For those of you who can't be bothered reading the whole post - I had a super super day and I'm really hoping I passed all the sections :) It felt good.
Off to the beginning. After fairly hectic morning teaching I set off to catch a train to Gloucester. I still had about 5 lessons plans for presentations to write so did a couple while travelling. Arrived at the hotel around 9pm, ordered myself a massive fruit platter and sat down to finish off writing the plans.
As is my somewhat stupid custom (I did that at school, Uni and always really before every single exam and it became a habit of sorts - no matter how prepared I am I feel the need to read things up or else it seems to me I am not doing enough) I read until about 1am or thereabouts until my eyes started swearing at me.
Got myself comfortable in an expanse of the hotel bed (think it was a king king size!) and enjoyed a very short sleep.
My alarm rang at 6am as I had one more lesson plan to write but I decided against doing anything that involved getting out of that lovely lovely bed! Had my phone on snoozes so it rang every 3 minutes or so - if my neighbours heard it they probably hated me silently ;)
Dragged myself from underneath the covers about 10 to 7, it was drizzling outside but had a nice relaxing view from my room's window.
Geared myself up and popped downstairs to meet my taxi driver who was taking me to Huntley School of Equitation for the exam.
Got there just in time for the briefing at 8am. There was 10 of us taking the exam and we were divided into groups as normal at any other BHS exams.
The only difference was that we were given numbers at random and we drew the lecture subjects and types of lessons at random too.
The funny thing was, I drew mine, went through normal 'name etc' and the Chief Examiner says to me 'oh and Wiola, don't worry about your lecture, I read your website and I know you were worried about it'...Couldn't help but laugh, never had any examiner reading my blog before!
So here is what I drew out for myself (I may have gotten the times a bit wrong, don't remember exactly and I misplaced my notes! I think I left them in the car of fun Irish instructor who kindly gave me a lift to Gloucester once we were done - Kate M., if you are reading this, have a look in your boot please ;)
8.45 - 11.15: LECTURE & EQUITATION THEORY
My lecture topic was 'Physical and mental preparation for a session'. Now, I didn't write a lecture plan on this one so had to do so in 10 minutes, scribbled something quickly but was pretty confident I would be fine with the subject. And I reckon it went rather well :)
The Equitation Theory questions followed, there was nothing I didn't feel confident discussing.
Apart from one question which someone else was asked in my group and which we later found out became a bit of a nemesis of this section...
So the question was: 'How much difference do you want to see in between a working trot and a Medium trot at Elementary level?' Now, you may think the answer will lie in explaining the amount of collection, the frame, length of stride etc etc and yet we tried that and to every single answer all we got was 'Yes, but HOW MUCH?'. Ok, so is there some sort of a secret equation you can use to actually quantify that difference?
Some of my questions included:
- what does a rider need (in terms of qualifying scores) to compete at Novice BE (so the answer is: 3 clear rounds XC at BE100 - old Pre-Novice with no more than 16 penalty points show-jumping (excluding time faults) )
- explain what the term 'above the bit' means and how to improve/work on a horse going that way
- use of a triple barr in a grid (I liked this one;)
- movements required at Elementary level dressage
- how to improve the quality of the horse's canter
- how to introduce lateral work into horse's training
- describe a training programme for a rider preparing for his first BE90 (Intro)
- walking XC courses - risk assessment (types of jumps, ground condition, weather etc)
Can't remember any more now but I answered all and I am confident I made mo mistakes there. I guess we will have to see how it looks on paper!
11.45 - 12.30: DRESSAGE LESSON
This one started with a little problem. I was unaware that we had to prepare lessons plans for the ridden sessions, I thought it was for the lectures only. So a quick chat with examiner and I said I would just tell him my initial lesson plan after being briefed and take it from there. He agreed, phew!
My brief went something along the lines: "This is L. on D. and they are competing unaffiliated dressage. They are now wanting to move onto affiliated Novice BD, assess the horse's paces and training, encourage the rider to have a go at affiliated competitions, pinpoint problems and work towards getting rider ready for a Novice test bearing in mind the Scales Of Training'.
The way it worked was that we had 5-8 minutes to assess the rider and horse combination and then we had another chat with the examiner. He asked what we found and how was our lesson plan going to change so we can apply relevant work.
My rider was an absolutely lovely lady on her own very promising horse BUT their major problem was that she rode him front to back, horse's back stiff, lack of acceptance of the bit - basically lack of fundamentals so I turned my plan upside down and told the examiner we would focus primarily on developing more suppleness and work on the rhythm of the trot as well as rider's position.
That rider and that horse were the easiest pair I have EVER worked with - it was as if every single correction I made caused a text book effect! The rider finished her lesson totally inspired and the horse ...well, loved it. He was trotting long and low but all of a sudden showing these cat like paces in him and a lot of promise for more.
To top it all up the rider liked it so much she now wants to bring the horse for lessons with me :) I think they would do well affiliated in no time if she makes sure she has suppleness first with that horse before asking for more.
12.30 -1.00 XC LESSON
Private XC lesson with a rider preparing for her Stage IV exam. That was sheer fun, horse improved 100% (never underestimate praise. We started off with horse so behind the leg you may as well not use it, ears back and hand break on but with a lot of 'good boys' , some tweaks in rider's position and a way of riding and he was quickly transformed into a much more willing animal).
BUSINESS MANAGEMENT THEORY
Possibly the easiest part of all although I didn't think this was my forte. The examiner taking this section made it really work by encouraging us to discuss various ideas and it took a form of a an easy chat on all things to do with running a yard. Again, don't think I made any mistakes there.
SHORT BREAK awaiting my next session. They had these super sofas in their briefing room. Bliss. I also used this time to write my lessons plans for my next class and lunge lessons.
CLASS JUMPING LESSON
Potentially the only section I don't feel 100% positive about because I ran out of time and didn't include all the content I wanted in the lesson. However, I went with the speed the riders learnt what we were doing and I didn't think I could have sped things up anymore so we'll just have to see. I could have worked to a slightly different plan or amend it quicker but hey ho. I really liked the way they improved and how the horses loved that change.
Think if I was to make a single comment based on what I saw today I would say: please praise your horses, there are no machines and they do it for you because they want to please you. Appreciate this and 'talk with your aids' rather than 'shout' and 'bully'.
There is this quote I once read.
16.45 LUNGE LESSON
I am never really worried about these and think they are my strong point and sure enough it went well. Unless I did something they didn't like (and you can fail for some peculiar things indeed) I am confident about this one. My brief was to improve the seat of a rider who was working towards her Stage IV. Very enjoyable session but I was rather shattered by then.
Napped throughout the entire journey back to London.
10 days for the results to come by post.