Introducing Paige Goulding – Level 3 Diploma in Equine student at Croft End

Well, it’s back to Croft End! Term starts again, and there are lots of new faces around, as the first years arrive. They are all eager to learn and the returning students are ready to help and advice the best we can. I have progressed from the Level 2 Diploma to the Level 3, and I am now in my third year at the outreach centre. My long term goal is to work as a live-in groom as I feel that living on site means that you are able to build a really close bond with the horses. 

I have already achieved two PRIDE values awards, one for being “kind to the first years and going the extra mile to include them in conversations” and the other for being “helpful during my lunch hour by offering to help a member of staff that had just finished a jumping lesson their own horse”. 

At the beginning of the induction week, we all teamed up to help maintain the cleanliness of the yard, with the 2nd years pointing the new students in the right direction and helping them with anything they were stuck on. Myself and the other returning students act as Yard mentors and spend time 1:1 with the new students, which then feeds in to helping set their yard targets. It also gave us all a chance to interact and get to know each other.  

On the Thursday of our induction week, we received a motivational talk from the owner of Croft End, Pat Shepard) about her personal experiences from beginning in a caravan to now owning a large British Horse Society (BHS) approved equestrian centre with 63 horses. Pat also gave us advice on our future career paths, which I really benefited from.

On the last day of our induction week, we went on a trip to Extreme Air where we had a great time socialising together and it was also a great way to build up our fitness, stamina and core stability, as balance is a key aspect of riding horses.

On Monday, one of the centre’s Employer Mentors, a British Show jumping accredited coach Andrew Hamilton, visited Croft End as the first of his monthly visits. We observed his jump lessons and helped with course building, striding distances and discussed the use of different types of fences.