Take Your Child To Work Day at On Thursday 24 April 2008 Summary Over Dalkeith Stables is a riding school and livery yard at Rumbling Bridge, Kinross.
It’s main business is teaching people to ride and looking after horses and ponies.
It is owned and run by Katie and Shaun Gillanders.
The stables has been built up by Kate and Shaun over 3 years after they bought the small ex dairy farm. The farm consists of 36 acres and the stables rents a further 4 acres.
Of these 36 acres, 1 acre is buildings, roads and grounds and 7 acres are wooded.
In total the stables has 32 acres of grazing. The stables has 15 riding school ponies, three liveries and Katie and Shaun have 7 horses of their own. So what do you need to do to run a riding school as a business.
The law makes us do some things, care of the horses has us do other things and then getting and looking after customers has us doing yet more things. Today you will experience the following three jobs.
Maybe you could decide which job you would like to do best. A Groom This job involves looking after the horses and ponies.
Bringing them in and feeding them, checking them in the field, mucking out the stables, getting them ready for lessons and sometimes riding them to school them.
Basically everything to do with the horses daily care. You do not need qualifications for this job but you can choose to take exams and this would improve your job prospects.
You do need to get on-the-job experience to demonstrate your skills to a future employer.
Not all stables provide further training but we do. A groom will always need to work long and anti-social hours and be prepared to work in the rain and snow and do hard physical labour.
They will always be answerable to a yard manager. A Yard Manager This job involves over-seeing the smooth running of the yard and being responsible for all the “invisible” things like the feeding program and buying in the feed, the worming program, the vaccination program, farrier, and insurance. You do not need qualifications for this job but you do need a large amount of skills and the best way to get this maybe through exams.
It can be very scary being responsible for the yard and everything in it and a large amount of experience will help you deal with it.
You do not get the chance for further training unless you look for it and organise it yourself (remember you’re the one in charge). You will probably work normal working hours but some weekend work is required.
You will not be required to do any hard physical labour and you will not need to work outside in awful weather conditions. Riding Instructor This job involves assessing peoples riding skills, preparing lesson plans and delivering those lessons safely in order to improve your customers riding skills.
Qualifications are a very good idea as they ensure that you can deliver the best riding skills.
To do the job you need to like people and enjoy teaching.
You also need to understand what good riding looks like and be able to identify what people are doing wrong when they ride and what they need to change.
The more experience you have the better. A good riding stables will encourage you to keep training as there is always someone who knows more about riding and horses than you. What the Law has us do The 1960 and 1970 Riding Establishment Acts make it illegal for us (or anyone else) to teach someone to ride on our ponies for money or favours unless we have a riding school licence.
So if you have some horses and want to teach friends to ride for payment, you have to be licenced. But how do you get licenced? Well licences are administered and issued by your local council.
In our case Perth and Kinross Council.
Each year we have to fill in a long form telling the council who our vet is and how many riding school horses and ponies we have and some other stuff and send them a cheque.
We also have to send a copy of our public liability insurance certificate (more of this later).
The council then pays a Vet to come to the stables and check our facilities and check all our riding school ponies and horses.
If the Vet thinks we look after our horses well and we have safe riding facilities (safe for horses and people) then he or she will recommend that the council issues us with a licence.
We can then legally teach people to ride. What’s the public liability insurance? Because riding can be a dangerous sport and people can hurt themselves and even die the law insists that we take out insurance against members of the public hurting themselves badly because we didn’t do our job properly.
We go to a specialist insurance broker who finds us an insurance policy that means the council is happy that we are protected and therefore members of the public are protected.
This costs even more money than the licence.
And it has just gone up again! Is that it for laws? Almost.
There are a huge number of laws (some people call them red tape) which we have to follow.
Other very important ones for us are Health and Safety laws.
Because our customers come to us we have to make sure that we are not putting them in danger.
Because riding can be dangerous anyway, the public liability insurance helps, but we also have to make sure that our building don’t fall down on top of someone or children don’t hurt themselves some other way.
That is why we had the climbing frame put up.
When children come for lessons they might have to wait while one lesson finishes.
They could do this in the stables but might be unsupervised by their parents and could be hurt.
