For the past two weeks, Lance Cpl. Andrew Drummond served as a guest instructor in Culver Academies Horsemanship Department, working with the students and staff in a variety of riding disciplines. He returned to London Sunday evening impressed.
“I’ve really, really enjoyed it,” Drummond said of his assignment. “I’ve loved every minute. Everyone here made me feel as part of the team. It’s a nice, friendly environment to work.”
Drummond’s visit was part of an annual program that brings a guest instructor to Culver from Her Majesty’s Household Cavalry, Mounted Regiment, Life Guards Squadron. He worked as an instructor or shadow instructor in every class. He also worked with the Lancers, Equestriennes, and the jumping, rough riding, western, and polo teams.
“I’ve played polo three times, the first time was last Tuesday,” he laughed. “I got thrown straight into the deep end.” He marveled at the skill level of the student players after realizing how many different things there are to remember.
Drummond’s specialties are dressage, show jumping, and cross country. After watching the first parade parade practice, he was able to make some suggestions, he said, because “that’s my bread-and-butter.” The parade, he said, is similar to the queen’s birthday parade “on a smaller scale.” And the Lancer and Equestriennes performances are very familiar to him, even down to the music.
Teaching students was “an eye-opening experience” after dealing with military riders, but one he definitely enjoyed. “It’s a different aspect of teaching. With students, it takes a more friendly approach,” he explained, “which is good because it gives you some experience working with non-military people if you want to teach riding later.”
He found he could be more straight forward with the older students. But he had to keep it simple for the younger, more inexperienced riders. “You have to relate it to something they know,” he said, like driving a car and turning the steering wheel to make a left turn.
“There was a learning curve,” Drummond explained, for him and the students. Still, he was impressed considering some of them had only been on a horse for four 30-minute sessions prior to his arrival.
One thing Drummond wasn’t prepared for was the late September heat. It was 20 to 30 degrees cooler in London most of the time he was in Culver. He would be happy to come back, Drummond smiled, but he’ll check the forecast first. “I’m not used to this.”
Drummond received the assignment to come to Culver from the riding master, who selects men for their overseas assignments. Members of the Household Cavalry are regularly given the opportunity to travel to different locations, he said. Other cavalry members have gone on assignments to Jordan and Morocco recently.