So I have been working twice as much at Hadlow College for the past few weeks, which has extended my repetoire to classroom teaching. Holding the attention of 10-15 young minds is a challenge so much preparation has been needed on my part, to grasp fully the subjects for teaching and also to plan the session so that it is interactive, interesting and importantly full of learning hooks. Fortunately the way I have been trained to teach so far has been following the lines of the UKCC qualification which puts emphasis on coaching rather than instruction and for learners to explore ideas through discussion and questioning rather than accept facts to be repeated at a later date. Of course there is a certain amount of information that has to be transferred from me to them but to an extent I want to develop confidence and most importantly, I think, a desire to know more. If I think back to my school days and the better parts of my degree, it was the teacher of a subject that inspired me and made me want to research. A good teacher has that ability to excite and stimulate the brain cells of others. I think I am going to be on a learning curve myself about this for the next few years, perhaps decades, perhaps the rest of my life!

Riding wise, I am getting to know some of the horses too on the weekly staff ride and schooling on my own. I have in my mind training for BHSI E&T, my long term goal. The more horses I ride on a weekly basis, the better.

Ralph has just been fitted with a new dressage saddle so I’m looking forward to test driving that. While he has been waiting for the new saddle we have spent time working from the ground, lungeing, jumping on the lunge and generally strengthening him. He gets quite excited when jumping so desensitisation is the key. He is very sensitive in general but responds well to the voice aid. If he sees a dog or something in the distance he can be quite sharp so I’m trying to establish a strong bond so that he will listen to me even if he is distracted. A useful tool for when he starts competing which we hope will be this Spring. Outdoors in a new environment I think knowing he will listen when unsure of something to going to be key to his success, not in terms of winning but in terms of staying happy, ribbons are a secondary element!

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