“Despite the national weather forecasts telling everyone that it’s raining in Scotland, this part of Scotland is decidedly warm and sunny! In fact despite a few unsettled days, it is (so far!) the best summer I can remember in Scotland. We have spent much more time outside, and have had many more barbeques and picnics. Saying that, it’s not all good news, the lack of rain has meant the hydro scheme has been not producing much electricity, and trying to write this blog sitting outside in the glorious weather early this morning has proved difficult with all the midges biting! I’ve just moved back inside. Luckily we don’t get “midged” too badly compared with the West Coast of Scotland where people can be seen wearing midge nets covering their hands and faces all day! It can be like a beekeepers convention!
Refurbishments and lambs
Anyway the morning midges are a small price to pay for the privilege of living in such a glorious part of the world. It is thankfully a quiet time of year for us. The sheep are all up on the hill with their now well grown lambs and take very little looking after, most of the maintenance jobs have been done, and the shooting season has not yet begun so we have time to enjoy the good weather. We have completed the refurbishment of two out of the three cottages we were renovating and the third one should be complete in the next two weeks. These things always seem to take a lot longer than planned (and cost a lot more too) but the finished product is satisfying and we have let both completed properties without even advertising. The final cottage is, in my opinion, the nicest of the three so hopefully this will be easy to let too.
We have started to catch some fish too. Last week we caught our first fish of the season with one salmon and two sea trout caught. It always takes a while for the fish to reach us so far up the river but now they have arrived and we should catch a few now until the end of the season. September and October are the best months for us normally. The holiday cottages are very busy too, with both cottages booked out permanently until about mid September.
A little cricket
I like to try and play a bit of cricket in the summer. Both my boys are very keen, and we have an annual Perthshire v Angus cricket match which takes place at a small cricket ground at Meigle on the Angus/Perth borders. It’s a lot of fun and not too serious, but each team obviously likes to win. I captain the Angus team and a friend captains the Perthshire team. The teams are made up of fathers and sons mainly with a minimum age of 13. The match has been going for three years and lots of friends and family turn up to have a picnic before the match. We tend to opt for a hybrid 30 overs match which is long enough to give a good game of cricket but short enough that the elderly and unfit amongst us don’t kill themselves! This year Angus managed to win, and having dropped a fairly easy catch I redeemed myself with two cover drives to the boundary to give us the winning runs. We are now 2-1 up, having won in 2008 and 2010.
A Dart to the pub
Cricket matches bring to mind English villages, and pubs, and vintage sports cars. We don’t sadly have English villages, but a pub down the road has been rejuvenated and is making a very good attempt at an English pub with gastro-food too. Last night, having finally got it back from being MOT’d, I took my 1961 Daimler SP250 (Dart), for a drive down to this local pub. That’s a two seater sports car btw! I got the whole way there and back with the roof down and in shirt sleeves. I really thought I was in the south of England! I’ve had the car since university days at Oxford, but sadly it seldom makes an appearance these days. Hopefully I will be able to use more of it this year, weather permitting.”
"Sunday 25th July 2010 After the recent practice sessions I have put in with some of my NDP10 teammates on the River Rother, which I have mentioned in my past blogs, it was game on last Sunday for the second round of the Kent Angling League at Newbridge. Forty anglers took part with myself drawn on peg B5, not a peg that I had fished before but I knew the section well and I was looking for some more success. Recent practice sessions had provided plenty of bites down the middle of the river using a bold balling in attack and with the bonus of discovering a few eels in the area my confidence was very high to the point that I felt almost unbeatable.
With 10 balls of groundbait ready and plenty of chopped worm, maggots and a casters concoction ready to cup in on my six metre eel line, the whistle sounded at 10am where, after throwing in the 10 orange size groundbait balls at 13 metres, I cupped out my slushy eel soup for later in the match. In past matches and practice session’s bites, have always been instant after balling in the groundbait line so when I went 20 minutes without a sign of a fish I was somewhat puzzled. Looking up and down my section I could also see that no one else was catching either so it was not time to panic, something was amiss. Eventually my float buried and in a five minute spell I had four small skimmers in the net before my peg went quiet again. Apart from the odd bleak and small perch my section rivals were also finding it tough, but during this time I was flicking in red maggots over my eel line and every now and then I continued to cup out my slushy mix.
