Tuesday, August 15, 2006

More Education?

So it's coming up to exam times for those in their last year of highschool and therefore, time to decide what to do next.

For many, it is so appealing to go straight into working with horses after highschool... or possibly even instead of the last couple of years of highschool, but I believe the education is worth it.

With the main outcome being working with horses and earning money from your passion, the last thing I wanted to do was consider a two or more year course after highschool that would 'stop' me from doing exactly that! But when I finally settled on a course to do at the start of year twelve, it became evident I would have to see the year out to be able to get into the course. It was either that or gain some experience with horses before hand, and fast!

Anyone with a desire to work with horses and the revelation that they need to work hard, be interested and show initiative can get a job with horses... and then you do your learning, while working. This is a little more daunting than learning the ins and outs of the industry while under the education of those who have been through it all and are now teaching in a horse course.

The VTAC guide shows a few possibilities for working with horses, but it is possible to do so much with them, so for the horse obsessed but discipline confused, look around. Consider a general course (equine management for example) rather than specific (dressage instructor) so you're at least getting hands on training in a field that offers many jobs and can later lead to a specified area.

If your main reason for getting education is employment, check out courses that have a high employment percentage rate (GOTAFE Diploma has a 98% employment rate for students that finish their two year course). If earning money while studying is appealing, apprenticeships may be the way to go. The pay isn't brilliant, but it is a bit of support while also learning.

TAFE can be more appealing than Uni price wise, but there are more expensive courses that offer scholarships, and it may be worth looking into these too. Another possbility is working on a horse property while studying, for example working at a riding school while gaining your Level 1 instructor's certificate. Some riding schools will fund this as your education will benefit their business once the course is finished.

There are many possibilities and it's well worth the research - you're talking about your passion and career, not just a job.

"All I need to know in life, I learnt from my horse: New shoes are an absolute necessity every 6 weeks."

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Diploma of Horse Studies

I can't work some things out, like a course that has honestly helped me to learn about the Thoroughbred industry, has a 98% employment rate for students at the end of the course and offers a scholarship each year to the Irish National Stud having such a low number of students this year. Hence, this post.

I studied at the Wangaratta Campus of Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE, Victoria, Australia in 2003/4 completing my Diploma of Horse Studies (Breeding) straight after year twelve. Of the two courses I was considering, this was more appealing as it is actually run on a stud, for 20 students in their first year and 20 in their second, allowing daily hands on with mares, foals, learning to foal down and even handling of two stallions.

There are three lots of work experience, two in the first year: a four week placement over the breeding season and an eight week placement for a yearling preparation and another five weeks over the breeding season in the students second year of study.

Much more practical for someone who wants to work with horses (how can you learn to handle them through a text book?) and a lot cheaper than any university course with near guaranteed employment in the industry as long as you're willing to put in the work. How can you lose?

Simple - I didn't. The course also offers a scholarship to the Irish National Stud. I didn't manage the scholarship the year I finished the course, but did get accepted into the course a year later and paid to do this as international experience was someting I wanted to gain also. Now, I am headed back to work at a stud where I did work experience during my Diploma.

http://www.gotafe.vic.edu.au/courses/course_info.cfm?CID=DHOR-BRE - Diploma of Horse Studies (Breeding)
Duration: 2 years
Location: Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia

http://www.nationalstud.co.uk/Education-Diploma.asp - The National Stud Diploma Course
Duration: 6 months
Location: Britain

http://www.kmc.ac.uk/courses/engine/detailsF.cfm?id=647&type=Full%20Time%20Course&subject=equine%20studies - First Diploma in Horse Studies
Duration: Full Time and Part Time Courses
Location: Kingston Maurward College, Dorchester, Dorset, England

http://www.nmit.vic.edu.au/courses/horse/equine_dip_a.html - Diploma of Equine Stud Management
Duration: 2 years
Location: Epping, Victoria, Australia

- Advanced Diploma in Applied Science (Equine Studies)
Duration: 2 years
Location: Hawke's Bay, North Island of New Zealand

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/careers/article.php?aid=48204 - Equine courses at Colleges in South East England.

"All I need to know in life, I learnt from my horse: Heaven is eating at least 10 hours a day...and then sleeping the rest."


Thursday, August 03, 2006

Musée Vivant du Cheval

So, I think I've found the horse lovers mecca which is annoying, as I wanted to set up the equine owners nirvana on my property. The Living Horse Museum has given me a few ideas though!

So it'll cost you around 17,50 euros for a visit to the Living Horse Museum, giving you access to the 30+ rooms of the museum; a small dressage show/lesson (half an hour) and entertainment show (2006 show is called Swing Horse and is around 45 mins long). It is possible to pay more and also see the Chantilly Castle or less and not see the second horse performance.

'In 1719, Louis-Henri de Bourbon, the 7th Prince de Condé, commissioned the architect Jean Aubert to design and build stables befitting his rank. Legend has it that the Prince believed in metempsychosis and thought he would be reincarnated as a horse after his death...'

In 1982 under the ownership of Yves Bienaimé, founded with his wife Annabel, the Musée Vivant du Cheval, designing and equipping it at their own expense. Today the 31 rooms each focus on something different, but all horse related. There are texts, paintings, models, toys and sculptures covering breeds of the horse, disciplines, quotes, systems (digestive, respiratory, circulatory, muscular skeletal and reproductive), tack and accessories, figurines of the horse in history and more.

The end room has over 30 life size models of horses done up under different disciplines - flat racer, steeplechase, trotter, side saddle, dressage, show jumping, eventer, cossack rider, matador, cowboy, carriage, indian and many more.

Now, it couldn't well be a living horse museum without some real four legged animals. These perform in the show being under saddle, on a lead or long reined. They are also tied in open stalls for all to see. Breeds include the Adulusian, Friesian, Shetland, Ass, Miniature Shetland, Arab and many more.

And I thought I loved horses - this place is for the obsessee, by the obsessed. To top it off, they have an indoor working area, arena outside, kennels for the hundreds that were kept when the prince had the stables full and many hounds to accompany the horses on hunts. And, its right next door to Chantilly racecourse. Can't beat it!

"In the fray I risk my life to protect him, just as in the night he watches over me and protects me." - Al Monzir et bon cheval Al Arime

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

La Sagesse

I'd like to think I already had wisdom before this trip, but I have definitely been enlightened by coming to Ireland and France. Thanks Claire!

26 July after being about a week in Normandy, France we paid a visit to the Haras National du Pin - one of the French equivalents to where I have been studying for the past six months. I say one as France has 23 national studs in total.

This one is a slight different from the Irish National Stud where the sole focus is Thoroughbreds. Haras National du Pin has on show many different breeds with us seeing a barb stallion, french riding pony, french donkey, percherons, a cob, new forest pony and arab pony.

The horses are used for competition; being worked in harness or under saddle for an hour each day and later turned out before retiring in their boxes for the evening. It's nice to see different types of horses for different uses all on display. During our paddock visit we were able to see a percheron in harness being worked in their equestrian area, which was made up of different parts in which to practise dressage, go over jumps and work horses in harness; all of which was surrounded by a track with jumps placed throughout which we saw a cob working over. Getting some ideas for my place...

And the nicest way to top off my time in France - we're going to the Living Horse Museum in Chantilly on Saturday! Whoop!

"To ride is to take occasional trips into the dirt..."

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