Why bother with an equine college course ?

laura_nash

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I went to equine college in Wales (CCTA) many years ago and had a very different experience from that described in this thread. It was hard work and AFAIK everyone who completed the course had no trouble getting a job (they certainly had no trouble knowing how to tack up, use a broom etc). We did the BHS exams as well as NVQ's and the main diploma we were studying. There were no grooms, just a YM, and everyone took turns to stay in the "grooms house" for a week and do all the mucking out etc for the yard. I think a lot of that came down to the main instructress at the time, Barbara Ripman. Students who weren't there to work and learn didn't last very long with her! The horses weren't owned by the college and as I remember were primarily semi-retired competition horses, they also had short-term liveries to give the students more experience (I remember a 2 year old and an in-work point-to-pointer).

It wasn't perfect (the grassland management training was done by a terrified lecturer drafted in from the farming side who mumbled and was ignored by everyone - I learnt nothing about grassland management!), but I have always been glad I went and my eventual decision to persue a different career (a few years later) wasn't related to the course.
 

Red-1

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As an aside, what exactly do they get taught/meant to learn at equine college?
Do they follow a certain syllabus like BHS/PC tests?
Level 1 Horse Care

The Doncaster Equine College Level 1 Horse Care course is designed to provide you with the skills and vocational qualification so that you can work in the equine industries.

No Experience with horses or academic qualifications required

Riding and non-riding options available

Units:

  • Feeding and watering of horses
  • Cleaning the stables and yard
  • Putting on and removing tack
  • Cleaning tack and horse clothes
  • Putting on and removing rugs
  • Leading and controlling a horse for inspection
  • Catching and moving horses
  • Maintaining health and safety in the workplace
  • Maintaining good working relations with others
  • Riding (optional)

.....ETA, I believe level 1 is expected to take a year to achieve.
 
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Red-1

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As an aside, what exactly do they get taught/meant to learn at equine college?
Do they follow a certain syllabus like BHS/PC tests?
Level 2...


Level 2 Horse Care

The Doncaster Equine College Level 2 Horse Care course is suitable for those who have achieved Level 1 in Horse Care or have relevant industry experience. The course is designed to provide you with the skills and a vocational qualification so that you can work in the equine industries.

Units:

  • Undertake and Review Work Related Experience in the Land Based Industries
  • Carry Out and Understand the Principles of Feeding and Watering Horses
  • Undertake Routine Stable Duties
  • Undertake Horse Handling
  • Fit and maintain Horse Tack and Clothing
  • Understand the Principles of Horse Biology
  • Introduction to Riding Horses on the Flat (riding option)
  • Environmental and Land Based Business (non-riding option)
  • Functional Skills in Maths and English (if GCSE’s haven’t been passed)
In addition to these units you will attend regular tutorials. You will also complete a riding certificate (if relevant)


.....I believe this also takes a further year on top of the Level 1 year.
 

Asha

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My daughter went to the local equine college. The one good thing she came away with was confidence. She had been bullied throughout her entire time at secondary school, and came away with very little self belief. She completely changed at college, from being withdrawn & nervous in front of people to the bubbly chatty nutty young girl she is today. She didn't stay long as she just wasn't learning anything. As shes never been academic, she was put on the most basic of courses. Teaching how to put a head collar on etc etc. So unfortunately a waste of her time. IMO ,this needs to be addressed. She quit as she was given some work experience at a local eventers yard, and from there her confidence grew even more, and then secured a job at another yard. Shes worked on a couple of eventing yards, and has now set herself up as freelance. Within a few weeks, her diary has booked up, and shes now full. In fact she has a waitlist ! No,shes not academic, but she can run a yard, care for the horses, works hard, trustworthy and more importantly reliable . The whole equine college scheme needs a complete overall.
 

mule

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One of the best employees I ever had was an OAP who lived in a Home, was bored silly and didn't consider herself a geriatric, and came and worked for me 6 days a week :) No formal horsey qualifications, just a lifetime of experience.
I like that ☺️ she sound interesting
 

Elf On A Shelf

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Level 2...


Level 2 Horse Care

The Doncaster Equine College Level 2 Horse Care course is suitable for those who have achieved Level 1 in Horse Care or have relevant industry experience. The course is designed to provide you with the skills and a vocational qualification so that you can work in the equine industries.