Time for plan B
Two hours into the match all I had was five small skimmers and one gudgeon. It was time for plan B as plan A was not going to work, which was very unusual. I could see anglers around me starting to panic and fish for the bleak off the top, but they were so small and not enough of them were around so that was a no goer for me and to be honest I was glad to see them try for the small bleak. On my first put in on the eel line my float raised and I was netting a skimmer of 12 ounces, a good start I thought. At 12.05pm my float buried and an eel was pulling out some elastic, it was a good fish over the pound mark and that was the beginning of a purple patch as I had four eels by 12.30pm. Feeling that I had already done enough to win my section I relaxed to really enjoy the rest of the match as I continued to put more eels in my net to build up my target weight of double figures. Double figure bags always frame in the Rother matches and nearly always gain maximum section points so I was well confident of achieving what I set out to do.
An eel success
By the end of the five hour match, I had 12 eels in the final three hours pulling out of two eels and missing four good bites. I fed around three quarter of a kilo of dendras worms, a pint of casters and a pint of red maggots. Along with six skimmers, two perch and that solitary gudgeon, I scaled 11lbs 7oz with just 3lbs 1oz being the nearest weight to me but was it good enough to win the whole match? Sadly not, as the two end pegs had 52lbs and 22lbs from the far end of the match length and with one other weight recording just five ounces more. I settled for fourth overall which put me in the money but more importantly for my team, maximum points. Teamwise, we had a mixed day but we still were good enough for third on the day with 33pts which leaves us second in the table with seven more rounds to go. Personally I was very satisfied with my efforts and my net of eels raised a few eyebrows at the weigh in as eel bags of late have been few and far between but as I found out in practice they were back on the scene and for a while in my net.
On the day of this blog I received a phone call earlier in the day from Richard Stringer of the Kent Disabled Anglers Association who asked me if I would like to be a patron of the association. I was rather surprised to be asked but gladly accepted his kind offer and hope to help out where I can over the following seasons. On Saturday 9 October the KDAA will be holding a match that I will be attending along with Bob Nudd, Richard Taylor and Nick Rowe. The event is the John Hollands Memorial Shield Open Match with all proceeds from the match going to the Kent D.A.A and Reels On Wheels. Entry is £20 with the draw time at 8.30am fishing 9.30am to 3.30pm and more details of how to book in can be gained from visiting the www.kentdaa.co.uk website or by calling Richard on 01732 460074. With a coaching lesson midweek at Bury Hill and a match at Hartleylands this Sunday to look forward to plus all the goings on at the fishery, I will have plenty to report on next time. Tight lines, Russ Evans."
“I have been very busy in the last few weeks. We had two demos, first at Bowood House as part of their Dog Days event, the second at Barbury Castle International Horse Show. That was pretty cool – rubbing paws (almost) with some of the country’s top eventers! A lot of the competitors seem to have Jack Russells like me – though not as cute!
I like doing displays, because being so cute the spectators always go “Ahhh” when I race. The weekend after the Barbury Castle display we had a Flyball tournament at the Chilterns show. There were lots of dogs competing and we had two teams entered. I was in one team and Loki (my big, younger brother) was in the other. The division my team was in had some brilliant close racing. The last race was between my team and the top seeded team in the division and whoever won the race, won the division!
My team won the first leg, then the other team won a leg, then they won the third leg, we had to win the next leg to stand a chance of winning the race..... We did it!
It was down to the fifth and deciding leg. It was very tense, this leg would decide the division. They beat us by just a dog length, so winning the race and the division. We came a very creditable second. Loki's team had a three-way tie for third place in their division, which they won because they had the fastest time. All in all, a good days racing.
This last weekend was very busy for me. Thursday evening was HTM training. Friday was Friday HTM clubs summer break party – I won lots of food in the games!
They were doing a display on the Saturday afternoon and someone had pulled out, so Loki and I were asked if we would like to go and take part. Which we did – more food! It was good fun. I was shocked when the audience went, “Ahhh, look at that big dog doing it” when Loki worked. Most of the dogs at Friday club are smaller, so it was different to see a Border Collie working I suppose!
Hu-mum was very pleased with both of us because we worked really well, doing routines we hadn’t done for months. Then on Sunday we had our last flyball training session before the British Flyball Championships. We have two tournaments as warm-ups before the “big one” in three weeks!”
"At flyball competitions (tournaments) teams are divided into divisions according to their speed, usually of six teams. Each team races all the other teams in the division. Each race consists of five legs, with the first team to win three, winning the race. If three or more teams are tied on the number of wins, the team with the fastest time will take the highest place."
