Cadet Blog: Week 8 - Courtney Foale

As the Cadets enter their final few weeks of the Boot Camp portion of the Cadetship, they are putting the final touches on the skills they’ve learned. For Courtney Foale that includes growing her new-found confidence while riding and learning more about horse anatomy.

Week 8 of the Explorer Cadetship Program has been an extremely interesting and challenging week for me. Monday to Thursday was the same routine with theory and riding classes and then on Friday we had both an anatomy class in the morning and another session with David King on equine rescue where we carried out some based on real life scenarios.

On Monday I was able to get to ride with the advanced riders out on the grass and on the track as well. This was a big highlight for me because in these past eight weeks I have learned to overcome some confidence issues with my riding, and I owe a lot of this new found confidence from not only the amazing riding teachers but also from the support of the other students in this program. The ongoing feedback from the teachers I found has helped my riding skills expand so much to where I was allowed to ride not just by myself but following a pair of the advanced riders around the track. I knew that by being given this opportunity that the teachers could also see the confidence in myself that I am feeling.

Before the anatomy class on Friday I was quite nervous about what I was about to see, I knew going in that we were going to get to see some legs, a set of lungs and also a heart. The first 10 minutes of the class was quite confronting seeing the parts of the horse on the table in front of us and I think everyone was a bit taken back by this, not just myself. I did think about leaving, but I am so proud of myself for staying because I learned so much in that class and really felt like I now have a great understanding of how a horses tendons and ligaments all interact together to help the horse move.

One of the most interesting parts of this class was being shown what a horse actually does when it flips it and chokes down in a race. In the few years that I have been working in the racing industry I had heard the choking down term before. O had worked with horses who have had this problem but never fully understood exactly what they were doing. To now know exactly what this term means I feel helps me become a more knowledgeable horse person, which will help me in my future.

The second class with David King from the NSW Emergency services was brilliant. We got to put the fake horse into a box and then played out a few different scenarios, in which we had to get the horse safely out of the box. We also got to see how the SES can lift a horse up off all fours to get them of situations. This was so interesting to listen about and see happen in person. I am very grateful for the time David King spent teaching us about emergency horse rescue, I hope I never have to put any of it in practice but I feel now that in an emergency I could offer help and be confident in myself.

I am very excited for the last two weeks of the Boot Camp part of the program before starting my first placement at a large racing stables in Melbourne. For me personally, the Cadetship has been an amazing life changing experience. I have gained so much new knowledge, more confidence, new friends and also such a new larger outlook on the thoroughbred racing industry. I am so grateful for having been selected for the Cadetship and for all the wonderful work that Lindy and the TAFE teachers do for us.