpeaksyouthranch.org/

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Certificate II in Horse Studies

It all begins here… So the earliest I discovered that I could actually start ‘studying’ horses at school, was in year ten (third last year of highschool in Australia, was 16 at the time) through the joys of work experience.

Only for a period of two weeks, looking back now it seems hardly enough time but I am glad over the course of my last three years of high school, I was able to complete three lots of work experience – at a small racing stable/stud, riding school and a stable at Caulfield Racecourse.

Rather than dissuade me from the not so kind hours and manual labour, this only fuelled the want to get the rest of school out of the way and work with horses.

Fortunately, in between the school I attended had just recently offered the chance to study horses (Certificate II in Horse Studies) as part of your VCE subjects and so over my second last year of school, I was able to actually do one of my chosen subjects as horses, at the end of it having a Certificate II and a little more of an idea of the direction I wanted to head after highschool.

I completed this course at Balmoral Warmblood Stud, attending the stud every Wednesday to work, ride and learn about horses. It is possible to also do the course via correspondence so it doesn’t cut in on classes at school.

“The horse through all its trials has preserved the sweetness of paradise in its blood.” – Johannes Jensen

Take a look at:
http://www.balmoral.info/ – check out the ‘education’ area.
http://www.bhtafe.edu.au/Courses/AST20.htm
http://www.landfood.unimelb.edu.au/courses/tafe/c2-equine.html

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Stud Work, TBs

Joys of the Thoroughbred Industry.

Planning on working with horses? Want to run your own property? Experience wise, you couldn’t go past spending a season or three in the stud side of the racing industry. Pay wise – Thoroughbreds are your best bet for a half decent income when it comes to working with horses.

For the past twelve months I have been out in the ‘real world’, working – finally! Before coming to Ireland to study, I spent my days in a small town called Euroa, in Victoria, Australia that seems to house about a dozen studs – I worked at three over this duration.

As someone who wants to breed thoroughbreds for a hobby and run my own horse property, working on a stud is the best way to go about gaining experience. During the breeding season (August – December in Australia) you get practise at handling mares for service, handling stallions, horses for the farrier, treatments for horses (oral and injections), bandaging, foaling down mares, feeding horses and general stable work.

As the year comes to an end, it moves on to the yearling season where practice in preparing horses for sales, grooming, exercising, parading for clients and eventually taking the gorgeous animals through the sale ring (some, for prices in the hundreds of thousands!) is gained.

From December through to April yearlings are prepared and every eight weeks, a new group is brought in and it starts again, introducing them to being brushed, having rugs on, leading correctly.

Following this, it is time for the ‘babies’ to be weaned, and mothers are taken away and they start life without the ‘milk bar’; slowly getting used to people and being handled, having feet trimmed and sometimes, prepared for sales at the young age of five or six months.

Excluding the horse’s actual racing career, working on a stud gives you the chance to see the birth of a foal, it’s first year or so of life and upon retiring to stud, the progeny it then goes on to produce. What more could you ask for?

“Correction does much for the horse, but encouragement does more.”

http://www.larneuk.com/ – My ‘home’ and work from August till the end of each year.
http://www.bluegumfarm.com/ – Another stud I worked at in Euroa.

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Volunteer With Horses

So you know the cheapest way to get extra horse experience? Can’t quite remember how I found out about it, but I’ll almost do anything to have myself working with horses. So, when I found out about Riding for the Disabled and the fact that they are always looking for volunteers, I thought – why not?

One Saturday every two weeks for about a two year period, I joined up with other volunteers at Riding for the Disabled of Australia in Moorabbin, Victoria to help out with grooming ponies, feeding, tacking up and leading young riders around an arena, over and around obstacles and on ‘trail rides’.

RDA is really a great cause and what better way to get extra hands on with horses, and be able to help out at the same time? An added bonus if you’d like, this would look excellent on the resume but just helping out was reward enough.

As someone who wants to eventually run my own agistment property and riding school, it was a great eye opener and an invaluable experience.

“In riding a horse we borrow freedom” – Helen Thompson

Why not help someone else to a chance at freedom?

http://www.rda.org.au/
http://www.riding-for-disabled.org.uk/
http://www.rda.org.nz/

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Your Horse Career Starts Here