Howard says it is essential to channel gundogs' energy
"I am sat on our lorry step at 5.30am at the New Forest Show watching a Cocker pup, Buzz, explore the world. Typically he has the whole park to explore but has instead chosen to play with the laces on a pair of boots that were hidden under the lorry. Buzz has come to the Forest show to try his hand as a demonstrator. I popped him on the arena floor yesterday and to be quite honest the audience didn't really need my commentary, this tenacious little bundle of energy bounced around my feet and when I threw a glove for him he was straight out picked it up and straight back. He is off to his new home on Friday, so fingers crossed that they keep this perfect retrieve going. We did a demo yesterday using Buzz to demonstrate just what you take on when you chose one of the gundog breeds; high energy, high prey drive - to be honest, high bloomin' everything, which is briliant provided you channel all of that drive into something positive.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a 'guest trainer' at a friend of mines in Hertfordshire last week. Avis Boreham runs a training day that is just so much fun to do; we spent the day looking at and discussing various ways that the handlers could improve and develop both their own and the dogs skills, heelwork, recall and delivery to hand being the most common and difficult behaviours to teach a dog to carry out. Enthusiasm and a real energy for knowledge and success is always evident when working with gundog handlers. I'm sure these high energy dogs and breed types are generally chosen by an owner with similar characteristics; put it this way, take on a gundog puppy with a lacklustre approach to its training and you will be faced with some very stark choices, get up, get busy and 'keep training' or lose control of the little racing snake that's hurtling round your front room.
While on the subject of high energy, Annie Buckley, Mullenscotes' Head Trainer, colleage and friend, last week underwent a 'ladies operation'. Annie was told by her surgeon rest, rest and more rest - pfffff! You'd have more chance of a keeping a tigress with a firework tied to her tail still. She was only out of hospital 24 hours before she was on the phone wanting me to send her some work to do. Not being able to do what you live for can weigh very heavily on your whole being. I know that in spite of the cheery smile that right now my friend is really fed up, so any of you like minded gundog geeks out there that have the time please phone, write, send her a text or some flowers. Please, pretty please - anything to stop her phoning and nagging me all the time!"
Delboy was a little against the hand but was still victorious
“With Hartpury over, my attention moved to preparing for the regionals, which is our next big competition, so the three young horses all got an outing this week.
On Wednesday 21st, we took Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) and Dante (Headmore Downtopia) to Pachesham. The aim was not so much to win, as they had had half of the week before off due to Hartpury, but merely to get them out somewhere new before the regionals. Dante was first and, although there were no major mistakes, he was not quite through in the contact and so there were a few little wobbles here and there. He wasn’t being naughty or difficult, but that is what he does when he doesn’t get ridden enough, and these little wobbles resulted in a score of 64.45% in the elementary and a third place. However, it was mission accomplished as he didn’t spook at anything or be silly about anything, so he is on track for the regionals.
Bracks also did an elementary, and when she is a bit fresh she gets silly! She gets a little bit spooky and tries to throw her front legs a bit too high! I managed to keep on top of this in the test, thankfully, and her way of going was very good, scoring 70.21% and winning the class, completing her winter qualification already, and satisfying us that she is on track for the regionals as well.
On the Friday, we took Delboy (Headmore Delegate) to Crofton Manor for his final outing before the regionals. He, much like Dante, goes a little against the hand when he hasn’t had enough work, and so we also had a few wobbles here and there. He won the medium with just under 70% and was just beaten into third in the advanced medium with 66.05%, but he was also well behaved and he didn’t spook at anything, so that was also a good trip out ahead of the regionals.
Although they weren’t at their best due to the lack of work, they still went well and, by the regionals, they will hopefully be back to their best. We will have to wait and see what happens!”
Sharon was not overjoyed about negative forum comments
"This week, or at least the beginning of it has been dominated by WEG talk. I was told by Yogi that I am one of four joint 1st reserves for WEG, I’ve got to be honest I was pretty devastated, particularly as my horse has probably the best form of any this year. I as many are slightly unsure of the reasons why younger/ more inexperienced horses were chosen above all of the reserves but really hope they will go on to succeed in Kentucky.
When you spend the season aiming for these championships and selection it is rather a blow to not succeed, however I am a very positive person and will look forward to either Burghley or Pau whichever it maybe...
