Going To Pony College
When leaving school instead of following the crowd and moving onto A levels at my schools sixth-form, I took a chance and left all my school friends behind and enrolled on a Level 3 National Diploma in Equine Management at Askham Bryan College! This decision was made when I tried to decide on a career path, and my current GCSE grades. I was swayed to becoming an art teacher or a human dentist! Very different I know however I didn’t feel I had enough interest in either subject...
So after speaking to my parents I felt the best career path would be with horses and decided on hoping to eventually become and equine dental technician (dentist). When first applying for the course at Askham Bryan college, I was to go for a ridden interview and an interview with the course tutor about my grades and about the course.
Once enrolled, I had decided to live in the onsite accommodation, as only having one horse at the time I didn’t need to be home as often. I chose not to take my horse with me as I enjoyed going home on weekends and riding. I met a great group of friends in the first few days, some of who I am still friends with now!
The lessons on the course entailed of practical lessons such as yard management, where you were assessed on all different aspects of owning horses, even down to putting rugs on, this was to make sure all students worked to the same standard and ready for work in the industry. Within the practical lessons you had to take weekly health checks of horses and monitor them, you learnt all about correct ways to fitten a horse and about their heart rate, you had to organise an equine event on the yard and run it, and also had flat and jumping lessons. Equine college horses range from quiet cobs to sport horses so could accommodate all riders and gave you something to learn on.
You learn about the horses anatomy and physiology, nutrition, competition grooming, clipping and trimming including mane puling. You also have to compete 150 hours work experience and so many weeks of yard duties. On yard duties you work on the yard all day Saturday and Sunday, then through the week you do an hour early mornings before lessons, and an hour after lessons and finish in time for tea! This helps students learn that horses are a full time commitment and learn to manage their time and become more used to working independently.
Many say that ‘pony college’ doesn’t prepare you for the equine industry, but I totally disagree. You learn all the basics required for working on a yard, and more!.. and because it’s solely focused on what you are interested in, you find it easier to understand. You can then chose to further your knowledge into a certain sector by enrolling on a degree in either equine science, sport or business and even more. It is definitely worth it if you are wanting to pursue a career in horses!