Most tend to play on the swings so they are a long way away from the ponies.
When we had our big stack of hay bales we wouldn’t let children climb on them.
This was because we couldn’t let anyone hurt themselves falling off the bales (and also because the bales were actually horse feed and we don’t think you would like to eat your tea after our horses had stepped on it so why should our horses like it after you’ve stepped on their tea.) How and Why we care for our Horses Without our horses no-one could have riding lessons.
We therefore have to look after our horse so that every week when you come for lessons they are willing and able to have you ride on them.
That’s simple really, if they aren’t well then you can’t ride them.
We therefore have to know a lot about each of our horses and also a lot about horse health.
Every horse is different and so we have to know when a horse is looking and behaving like its well or not.
But we also need to think about keeping our horses well and able to work for us for many years.
The best riding school ponies are happy ponies and so we have to keep them happy.
Just think about Bonnie.
When she is happy and content she does everything she is asked and does it looking very pretty.
If she is feeling out of sorts and a bit grumpy she tries to refuse to do everything.
Bonnie is an exception and because we know Bonnie so well we know when she is feeling grumpy and behaving lazily.
We would also immediately know if she was unwell or in pain.
All our horses are a bit like Bonnie and so each one needs a special care plan. If you go into our feed room you will see our feed chart.
Every horse we have is listed on the chart and exactly what they get for their breakfast and tea and every special quirk about their feeding habits is on there.
We could both be struck ill and in hospital and a complete stranger who knew which one each of our ponies was could come to our stables and feed them all correctly.
The pictures on the website would also mean that anyone with a computer and internet connection could find out what each pony or horse looked like and use the picture to get the correct feed for the correct horse. Feeding is very important because horse have very sensitive tummies.
Horses are ruminants and have very long guts and any sudden changes in the food they eat can make them very ill.
Horses get a thing call Colic which can be fatal.
Snowie got this, but that had nothing to do with a change in her diet, horses have a greater chance of getting colic when they get older. Mostly the horses can live off grass but in winter when the grass doesn’t grow (or is covered in water because of all the rain we had) we have to put dried grass (hay or haylage) into the fields for the horses to munch on. Is Food the only Important Thing? No, horses are herd animals that like to roam over large areas to graze.
They are sociable and make strong friendships.
These days there aren’t many wild animals that catch and eat horses in Scotland so we don’t need to protect them from wolves but we do need to make sure they can’t wander onto roads where cars can be just as dangerous as predators.
Our fencing needs to be strong enough to keep them into the fields we are happy for them to graze on. We also need to make sure that there are no poisonous plants in the horses fields that they could eat by mistake.
Most people know that Ragwort is very poisonous to horses but there are a large number of other plants like Yew trees.
If a horse eats part of a Yew tree it can die before it even finishes eating a mouthful. You can also of course over feed a horse and make it ill that way.
When the grass gets very lush, horses can get fat and then they can get an illness called laminitis.
This is really painful for the horses and needs a vet to treat it. Is that it? — Most yards will take you and train you themselves if they think you have the personality and ability.
You can get a job with no qualifications if you work well around horses and then through on the job training you can earn qualifications if you work hard. Most employers will expect you to work hard to get qualifications once you start working for them. There are two different types of qualifications. Nowadays you can go to University or college to get NVQs, an HND, or degree in Equine Studies but most employers will still regard your personality and ability to work well with horses as the most important thing. The other type of qualification is from The British Horse Society.
You can do different exams with them, Stage 1, Stage 2, Riding and Road Safety, PTT, Stage 3, ITT and Stage 4.
These exams are the most highly regarded ones in the horse industry and will take you furthest. Working with horses involves extremely long hours and does not pay well.
Only work with horses if you don’t mind working very long and anti-social hours and don’t want to earn a lot of money.
If you really want a career with horses then you need experience.
To get this you have to be prepared to volunteer to work for a stable for free and get the experience, because if you have a lot of experience of working with horses you will be more likely to get a job in a stables. For any more information visit our website HYPERLINK “http://www.overdalkeithstables.co.uk” www.overdalkeithstables.co.uk or call Katie or Shaun on 01577 840740.
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