Thank you for all the support and kind messages people have sent my team and the comments left on the forums. The trial leg-up mount at Badminton this year had sparked a couple of negative comments and I quote one person 'we don't want Tankers Town in the team, did you see how she started at Badminton, very scary'. For those that follow us would know this is the ONLY time I’ve ever done it and actually he trots calmly through and is as relaxed as any. So no scary starts. Just for the record it's also a very calculated leg up due to timing etc so I was rather bemused for it to be called scary! I do understand that people have their opinion but believe some comments written about the riders and their horses are quite unnecessary. Anyway enough moaning, it is unlike me to moan but it really upsets me and the other team members for that matter!
A trip home
The week has been a busy one as I went up to Newmarket for an important meeting with the bank manager so took a few horses along for the ride. The horses enjoy being back as do I as my Mum is the best cook and rather spoils us which is lovely! I also catch up with my best friends; I always make sure I see them as we are very close. With only a few horses it gives me time to really work on the areas needing longer sessions, so I spent longer than usual working on Kenny’s' submission. This is coming, so hopefully by Blenheim his results will reflect this. I collected Bomber too, after 6 weeks off he is now ready to do a bit more again, aiming for a competition in September... I managed to squeeze in a XC session at Lodge Farm, I took Fly who was excellent, jumping out of a better rhythm now, Brian who was very good, such a good jumper (also for sale as is Fly, Brian is on the horses for sale section and can see a video). I also took Nelson who learns incredibly quickly. He was straight over all the fences and ditches, into the water, off the steps etc. Delighted with him, he will be very good I’m certain.
Tackling hard ground at Brightling
The XC school was due to Brightling Horse Trials at the weekend, I’ve not been for years as was in the middle of July and was often needing rain. I was impressed with the effort they had made as the rain sadly had not touched the ground. I ran Brian who performed his usual good test, an annoying 1 down as jumped a very good round and was superb XC but hesitated (for about a second!) at a very spooky ditch under the trees. I was very pleased with him. Fly excelled himself again and scored 26 in is dressage, one down and clear inside the time XC to win. His owners have sadly said is time to sell him so if anyone is looking for a good eventer/hunter please contact me...
Saving the best
I swapped Harry into the 2* but only performed dressage as he is off to Gatcombe Novice Championships and wasn't risking anything to jeopardise this. He did a very nice test to score 49 which I was happy with. Bertie was in the novice; again I didn't plan to run him XC as I feel this horse is for the future. Parts of his test were brilliant and a little keen in others! The good bits though are very good; soon it will all be very good! He was very cheeky in the show jumping and spooked so violently at the planks that we kind of ran out, much to my surprise. I could only find it amusing though as he was simply having a bit of a laugh and I love him for his cheekiness and character I believe this makes him good. I have sadly ruined his near perfect record though! Had to happen sometime I suppose... I left early on Sunday so had time to ride when we got back (is only 25 minutes away) then combined exercise with socialising when we cycled to the pub! Not a bad way to spend a Sunday...."
"Here we go again...
With only a couple of days to go until the start of the Longines Royal International Horse Show of our Golden Jubilee year, the rollercoaster ride begins again.
A different beast
With an extra day of competition and nearly 20% more horses, riders and spectators at this show, the RIHS is always an entirely different beast from the Derby. With a feature class on every day, and Olympians from the disciplines of jumping, dressage and eventing all competing it promises to be a monumental year... now all we need to do is pray for sun!
Every event organisers’ worst nightmare happened yesterday when it looked for a horrible moment like the entire office staff may be wiped out by some super vile, killer virus from hell… however, after initial foreboding everyone in fact does seem to still be alive and nearly back to normal (a loose terms at the best of times in our office!) although there are still a few comedy symptoms such as the trade stand manager having to wear sunglasses at his computer because one of the lovely symptoms seems to be hypersensitivity to light! Bono eat your heart out!
Tears for ice cream
There were a few other heart-stopping moments too when the it looked like our marquee provider had run out of marquees, due to the unbelievable last minute scramble for trade stands (we have an enormous waiting list that even the most trendy of London restaurants would be proud of!) although not as much as when one of the over stressed team (no names shall be mentioned) actually cried when she thought we’d run out of ice creams.
Shetlands on the wild side
Finally, we had a very special day at Hickstead earlier this week when some students from St Mary’s Catholic School in Croydon came down for a master class in conjunction with Sky Sports Living for Sport and the Youth Sport Trust. English and Irish internationals, my niece Lucy Bunn and David Simpson, put them through their paces including a riding lesson, a trip to the top of the infamous Derby bank and a hilarious game of ‘space hopper’ polo (yes it is as it sounds!) It was fantastic to see new people being introduced to the sport and I was amazed at how fearless they were about getting involved having never ridden before. My all-time highlight of the day was though when I got Lucy and David to ride some of the ponies, yes ponies, not horses, and really talked them up, ‘this is how the professionals do it etc,’ only for Lucy to get tanked out of the ring by a shetland!
