Alex Hua Tian’s diary: taking my riding and road safety test

  • After all the excitement of last week (Express Eventing and Tweseldown), it’s been absolute bliss having a quiet moment to get some chores done.

    Now that I want to start teaching, and with the whole world descending into a health and safety spiral, I have been expressly told that I have to be covered by insurance before I begin. A spattering of research later, it seems that going through the BHS and gaining the PTT qualification would be the most effective way of achieving this.

    However, that in itself poses a couple of issues; to do my PTT, I have to do my BHS stage 3 and to do my stage 3, I have to do my riding and road safety exam. So, on a mildly damp summer’s day, I arrived at Green Cottage Riding Centre on the edge of the New Forest. Having been at Express Eventing over the weekend, then Tweseldown on Monday, revision was somewhat last minute and very much crammed in. However, I am very proud and happy to say I got full marks on the theory section!

    Next came the simulated riding road section. This consisted of a large field, lots of poles outlining a busy “suburban” road plan, a few hazards and three eagle-eyed examiners. Riding a lovely coloured mare called Venus, I swivelled in my saddle to make sure all angles were covered, and signalled with both hands until I was blue in the face from concentration and the pressure. I successfully negotiated the water trough and remembered to signal well before the hazard that was the parked car. The immediate response from the examiners was a relieving, “yes you’ve passed!”

    Finally, we were trusted to bomb around on the roads! The last section was a brief ride on a “real road” with every step still being observed by the examiners. With a lot more time to think about what you had to do I found it far less brain taxing and intense than the simulated test. We even managed to break into a trot! Eventually after a sit down and a chat, we were all passed!

    Cross-country schooling

    Poor Violet has been slightly overshadowed by the exciting comings and goings of the other horses since she arrived with me. Only being four, her life is largely very routine, quietly schooling, hacking and jumping. So when we pulled her out of her stable and loaded her into the truck, she must have assumed that something out of the ordinary was going on!

    I always wonder how horses are going to react to their first cross-country fence. Taken completely out of their comfort zone to a new place (Tweseldown in this case) and presented with obstacles never before seen. it’s amazing that some horses take to it like a duck to water.

    Violet has always been bold at home and has never been particularly fussed by any fillers we’ve thrown at her and cross country was just the same. In fact she threw herself over the solid rustic fences with such enthusiasm and gusto she nearly jumped me off!

    Just in case we came across any issues, I bullied Mark into riding Fiddle to give us a lead. Violet got so over excited about playing follow my leader that she was over the ditch before she had a chance to make a fuss and pretty much jumped on top of Mark going into the water. By the end of the session she was happily jumping over big open ditches and off a fairly large drop into water. Not bad for a four-year-old’s first time!

    This coming weekend is Aston-le-Walls near Banbury. For me, the advanced class at Aston signals the start of the build-up for the autumn season for my four-star horses. Maggie’s plans after that are Hartpury, Highclere then the World Games in Kentucky! Fiddle’s are also Hartpury, maybe Highclere and then Burghley. So very exciting times to come.

    Only one slight concern… this weekend is the confirmation date for WEG and the Chinese Federation is yet to confirm that everything is in place. Finger’s crossed they have it all in hand!



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