Friday, June 30, 2006

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. - 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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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

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 -

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 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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Thursday, June 15, 2006

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. advertises jobs in most of these fields and in Australia, Europe, America and Canada. - 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. has links to possible jobs with horses under many different countries. advertises jobs based on category or location.

"Even the greenest horse has something to teach the wisest rider."

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Friday, June 02, 2006

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:

"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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