The sacred imaginary list
I must go now as there are still a million things to do and my esteemed colleague Catherine has just chastised me with the charming words ‘I don’t care if its on your list, where is this magic list, nothing seems to ever come off this list!’ – so that’s me told! Back to work..."
“Over the 7th – 11th July the two most prestigious farriery competitions, and most sought after titles, took place on either side of the Atlantic. In the UK, the British Farriers and Blacksmiths Association hosted the PROFEET Royal Show and National Show Championships at the Royal Festival of the Horse. In extremely hot conditions farriers and farriery apprentices from across the UK took part in a gruelling four days of competition to compete in a series of forging and shoeing tests for the title of Royal Show Champion and National Champion.
Gary Darlow, from Over Peover in Cheshire, accumulated the most points over the first three days of competition to be crowned Royal Show Champion. Reserve Royal Show Champion was David Smith from Over Norton in Oxfordshire.
The PROFEET National Championships held on the Sunday is a single class consisting of competitors making and fitting a concave ‘hunter style’ shoe to a foot and making two specimen shoes to the judge’s specifications – a fully fullered deep seated bar shoe and a double calkin all in just 75 minutes. The standard was exceptionally high across the class with 3rd, 4th and 5th place being decided on a tie-break and just 1.8 marks separating 1st and 8th place! Victorious, and going one better than the day before, David Smith came out on top to be crowned 2010 National Champion, receiving the Mustad New Century Cup, a Gold Medal and a cheque for £1,000 from sponsors PROFEET. David’s striker, Andy Martin, from Chipping Norton, was Reserve Champion. I finished 8th overall in the National Championships which was a good individual result.
Brits go stateside
On Sunday, across the Atlantic in Calgary, the inaugural World Championship Blacksmiths Competition at the Calgary Stampede had reached it’s final day of competition with just ten out of 56 competitors from 12 countries qualifying for the final shoeing rounds. At Stoneleigh texts and phone calls were hurriedly being made back and forth so we could keep up to date with how each other were getting on! UK representatives gained four of the final ten places – Steven Beane (Northallerton, Yorkshire), Ian Gajczak (East Lothian), David Varini (By Dalry, Ayrshire) and Derek Gardner (Penrith, Cumbria).
Yorkshire’s Steven ‘Beanie’ Beane, in second place going into the final ten, executed a fine display of forging and shoeing to secure the title of World Champion Blacksmith for the second year running, beating America’s Jake Engler by 32 points in the final competition rounds. Derek Gardner finished third and David Varini (current European Champion) fourth overall. A brilliant result for the UK all round and a real privilege to be able to know and compete alongside these farriers.
Apprentice success and the price rise
This week Harry and Robbie went to the Royal Welsh Show to compete. Hard work and forging practise has truly paid off with Robbie winning the Donkey Trimming class and fifth in the 1st and 2nd Year Apprentices and Harry winning the 3rd and 4th Year Apprentice class!
Our new price list has been implemented and, thankfully, seems to have been received relatively well. We haven’t lost any customers and even seemed to have gained a few in recent weeks! Business is going well and we are keeping busy, the summer holidays are now upon us and therefore more horses and ponies are out and about at competitions and shows.
Farriers and vets
We work closely with our local veterinary practises and quite often receive referrals for remedial work to be undertaken. When a horse is referred to us it is normally for short term care of the feet to help with a particular problem or ailment. It is always worth contacting the existing farrier wherever possible to gain further knowledge about the animal as they often know the horse better and this can result in you working together toward a better outcome overall. I would encourage all farriers to speak to the existing farrier if a horse is referred to them – we have been in a position recently whereby one of our clients horses were shod by a different farrier whilst at a veterinary clinic (for problems not foot related!) which resulted in lost shoes and damage to the hoof wall due to a different style of shoeing. We knew the horse was prone to pulling shoes and had we been able to discuss this we would have been able to pass this information on. The horse is now back under our care and the owner has incurred additional foot care expenses whilst we have got the horses feet back in good condition. I would also encourage vets to speak to the current farrier before referring the horse to be shod by the farrier utilised by their practise – by working together we can all achieve better results for the horses (and owners) involved.
