A dream come true - Ella Taylor-Jones

Ella is a talented seventeen-year-old apprentice, who began with us in 2019, completing her Equine Groom Intermediate Apprenticeship at Moorcroft Equestrian with showjumper Ellen McPherson. She has since progressed at Moorcroft onto our Senior Equine Groom Advanced Apprenticeship, focused on the riding pathway.

Here, Ella offers an insight into why she chose an apprenticeship, what it involves, and how it has helped her dreams become reality.

I have had a love for horses from a very young age, going for lessons at a riding school. I then attended Glossop & District Pony Club when I got my first loan pony, and I was a member for eight years. My passion grew and grew, I felt so inspired to learn more and improve especially in the showjumping discipline!

I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship because classroom-based, school-style learning never interested me, I would much rather be out with my horse!  Doing an apprenticeship was a way of learning on the job, and I found out about Haddon Training through the BHS and British Grooms Association website, whilst looking at available job opportunities. My employer Ellen had chosen to use Haddon Training because of their excellent reputation and their Ofsted Outstanding grade!

My apprenticeship allows me to do what I love every day and learn all the essential work skills I will need for the future through on-the-job training and by working with my Haddon Training Trainer-Coach. As the saying goes, ‘Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life!’

My general day encompasses a variety of tasks and I need to work hard! I assist in all yard duties, ensuring all the horses are fed, groomed and exercised accordingly throughout the day. I tidy, clean and organise the yard, making sure everything is done efficiently. When we go to shows, I am responsible for packing the truck to ensure everything is organised and ready for anything the horses might need, as well as bathing them so they are sparkling clean and ready to go! Whilst at a show I tack up the horses, so they are ready in time to warm up for their classes, and I am ringside to help Ellen when needed. I also have the opportunity to ride some of Ellen’s horses and learn about their different ways of going to get the best out of them, giving me the experience to work a range of horses correctly.

At work, Ellen and Lesley support me by giving me training every day on the yard, they help me focus on my riding and give me opportunities to ride different horses, as well as attending shows and additional training. They’re always helping me if I have any questions about my practical work or my coursework. They provide a very encouraging, supportive and positive working environment so that I can do my best! They always look after me and make sure I have everything I need to do well. I feel so lucky to have such a great place and employers to work with every day!

My Trainer-Coach also supports me with my coursework and theory knowledge, and makes sure I complete all my work each month! We discuss everything I have been learning between our visits, and she gives me different knowledge platforms to learn from, to help prepare me for the knowledge test and end-point assessment elements of my apprenticeship. I know I can always ask my Trainer-Coach any questions I may have to help me develop my work and knowledge on subjects I might find more difficult. Through the apprenticeships, I have learnt the essential factors of looking after the horses, from their individual needs of nutrition and fitness plans, their anatomy and physiology, to common health problems, and teaching me what actions I should take in these situations to best care for the horse.  All these things help develop my knowledge so I can apply it to my job.

I have learnt so many things throughout my apprenticeships that will help me in my future; the skills needed for running and working on the yard, following routines, plans for the horses and extra tasks to keep the yard looking spic and span! The importance of time-keeping, looking and assessing everything to ensure maximum safety of the horses, to learning how to clip, plait, prepare for shows and gain the experience and confidence handling competition horses. There are so many things!

My apprenticeship has also given me the opportunity to live self-sufficiently, learning all the crucial factors of living in my own accommodation. In addition, it has taught me to take on responsibilities and improve my organisational skills to become more of an adult! It is definitely character building and has put things into the context of real-life.

For me, the chance to undertake an apprenticeship programme has given me a step into the equestrian/showjumping world and really started my career off on the right foot, learning everything from experts, with life lessons that I can take with me into the future. I particularly love the fact I am able to go to shows with my horse and improve my riding every day, having Ellen ringside to give me all the tips and training I need! My riding has improved massively since starting at Moorcroft. Starting at jumping only 70cm unaffiliated on my pony, I have now taken my 5yr old horse Belle and competed in my first affiliated BSJA show gaining 4 double clears in British Novice to qualify for second rounds and clears in Discovery too! I would never have been able to achieve these goals without the help and training from Ellen, and the support of the apprenticeship programme!

The best part of my apprenticeship really is having my dreams come true!”

Ella, Thank you for sharing your learning journey with us, we are delighted to see how everyone has contributed to your positive experiences and are looking forward to what your future will bring.

If you would like to find out more about apprenticeships or how to start your career simply contact our friendly team today.