In my last “from the saddle” piece in September I mentioned that we were planning to trial a weekend of training for Associates. The weekend went ahead as planned on 12th and 13th October and each Associate that attended had four observed runs over the weekend, each with a different Observer. We combined the individual feedback from these runs with some group discussions and theory reviews to help build the overall learning experience. It was quite an intensive experience for both the Associates and Observers involved and there was no time to practice the issues highlighted on a run before moving on to the next session and then the next run.

The feedback from the weekend was overwhelmingly positive and the Associates felt that they’d been able to make a step-change forward with their riding. Of course, it will take more riding to consolidate the learning. The objective of kick-starting, or re-starting, some Associate training was fully met.

We will, therefore be scheduling some further sessions for next year. If you are an Associate that could do with a bit of a re-start, or you know of one, then please drop an email to the Training Team ( and we’ll start the scheduling process. I’d like to say thank you to the Observers for their participation and support and a special “thank you” to Barrie Smith of the Training Team for the theory sessions, group discussions and logistics management on the day.

We’re also starting the trial process for “Group Sign Off” (which is also known as Membership By Portfolio). This is a process whereby Associates can gain Full Membership of IAM RoadSmart through a monitored series of observed runs without the usual formal advanced riding test at the end. If you’re being put off by the advanced test, or you know someone that might join TVAM were it not for the test, then please let me know as we’d like to discuss this with you as part of the trial. We’re hopeful that by setting proper evaluation criteria for the trial we can understand the benefits and resource implications of this approach for Associates as well as for the club. If the trial is successful then we will seek to roll this out on a general basis available to all, although due to the nature of the trial this may take some time to fully evaluate.

I’m writing this at the end of October, the end of the TVAM year. We’re pulling the various reports together and we’ll soon be putting all this in the Annual Report for 2018 – 2019 which will give an overview of the activities of the club over the past year. This will be followed by the AGM at the St. Crispin’s meeting on 19th January; please put this date in your diary now as we’d like as many of you as possible to attend this important event.

Keep an eye on the weather in the meantime and hope to see you on a nice winter run.

Chris Brownlee
Chief Observer