Page 12 - Chiron Autumn 2018
P. 12

When did you join the Army Reserve included a range of mounted sessions,
How do you find balancing your civilian / military commitments?
Life can be incredibly busy, particularly at certain times of the year when there are major racing events on, and I also have reserve commitments. I am extremely fortunate to have a very supportive civilian employer, which enables me to balance my commitments effectively. Modern technology, particularly e-mail and electronic calendars, certainly help with the planning! Despite the fast pace lifestyle that the two commitments contribute too I wouldn’t change anything. I thoroughly enjoy my civilian and Army careers and (hopefully) I am making and will continue to make meaningful contributions to both organisations now and in the future.
What’s next for you in terms of your Army Reserve training / exercises – this could be military based or adventure training?
I am currently scheduled to spend two weeks in Cyprus providing cover for our regular counterparts, and am really looking forward to the new opportunity and experience this trip will provide. Looking further forward toward the end of the year there are multiple 101 MWD Sqn training weekends which are a core part of my commitment to the reserves, and the actual Centenary day on 27 November, which is followed by two days of veterinary CPD. Further forward into the new year and beyond, I will endeavour continue to build on and develop my skills as an Army Officer and grasp new opportunities as they are presented.
Why would you encourage others to join the reserves?
For anyone, potential Officers and Soldiers alike, looking to be part of a meaningful team I would definitely recommend researching relevant roles and joining the reserves. The Reserves offer a broad range of opportunities, both career and sport related, and for those looking for new experiences and challenges it is the perfect role. Particularly as a Veterinary Officer the opportunity to contribute to the care of the military working animal and the development of soldiers is unique and from personal experience is highly rewarding.
   and why?
I completed RMAS in October 2017. I have always had an interest in joining the military for a multitude of reasons including; having a history of family in the forces and seeking a career with a breadth of challenges and opportunities. As a qualified veterinary surgeon the Army, and more specifically the RAVC, was the natural choice. I lived and worked overseas for a number of years, so when I came back to the UK I researched the role of a Veterinary Officer and started the application process.
You recently took part in the Melton Mowbray parade in July. Why was the event organised and what was your role in it?
The parade through Melton Mowbray is one of a number of events organised by the RAVC through 2018 in celebration of the Centenary of the RAVC’s Royal Warrant, which was awarded to the Army Veterinary Corps by HM King George V on 27 November 1918. I was lucky enough to be part of the mounted contingent of RAVC Officers and NCO’s riding on parade alongside over 200 dismounted officers and soldiers (and Military Working Dogs) from the Defence Animal Training Regiment, and St George’s Barracks. The parade also comprised member of the RAVC Association and the Melton Branch of The Royal British Legion.
How did you prepare for your role in the parade in terms of your own training / horse training?
In my day-to-day civilian life I ride regularly so I was fortunate to have an established base level of riding fitness ahead of the pre-parade training and the parade itself. The horses we rode throughout training and for the parade were very kindly provided by the Household Cavalry, so unlike a number of the riders (including myself) who hadn’t ridden on a parade before, the horses were seasoned experts, more familiar with parading the streets of London, such as Trooping The Colour and State visits.
In terms of specific preparations, those of us in the mounted contingent spent the week leading up to the parade at the Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) training under the watchful eye of Captain Skip Nicholls and his team. Training
including sword drill and an early morning rehearsal ride following the parade route. We were also shown how to prepare the horses, including the specifics of tacking up with military kit (saddle/bridle and accessories) and cleaning and preparing the kit correctly. I was partnered with a mare called Pimlico, and for the week in addition to our mounted training sessions I was responsible for her day-to-day care including mucking-out and feeding. This provided an opportunity to establish a strong bond ahead of being on parade in front of the crowds where being confident and able to trust the horse is important.
Have you taken part in this kind of event before?
No, being part of the Centenary Parade was the first time I have been part of such an event, and whilst it being the Centenary means it will certainly be a unique experience, I hope that I will get the opportunity to ride in something similar in the future.
What do you do in your civilian job? Do you work with animals in / out of the reserves?
In my civilian job I am the Anti-Doping Manager for the British Horseracing Authority. The role is a varied one, and from an animal perspective is focused exclusively on working with horses. I oversee the sports equine testing programme, although I also manage the rider testing programme so I’m not just focused on equine athletes, but human ones too. I split my time between our London offices, the racecourse/training yards, and Newmarket where we have a small herd (10-12) of ex-racehorses and the BHA’s contract laboratory is based.
Are there any transferable skills between your two roles?
Whilst on the face of it the two roles appear very different, there is a significant cross over in skill set. Both require a strong ability to work effectively in a team environment, and perform well in a high pressure, often time critical, environment. Additionally in both cases my role is to contribute to ensuring the best health and welfare of the working animal something that I am very much an advocate for and strive to champion in my day-to-day life.
Lt Tessa Muir RAVC 101 Millitary Working Dog Squadron

   10   11   12   13   14