Units:

  • Undertake and Review Work Related Experience in the Land Based Industries
  • Carry Out and Understand the Principles of Feeding and Watering Horses
  • Undertake Routine Stable Duties
  • Undertake Horse Handling
  • Fit and maintain Horse Tack and Clothing
  • Understand the Principles of Horse Biology
  • Introduction to Riding Horses on the Flat (riding option)
  • Environmental and Land Based Business (non-riding option)
  • Functional Skills in Maths and English (if GCSE’s haven’t been passed)
In addition to these units you will attend regular tutorials. You will also complete a riding certificate (if relevant)


.....I believe this also takes a further year on top of the Level 1 year.
So basically year 2 is a repeat of year 1. Still the same as when I looked at going to Oatridge when I left school 16 years ago - filling up water buckets and tying up haynets!
 

Crazy_cat_lady

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Wow those look pretty basic, level one id expect most of the helpers at the yard I keep H to be able to pass. Like someone said it's what most rs 's teach their Saturday helpers.

What about all the turn out skills e.g. plaiting (I can't plait but don't work with horses) pulling (pretty good at pulling developed through doing it with my own horse) clipping etc that I would expect most competition groom's to be able to do. What about getting hands on experience that will allow them to develop those skills?

I have my BHS stage one from when I was 15 (now 28) so know the syllabus may have changed but I'm sure it covered a lot more, possibly the level 2 horse care starts to touch on it?

I'd expect time management and how to prioritise tasks to be included but it doesn't seem to be e.g. at the rs I used to help at on Saturdays you quickly learnt having the horses ready for lessons was priority, how to make sure the clients were safe etc etc. Sounds like there need to be more courses as it's a bit worrying someone who has no experience with horses can be on the same course as say someone from the rs who can do most of level one. Can you go straight onto level 2.

Those who employ people do bhs qualifications have more worth than the horse care stuff e.g. is bhs stage one worth more/ A more recognisable qualification? If you had 2 candidates with exactly the same experience/ ability and 1 had the stage 1 and the other the horse care level 1 which would you pick? Don't work in the horse industry so just interesting how employers view this?
 
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Crazy_cat_lady

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Just read it further- they aren't taught to muck out until level 2? Isn't mucking out a main daily chore for horse people?! May be reading it wrong but only see general chores covered at level 2? What about different bedding and their uses benefits and cons etc.

Oh sorry just seen that cleaning the stables and yard is covered at level 1. What about poisonous plants/ basic checks etc?
 

only_me

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Level 1 Horse Care

The Doncaster Equine College Level 1 Horse Care course is designed to provide you with the skills and vocational qualification so that you can work in the equine industries.

No Experience with horses or academic qualifications required

Riding and non-riding options available

Units:

  • Feeding and watering of horses
  • Cleaning the stables and yard
  • Putting on and removing tack
  • Cleaning tack and horse clothes
  • Putting on and removing rugs
  • Leading and controlling a horse for inspection
  • Catching and moving horses
  • Maintaining health and safety in the workplace
  • Maintaining good working relations with others
  • Riding (optional)

.....ETA, I believe level 1 is expected to take a year to achieve.
Thats all they do in one year :eek: That's basically a week on a working yard at the most!!
 

be positive

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Level 1 Horse Care

The Doncaster Equine College Level 1 Horse Care course is designed to provide you with the skills and vocational qualification so that you can work in the equine industries.

No Experience with horses or academic qualifications required

Riding and non-riding options available

Units:

  • Feeding and watering of horses
  • Cleaning the stables and yard
  • Putting on and removing tack
  • Cleaning tack and horse clothes
  • Putting on and removing rugs
  • Leading and controlling a horse for inspection
  • Catching and moving horses
  • Maintaining health and safety in the workplace
  • Maintaining good working relations with others
  • Riding (optional)

.....ETA, I believe level 1 is expected to take a year to achieve.

I have just realised it doesn't include any grooming which for most beginners is the starting point to get them confident handling a horse, if they are not expected to be able to give a decent groom after 12 months I wonder what they are learning.

As already said all this should be covered within a week or two I have recently done most of it with a 10 and 8 year old even though some is beyond their physical abilities at the moment they ask the right questions, are becoming more confident and are competent with a broom.
 

Ceifer

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So my opinion is if you want to be a groom you need to go and work on a decent yard as an working pupil/ apprentice. It’s hard work and will weed out anybody with a poor work ethic.
However, if you want to ride it can be limiting unless you are already a good enough rider to school competition horses. Some apprentices will be allowed to exercise but predominantly no schooling which won’t be any use if you want to do your exams.

There seem to be two types of people entering the horse industry. Those who have had horses/ competed and want a position where they can take their horse and receive further training and compete.
And those who may not have owned a horse and come from a riding school with one hour a week tuition. For them the opportunity to learn and ride more is an attractive proposition. Whereas if they did go to a professional yard they’d either get the sack or not have any opportunity to ride as there aren’t any suitable horses for them.

