This blog is sponsored by the PRO FEET range of hoof care products from NAF

I’ve just finished my second college block, so this week I will be back in the saddle. To be more precise, I’ll be somewhere under the saddle, hoping that my fitness returns quickly as my thighs do their discos trembles. It’s amazing how quickly you lose fitness and three weeks at college without a horse to work on will mean it’s gonna hurt for the first few days!

This college block was a “gateway” block. Fail the exams and you cannot pass through to the second year. The exams are made up of a shoemaking practical exam and a written paper. I have already been told I passed the shoemaking exam, but await the results for my written exam which will be posted to me sometime over the next two weeks. All being well, I’ll pass and will return to college next May for another intense three weeks of lectures and exams.

In the meantime, I will be back with Kris Parsons, my employer and training farrier. He’ll continue my education and begin to introduce me to new aspects of farriery. As was the case when I returned from my last block at college, I expect I’ll be slightly off the boil and need to tune myself back into the tasks that I was mastering before I went to college.

I will also have to find time to complete the assignments and homework the college have set. Evenings and weekends will have to be sacrificed and so there really is no let up. Furthermore, much of the work has to be completed ahead of the field officer visit.

Each apprentice has a “mentor” employed by the National Farrier Training Agency to monitor progress in the workplace. I need ticks in the box from him otherwise there’ll be nasty words written, so I’ll have to get a wriggle on as he’s due to see me three months before I return to college.

Finally, December is in sight and that will mark the end of my first year and the completion of 25% of my training. Time is flying by and I know that in no time at all I’ll be back off to college again. I’d better start my first assignment then: “Write about and draw eight conformational abnormalities and explain how they can affect a horse’s gait”

Until next week,

Roland

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