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NEWS > Education
Posted by Equestrian Australia on 16/10/2014.

Australian coaches the Royal Oman Police

EA/NCAS Level 1 Coach Catherine Trindall embarked on an International journey to become an Equestrian Coach with the Royal Oman Police, read her interesting recount below;

In August 2013, I was offered a position as an Equestrian Coach with the Royal Oman Police.  In need of a career sabbatical from Western Australia Police, I took 12 months leave without pay, accepted a one year contract with the Royal Oman Police, packed my bags, kissed my Husband goodbye and embarked on one of the biggest chapters of my life.

I had no preconceived ideas or expectations of what the next 12 months would bring. The one aspect in this whole adventure that did not waiver was the confidence I had in my ability to teach riding in a policing environment.

The Colonel of the Royal Oman Police Mounted Division was very happy with my qualifications and experience;

  • Police Officer for 18 years
  • EA/NCAS Level 1 General and Dressage Coach
  • Master of Training and Development (current studies)
  • Relevant coaching experience
  • Recommended by the Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police (UK) Mounted Training Division.

Indeed, it was very fortunate that I was confident with my skill set as I was soon to  learn one very big lesson myself, in that, although I ticked all the right boxes, what I did not realise is that when you move from one culture into a completely different and diverse culture what you know, in relation to your trade, accounts for about 10%  Your understanding of the culture and your willingness to learn and adapt makes up the remaining 90%.  This 90% is your gateway to professional success.

Day One - 1st Sept 2013:  Following a meeting with the Colonel, completing formalities and introductions, I was succinctly briefed as to my role, which was to train 32 female police officers to a proficient level as per a syllabus written in Arabic.

I was then introduced to my 32 students, three assistant coaches and my interpreter.  It was suggested that I observe the group for three days, formulate a plan around the syllabus and report back to management at the end of the week.  I can remember thinking  "this is pretty good''.

Day Two:  Standing in front of the parade line of approximately 80 horses and riders.  I was standing with my female students when the Lieutenant Colonel walked up to me and said "here are your students - start coaching".  Well the previous days plans, regarding observing had just been 'pulled'. Now I was definitely thinking on my feet with a somewhat elevated heart rate, and feeling particularly vulnerable.   Little did I know in about 30 minutes I was about to be seriously frightened.

Accompanying  3 assistant coaches, 1 interpreter, 32 students and a bevy of onlookers, off we all went to the main arena, which was approximately 100m x 70m. 

Being careful not to tread on too many toes, I established where the group was at, with regard to the lessons.  I was proudly informed all of the ladies were learning to canter - my heart sank even further.  The warm-up period started and finished, which looked ok, and without further ado, one very loud instruction was issued in Arabic and all together 32 horses and riders set off into canter.  I no longer cared about treading on toes, the only thought in my head is that I had to take control, create some structure, because this was simply dangerous.

I immediately called a halt.  The coaches had a coaching lesson and I planted the seed that sometimes less is more.

I can vividly remember how thankful that I had the EA NCAS training, and how this structure which had been carved from experience, logic and safety was going to not only be my saviour in this situation, but be the catalyst for equestrian education in a new culture.

These first two days are pretty much how I spent the next 12 months.  I relied so much on my training and the networks I had built during my training.  At this stage I would like to recognise the effort and support I received from Lea Bierman, Les Bunning, Roz Tippett, Kevin McNab, Sonja Johnson and Liz Gatti.

During the 12 months I spent in Oman I trained 63 female police officers.  It was a truly wonderful experience with  some exceptional, ground breaking outcomes of which two I would like to share:-

  1. The initial 32 female police officers all reached a level of proficiency and participated in a female only musical ride of 40 riders, which I co-ordinated.
  2. For the first time in the Royal Oman Police history, 35 female police officers were asked to participate in the National Police Day Parade, alongside 35 male officers and 2000 graduating police recruits, at the Nizwa Police Academy.  I was also responsible for training this group of female police officers.

I am very proud to say that both of these events were executed to perfection.

For coaches venturing into training in similar environments, just remember, you are there because someone has had the foresight to recognise a need for change, and you are the lynchpin between the present and the future.

Thank you Oman.


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