For me I did 11 years as a groom. I didn’t have a horse growing up and was a riding school kid. Luckily it was a very good riding school (a rarity these days). I was a working pupil and had a very rude awakening. As passionate and hardworking as I was I was light years behind other students. One of whom was competing in the under 18 uk showjumping team at the time.
I had to work my backside off to be able to ride and prove myself and get my exams.

I did do a month at a well known college for long term sickness cover.

It’s one of the hardest things I did (and I worked internationally on the showjumping circuit amongst other things)
You have these youngsters turn up from school. Some of whom have been pushed into equestrianism as they have been written off from school. They all have wildly varying degrees of knowledge and ability and we have to get the most all to be ‘the same’ when in reality you know some won’t make it but you can’t say anything.
 

rabatsa

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I had dealings with a person who had been a yard manager at an equine college. She was unable to look after a group of fat ponies kept on 24hr turnout. All she wanted to do was rug and feed.
 

pippixox

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It is a massive issue in general with lots of courses there to keep 16-18 year olds in education. I used to work at a special needs school as a teaching assistant- learned it all on the job. We had people on work experience from the collage next door doing ‘Health and social care’. A few were lovely and helpful. One refused to read a story to a severely disabled boy and just sat doing nothing. Basically most girls seemed to either sign up for beauty therapy or if that wasnt your thing you would do health and social care! Which involved a lot of hypothetical paper work and not much actually learning to care. A bit like with the horses.
 

meleeka

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It’s not just horsey courses. My eldest did a mechanics course and what he learnt in two years could have easily been taught in 6 months. The course was full time, 3 days a week! A lot of his friends didn’t do anything else in their two days off either. I think a lot of college courses are just to keep them in education until 18, to reduce the unemployment numbers, but do little to help with a career path.
 

lottiepony

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I think a lot does boil down to the individual person. Some have get up and go others don't. I personally wouldn't be put off by a college student applying for a job as I would base my opinion on how they worked in a trial period. I think it is sad that a lot of people assume they will be useless but by the sounds of it some are certainly below 'standard'.

I did a 2 year national diploma way back in 2001 at Writtle (do I dare admit that now lol!) so scarily that is 17 years ago!! My course was full time, and was was a full 5 day week. We rode at least 3 times a week, more in the second year depending on what modules you took. You had to complete a number of weeks of 'yard duties' during each term which meant mucking out etc the horses prior to lectures, it also involved doing them on a weekend. Everything you did was 'marked' the YM would come in and check everything even under all the banks etc and would comment if you took too long. I felt we covered a lot in our course, at the time they still had the stud (not sure if they still do) so we got to handle youngstock etc. The whole thing was very hands on in my opinion. I enjoyed my course and I certainly learnt a lot. In the second year we had to complete a work experience placement - I can't remember exactly but you had to do a good amount of hours not just a 2 week jobby!

I don't know how much has changed now at colleges but it certainly seems that perhaps they cannot offer the same anymore which is a shame. Mostly everyone on my course went off and secured a job in the industry.
 

flying_high

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Wow those look pretty basic, level one id expect most of the helpers at the yard I keep H to be able to pass. Like someone said it's what most rs 's teach their Saturday helpers.

Those who employ people do bhs qualifications have more worth than the horse care stuff e.g. is bhs stage one worth more/ A more recognisable qualification? If you had 2 candidates with exactly the same experience/ ability and 1 had the stage 1 and the other the horse care level 1 which would you pick? Don't work in the horse industry so just interesting how employers view this?
Most yards I know, speak to potential employees on the phone and invite them to do a trial day / few days. They decide if want to employ them based on this. So they'd employ the person who turned up on time, showed competence, willingness to learn, and some ability to do the job, good at handling horses etc.
 

honetpot

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Not horsey but its a job where you need skill as well as talent and luck
My daughter decided to do fashion, for some reason she missed uni the first year and went to the local college and did C&G pattern cutting and a foundation course in fashion. She then does her 3 years at uni in fashion as design and came out with huge expectations of getting a job in fashion, its a bit like acting and there are very few real jobs, a lot of placements. So there were a lot of tears.
In the end I suggested going self employed as she is very skilled seamstress. Over the years she has worked for a variety of people, from making motor cycle leathers, samples for designers and has a waiting list for private clients.
She hardly ever mentions that she went to uni, she is judged on her work and I think perhaps the C&G is the most important skill that she learnt, that and having multiple jobs in shops so she is good with people.
Out of her year she is the only one that has a direct job in fashion. At least then she did it she did not have to pay.

When I left school I worked with horses on a private yard, I soon realised although I got a good basic education I was never going to make a good wage from it. I think before we waste money on teaching things that young people are never going to make a living from they should have to spend a month on a real yard and start work at 7.30. Its the same in nursing, drop out rate is immense once they realise it's hard work.
 
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