Letters from Christie: Getting the green light for ceremonial duties.
March has been a pretty crazy month!
Things are finally starting to feel like they are getting back to normal but feeling unsure whether to start planning and practicing for everything to be put back into another lockdown and to be put on hold again.
At work we have had the green light for some form of ceremonial duties to go ahead for the year. We have begun training for Royal Windsor Horse show at which we perform The Musical Drive. I have been asked to ride Number One position for B sub section. It has been a very long time since I have ridden on the drive due to the saddlers covering leg over duties meaning they keep their feet on the floor so they can attend quickly to any problems with the horses or harness during the drive. I had to quickly re-learn where we would be going, which I found is like learning to ride a bike; Its incredible that I could still remember the drills and directions after being away from riding for so long and found myself riding on auto pilot!
So, with the start of ceremonial duties in sight, I have found myself working a lot more with the military kit. The past year I have been incredibly lucky to have the time to concentrate on my apprenticeship due to the military harness not going out on parade. I am thoroughly enjoying the military work at the moment due to the young horses ‘passing out’ meaning they have been broken into harness and are now deemed fit and appropriate for draught work. At this point the young horses are fitted for their own ‘headcollar’ which is the equivalent of a bridle in civilian saddlery. This is one of my favourite jobs in the workshop as it gives me a chance to meet the new horses and get to know their face dimensions and what will fit to ensure they look super smart on parade as well as comfortable as possible.
Christie Farren, hard at work.
I have managed this month to squeeze a couple of courses outside of the military work. I took part in the Society of master saddlers introductory bridle fitting course. I am extremely excited to complete the practical day when we are able to and moving onto getting plenty of experience to sit the final exam in the future. I also managed to complete the Introduction to the Science of Lorinery, which I finished with a distinction! When I am not doing repairs at work, I have also been keeping myself busy with plenty of civilian work, including working with a horse in America which has tumours around her ears. I am interested to see if we can make her more comfortable with a bespoke headpiece.
And finally; whilst making sure I am on top of my apprenticeship, military saddlery exams, the Society’s competition, riding on parade, I also have my two wonderful horses waiting in the wings; I have to make sure they are fit and ready to go! We are hoping Army Team selection will be able to go ahead so we can start going to some shows as a team and represent the Army. We are hoping to attend some of our favourite shows this year (Hickstead, Chepstow international and Arena UK) we are keeping our fingers and hooves crossed for a successful year.
Thanks for reading.