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Verslag instructieweek van onze Engelse gasten:

Easter Holidays!

Hi everyone, I’m Sarah the Social Secretary for UMEC, I am currently in my second year studying Zoology, and have been with the club since Fresher’s week in my first year. You’ll probably recognise me as the person always sending you Facebook invites to our AU events with crazy themes! We are always the best dressed club at AU, and our recent Disney theme was a personal favourite as everyone put in so much effort particularly Anna, Molly and Fred who came as very accurately dressed Frozen characters. Watch out for more AU events coming up, we have some great themes in the pipe line.

Many of you will know (probably due to the album of over 450 photos on the UMEC Facebook page) that this Easter a group of 13 of us went to the Netherlands on a riding holiday, me included. This was organised by Lauren, our Trips and Events Sec, with help from Mireille, our Secretary. They did an amazing job, as everything ran smoothly especially the travelling! We stayed over in Amsterdam on the Saturday night, after a super quick flight, and this was a particular highlight for me as it was also my birthday (best birthday ever!!). We visited the sex museum, which was hilarious and slightly disturbing, and then went to an incredible pancake house and ate more than I thought was humanly possible! On the Sunday we did a quick boat tour of Amsterdam and then hopped on a train to Alkmaar, and then got a cab to the riding stables; Duinmanege van Poelenburgh. The accommodation we stayed in was luxury; beautifully furnished with a log burning fire. The riding stables itself was also incredibly well equipped, with a bar and eating area overlooking an indoor school, and a further two outdoor schools! They had around 40 horses there, some were privately owned but most were used in the riding school. I think our favourite was Pino, a tiny fluffy Shetland who had a mini stable on the corner of our accommodation! 

Our instructor, and some would say our Dutch mum, Caroline made sure we were well cared for and fed (I could write a whole newsletter on how amazing the food was) and also taught us some very valuable riding techniques; ‘keep your toes pointing forward’ was the phrase said the most! We videoed each other riding on the first and last days and the differences were incredible; everyone had improved so much just from five days of riding there! We learnt that Dutch riders have incredible seats, especially the children, and we enjoyed watching their lessons after dinner on an evening and wishing we could look like them! The horses there were all amazing but very different to English horses, and we found this out by falling off them; 11/13 of us fell off, with 8 falls being on one day (the dark day), but even the best riders fall, and it became a joke with the yard staff that we were ‘the English group who keep falling down’! However, we forget that riding is a dangerous sport, and Emily had an unfortunate fall which injured her back – we are all wishing her a speedy recovery! 

My personal highlight of the week was having the chance to gallop along a beach on a beautiful Friesian horse called Enno; it was a dream come true (even if we had to get up at 6:30am)! Other highlights were watching the yard’s Caroussel team practicing (Youtube this, it’s basically a very intricate ride to music), going on a four hour hack all together, and some had the chance to do a moonlit ride; galloping across the beach at night (it was quite eventful). It was the best week of my life, and I’m sure many will agree that we learnt so much, and have many amazing memories from this trip! Caroline wants us back next year, even though we almost gave her a heart attack with all of our falls, and I would highly recommend going if you want to have the experience of a lifetime!! Stay tuned for our video of the trip too!

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