29 Apr 2021

James Harradine, BSc Equestrian Sports Coaching student blog

“Hartpury sets students up to be the best that we can be.”

Hi there, I’m James and I’m a second-year student on the BSc Equestrian Sports Coaching degree at Hartpury University.

I’m glad I took the opportunity to come to Hartpury

I actually hadn’t planned to come Hartpury University. I was doing a Level 3 Equine Management course at a local equine college in Kent, and was keen to get out into industry as soon as I finished to work towards my BHS stages alongside working as a groom.

While this traditional approach was working, I felt like I needed something extra. Something that would make me stand out from the many other young people in the equine industry.

That is when I was recommended Hartpury, and I’m very glad I took the opportunity!

There’s no such thing as a typical day!

I have around 15 hours of lectures per week, split over Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Every Wednesday, and one day at the weekend, I work at New Hunt Equine and Country store. On my other free weekend day, I work at a local event and training yard, where my own horse is kept.

Then, in the rest of my spare time, I run my own freelance coaching and riding business, Harradine Eventing, Equine Sports Coach and Event Rider. I’m also a committee member for the Equestrian club, and run my own horse Hooper around BE novice level, with aims for 2* and intermediates in the not too distant future!

Male leading horse in outdoor arena

Sharing ideas and coaching styles

For me, Fridays are my favourite days for lectures as first, second and third year students all come together to put our coaching theory lessons into practice.

Because of this inclusivity and open style of these sessions, we can share ideas and techniques with one another. This is fantastic as all of us have our own distinct teaching styles, due to the fact there are students who specialise in different disciplines of equestrianism on an international scale.

In our second year on the coaching degree, our learning material shifts from basic principles of coaching and towards the idea of mentoring and becoming a coach educator.

This part of the scheme of work is what I believe will set Hartpury equine sports coaches apart and ahead of the many other aspiring coaches in the industry.

Every student is an individual

We’ve learnt that mentoring another developing coach is not about creating a carbon copy of yourself in another person.

It’s actually having the skills and ability to nourish and develop your mentee’s unique coaching style, so that they feel confident in their own ability to produce human and equine athletes using their preferred techniques and ideas.

Even though this idea of coach education and mentorship is part of my course, I feel it really encompasses the whole learning experience at Hartpury.

Every student is an individual, not a number. In my eyes, the staff at Hartpury have gone above and beyond their duty to help students like myself throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. I feel very privileged to have such a supportive set of lecturers wanting us as students to do well!

Analysing rider technique in the Rider Performance Centre

Dream big

I’ve always dreamt big and I’ve always planned these dreams out with smaller more manageable goals and objectives.

Like most aspiring event riders, a gold medal at a 5* like badminton, a WEG or an Olympics is probably the biggest of these dreams. However, in terms of my career in coaching, I’ve had this idea of creating an industry leading facility for elite partnerships to come and train at.

To make this dream a reality, the first goal I would like to tick off the list is to go to Cooley Farm in Ireland and do some work placement for Mr Richard Sheane, who I believe produces some of the best event horses in the world.

My lecturers know that this is something I’m keen to do. Although it’s not exactly 100% relevant to my course, it’s something that they know that I want to do for my own personal CPD (continual professional development) and support me in having this aspiration. 

My second goal is to continue to develop my coaching business alongside my studies and progress through my BHS stage exams; from my current Stage 2 Teach all the way up to being a Fellow.

Set up to be the best we can be

Although this is a big step in my goals, I believe that Hartpury is setting students up to be the best that we can be, by giving us the best that there is!

An example of this is the fact that our Coaching and Teaching Portfolio module lecturer is none other than Fellow of the BHS Jo Winfield. In industry standards, there is no one more qualified to teach. Jo is continually guiding us, giving us opportunities to develop our skills and coaching practice.

 My third goal is to maybe even do a Master’s degree at Hartpury. Part of the reason is that it would really be the icing on the cake for me to have that level of qualification behind me in my coaching portfolio. But to be truthful, the main reason is because I don’t want to leave Hartpury!

I love it here! I’ve made some incredible friendships, created fantastic links into industry, been educated by knowledgeable, caring lecturers, used world-class facilities and been given opportunities that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

Why would I want to go anywhere else! 

Meet James

James has filmed a short vlog to tell you more about his student life on the BSc Equestrian Sports Coaching degree at Hartpury University. Hear how the coaching experience he’s gaining, and the support he’s receiving along the way, is setting him up to achieve big goals in the equine industry.

Written By
James Harradine
Female student with laptop
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