HI, my name is Melanie Linton and I’m 17 years old. I’m currently completing the Level 2 Technical Certificate in Equine Care at CAFRE, Enniskillen campus.
I always knew I wanted to work with horses but I needed to get a bit more knowledge and experience before looking for jobs. This is a one year, post GCSE course and covers a lot of the practical skills needed to work in a yard.
Equine health, feeding, handling horses and, of course, riding are included in the programme. The week is divided up with riding, practical classes and time in the classroom doing theory.
At Enniskillen there is a racing yard, an equitation yard and a breeding yard on campus.
In the Level 2 course there is an option to do riding. Students can choose to ride out in the racing yard and in the equitation yard. I chose to ride on the equitation yard. There are horses to suit all levels of rider and I am encouraged to ride horses that I would never normally choose to ride. We do flatwork as well as jumping and I feel my riding skills have improved.
There are also non-riding modules such as Transportation of Horses and Competition Grooming, which some of my classmates take.
My work placement was great. I worked at a riding school called Lodge Equine Stables in County Armagh for five weeks as part of my Level 2 course. I did a mixture of yard work, preparing horses for lessons and helping in lessons. I also learned a bit about how a riding school operates and was able to get involved in other aspects of work with horses. This has been an excellent learning experience.
Living away from home for the first time was hard at times but also fun. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who all have the same interest in horses. The staff are supportive and available to help in any way.
My time in Enniskillen has reinforced my desire to work with horses. I feel more skilled and prepared for work and I hope to find a job in the near future.
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