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November 28th – 20th December 1954 were three of the happiest weeks of my life. I loved being at Porlock although it was very hard catching up on the lost 12 weeks. I was given extra lessons to help. The afternoon stable management lectures were interesting and contained a lot of extremely useful information, most of which has been retained.
On 20th December I was awarded my Preliminary Examiners certificate. I was delighted as exams are not my thing. The standard was high and I learnt so much in those three weeks. All the staff at Porlock were all extremely good and very nice. The exam was not easy. The staff had just got spring tree saddles and decided to lend them to us for the exam. In order to make thing equal for all thirteen of us they decided to give us all a leg up, as after an extremely nasty accident several years before they would have had to do for me. We rode in the school to start with and then went out onto the jumping course, which we had only jumped once before. Having jumped a big drop fence over a ditch we had to gallop flat out until told to stop then trot three strides and canter over the last fence. I was determined to stop and did so but the cob I was riding threw his head up and hit me hard in the face, almost knocking me out fortunately this threw me to the back of the saddle just in time to be sprung forward to meet the last fence just right.
Major Burke noticed what had happened and came over and helped me to get myself cleaned up while the rest of the students were being examined’.

Show jumps in “The Beach Field” with the farmyard combination on the left.

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