Recruiting a new apprentice
As Harry will be entering his fourth, and final, year in September (hard to believe time has gone so quickly) it is time for us to start thinking about a new apprentice. We try to space our apprentices about two years apart and starting to look early can give you the pick of the bunch! Competition for apprenticeships is fierce but as an ATF (Approved Training Farrier) choosing the right one can be hard! We like apprentices to come on work experience so that we can gain an insight into the type of person they are and their approach to horses and work in general. The raceyard can provide us with some lively animals and therefore it is imperative that we have someone who is quiet, confident and firm when handling these animals. We also like applicants to go out and spend time with our current apprentices – this is an opportunity for them to ask Harry and Robbie the questions they may not like to ask us!! Four years is a long time and it is really important we work together as a team and get along well. In the next few weeks we will start sifting through CV’s received so far...”
"It's been a busy year! Having a new partnership meant that I wanted to go to as many competitions as possible. It's ok when horses are going well at home but it's a different story when you go out - horses react to different atmospheres and no matter how good you are with nerves, riders always react to being away from home. I couldn't have wished for a better start to my year, we were going out and rarely getting under 70%, our partnership grew and grew and it was made clear that I was actually in contention for WEG (the World Equestrian Games). I was selected to ride in Germany. It was an okay trip, the first day I completely over-rode and made a few costly mistakes, although I ended up third to two top German riders.
Then just before our National Championships at Hickstead I caught chicken pox! I'm sure that anyone who has had it as an adult can sympathise with me that it is the most horrible feeling, I was so sick, had no energy and was stuck in bed for a week! Despite this, and much to the selectors' amazement I was determined to ride because I didn't want my selection for WEG to be compromised. I obviously didn't ride that well but I did my absolute best. I was third the first day and second on the individual day with 69%, which I was over the moon with considering the circumstances. Hartpury was my last chance. I didn't think my chances for WEG were great to be honest because of me being so ill at Hickstead and I was still lacking a bit of energy and fitness. I ended up third on all three days - it was too close for comfort with only six marks between first and third on the individual day! JP was a superstar, he behaved impeccably.
WEG team announced
On the last day we had a meeting about the team for WEG. Everyone was so nervous, there were no dead certs, it was so open and there were so many combinations that had done well throughout the year. I thought that with JP and I being such a new partnership they would take people who are more established. They announced the team of seven and then it came to reserve... It seemed like such a long wait but they called out my name! I was shocked! It hadn't sunk in even an hour later. I am so so pleased to be part of it, even if I don't get to go I am so proud of JP and our achievement in our first season together. Next year it's the Europeans and London 2012 after that... So who knows...?
I have just created a brand new website. Please click here, have a look at it and let me know what you think!
“The last few weeks have been busy as usual, but I have recently had my own chance in the limelight presenting the new BHS training DVDs. Working with Equestrian Vision, we have filmed a new series of DVDs to help riders train for their stage one, two and three and PTT exams.
In front of the camera
I was helped with a team of examiners, including Jo Winfield, Becky Johnston and Sally Williams along with a great film crew and it certainly was fascinating for me to have a go in front of the camera. The films will cover everything from stable management and theory to every aspect of the riding and teaching exams and hopefully some of them will be ready in time for people to buy at Burghley. These come at a time where the format of exams is changing and becoming more modular, and hopefully these will help candidates through that.
Brave guinea pigs
The pupils taking part in the film are real life candidates and some do fail as well as pass, so it really does give the viewer an excellent insight into what is needed to pass the exam and gives a good idea of what the standard required is. I also have to say that the guinea pig riders and instructors who took part were incredibly brave to put there necks on the chopping block.
We did have a huge amount of fun filming and I think we have enough outtakes to make another DVD. One poor girl had to jump the same final jump eight times before we got the right shot. The biggest hilarity of the day came during one candidate, Jethro’s, PTT exam. When Jethro was asking his pupils to get on, I was commentating and unwittingly said to camera that “Jethro is now mounting his rider”, this caused the director and crew to melt into fits of laughter and filming came to an abrupt halt.
Since my last blog I have also finished as Chairman of the BHS and have a lot more free time for my true love of teaching and riding. I have no horse at the moment and have been banned by friends like Carol Broad from getting another youngster… Apparently, I haven’t got enough time. They could be right as I am moving this summer and with my Where to Train inspections and the ‘I’ exams approaching, I am going to be busy.”