I’ve finally made the journey over to my new school, here in Spain.
Saying goodbye to my wonderful trainers and horses back in the UK was a real challenge, but something that I’m glad that I did.
The weather out here in Andalusia is uniformly stunning, although I must say that it took me a while to get used to the terrific heat that beats down from about 10am everyday – it was certainly a lot easier to muck out horses in grey old England, still I can’t really complain!
The house that the Equestrian school has set me up with is really quite charming. Built in the same 15th century style of the stables, there’s a feeling of authenticity within the tan-brown timber supports and the wattle and daub walls that somehow makes me feel like I’ve travelled back in time. Similarly traditional, but not as comforting, is the state of the safety gear here at the stables. Although this riding school has been financially profitable for a few decades, it appears that none of those funds made it back into the School’s supply of ropes, safety gear or saddles.
As a result of this lack of modern equipment, one of the first tasks that I have undertaken here is to ensure that the school is properly equipped with the right kind of equipment that will keep both the horses and riders safe.
Thankfully, with the internet and international shipping at my disposal, I’ve got access to dozens of great sites selling discounted sportswear and end of line stock, so picking out the right kinds of jodhpurs, helmets and silks has been a breeze. Although the financials of the School are very healthy overall, I’m making a conscious effort to treat this riding school as if it were my own – so saving costs wherever possible is at the top of my agenda.
With the new equipment winging its way over to me as we speak, there’s a new feeling around the School, partly due to the hiring and firings that I’ve enacted since I’ve taken over here.
It was never my intention to make so many changes upon my arrival here, however I feel it was necessary in order to instil the correct ethos into my school. Although I was a relative novice to the Equestrian industry when I first opened my school, I understood the basic values that I wanted my trainers to exhibit to the horses and our students. Respect is, first and foremost, at the top of my agenda. Respect for every student that walks through our gates and respect for every horse that we take care of.
When I arrived here a couple of weeks, I spent some time shadowing the trainers that had been holding in the fort for the last few years. A few of them were clearly very passionate about the art of horse riding, as well as the development of the students. However, there were a small handful of staff that lacked the necessary tact to work in one of my schools.