Roland’s nags and nails: going back to school

  • I have just finished my first week of a one-month college block, having completed a two-month trial with my training farrier, Kris Parsons.

    The farriery apprenticeship is mainly based “on the job” but, for a small percentage of the time, I attend Moreton Morrell agriculture college where I am expected to pass a competency standard.

    If I fail the competency standard I will be returned to my training farrier in disgrace, be dropped back six months and removed from the current “intake”. As this is my first block of college, there is less likelihood of that occurring but, already, the work is piling on and I need to knuckle down.

    Half the day is spent in the classroom where anatomy, conformation, horse handling, IT and business studies are taught before we are let loose on the forge for tool making and shoe making. As this is the very beginning of the course, we are only studying the very basics and are not yet working on any horses. However, my course folder lays out the next four years and, even by the next college block in October, I can see that it starts to get very involved.

    My fellow class mates, shown in the picture, are a good bunch of guys (and one girl). There is a wide range of capabilities and experience between us, some having had many more than the two months experience I have had with my training farrier.

    However, we all have a shared sense of achievement and this is because we’ve made it to the “start gates” of the farriery apprenticeship. Only one in five people usually get this far and the odds this year were even higher as only half the normal places were available.

    Finally, I’ve been utterly impressed with the commitment and standards shown by both tutors and apprentices alike. As I dash from one lesson to another carrying my text book, my green, yellow, black and red folders, I am reminded of my school days very strongly, even though they were a long time ago. If anyone’s seen my ruler, please let me know and does anyone know why the library is now called the learning resource centre?

    Until next week,



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