Report from Performance Psychologist Charlie Unwin’s Zoom Presentation on 7th Sept 2020

“Mental Fitness for Equestrian Athletes”
So, some salient points from last night:  Firstly, how wonderful to get together with so many like-minded people with such a huge range of experience – and why ever don’t we do it more often?  It’s so stimulating and thought- provoking.  Charlie is a super presenter with endless enthusiasm for his subject and clear thought processes which are all very relevant to us as Coaches.

We started by discussing what it means to be “mentally fit” and then went on a rollercoaster, discussing Resilience, Resonance, a fascinating section on the brain and neural pathway development, Talents and Skills, the role of Self-Esteem, Repetition, Reward, Recovery, Functional Intelligence, Placebos, Trust, Listening, developing “the system”, dealing with nerves, using visualisation, the importance of open questioning… We had our notebooks to hand, and there was so much to absorb.

Reflecting back over the years – and many are possibly my vintage I think! –  many of us (I certainly did) spent a lot of time ‘reinventing the wheel’, so being able to pool our experiences and dilemmas to mutual benefit and intelligently work out the way forward is just so refreshing! I certainly reflected last night on the Talent vs Skills “barcode” – and ‘enhancing what people have, not putting in what they don’t’.
A lot of what Charlie said made me think of Coaches I have worked with in the past and really clarified why the good ones were so good and made the whole learning experience such an exciting journey – measured challenge, positivity, encouragement, enjoyment… although without the initial years of consistent long-term work and practice (demonstrated by Charlie with his Friday effect/ Monday effect graph) would these top coaches have been able to work the same magic?

The word ‘Intelligence’ was used many times during the evening.
Intelligent breakdown in goal setting
Using intelligence to correct technique
Intelligence gets scattered on the floor when you fail to build shelves in the mind to organise
Mechanisms in the brain that add meaning to experience
Helping our clients have meaningful experiences
In an intelligent ‘approach’ the rider is part of the process

Charlie gave such solid reasoning for not over repeating / over working – applying to both riders and horses – and the importance of coaching the rider off the horse, using time out of the saddle, which has become ever more evident, whether it’s the psychological aspect or the physical fitness and suppleness.

Thank you so much F&I, Mandy Holloway and especially Charlie for a really stimulating evening.☀️

And some of the feedback from appreciative emails received by Mandy:
Thought provoking – Fantastic, interactive session – Ensuring our personal levels of coaching are as high as possible  – Hugely beneficial  – Very useful – Helpful to continually reflect on all aspects of coaching – Really interesting Webinar – Very informative – Amazing First Zoom Presentation for Fs and Is – Great job Charlie and Amanda – Charlie packed a lot in – Thoroughly worthwhile  – Fantastic Presentation – Importance of reflection on own Coaching techniques – Importance of Rest and Recovery – Food for thought regarding improving our own techniques – Charlie’s enthusiasm, knowledge, experience and guidance shines through.

Report by Carol Bennitt, followed by some of the feedback received by Mandy Holloway (organiser).

Chairman’s August Newsletter

Dear Member

After another fabulous Annual Course in January 2020 with those two top Trainers Adam Kemp FBHS for Dressage and Corinne Bracken UKCC Level 3 BS Trainer at Addington Manor, we all went home on a high, determined to spread ‘the gospel’ through to our own riders.  AND THEN, March arrived, just as our competition and BHS students were gathering speed, with this pandemic called Covid 19.  So many of us took that lockdown period as a chance to spring clean – stable yards, wardrobes and our houses.  We schooled the horses, who all improved from more hands-on work rather than the initial madness of spring competitions.  We caught up with family and friends via WhatsApp and Zoom and some even ventured into a world of coaching online. Houses in Ireland were painted inside and out, gardens were sorted and my own silver and brass has never shone so much.  I also have to admit some of us quite enjoyed those few weeks, we even told each other we would never return to our previous manic lives!!!  As we were aware not everyone is a FaceBook person, Alison and myself put together a few short email newsletters which we called “Covid Chat” so we could all keep in touch.  My thanks to those of you who sent in notes/articles.

Meanwhile, for those of you involved in the Riding Establishments industry, life was much more frustrating and precarious.  I salute you as you furloughed staff, where possible turned horses away and kept your sanity as Governments declared Indoor Riding Arenas were exactly the same as swimming pools and gyms!!

Lockdown eased and we were returning to those pre-Covid days, clients were desperate for lessons, students were keen to do these new ‘devolved’ BHS assessments, and competitions started up with large numbers wanting to compete.  However, we have had to use a certain amount of caution as the numbers of Covid cases have started to rise again.  Here, three counties, Kildare, Meath and Offaly, returned to lockdown recently, and we heard about the problems in Aberdeen, Manchester and several other places North of the ‘Watford Gap’. Good luck everyone – especially in staying sane and patient!

Moving forward, we are returning to running events ourselves – and we all owe a huge thank you to our organisers.

On 7th September Charlie Unwin is doing an Applied Psychology online coaching evening for us via ZOOM, see attached flyer.  On 4th November Russell MacKechnie-Guire is giving an online evening webinar titled ‘Biomechanics of the Horse & Rider’, flyer attached.   

These evenings are all open to members of the F&I Association AND GUESTS.  So do encourage and support your friends and clients in joining us.

I hope you will now be thinking forward, positively, to the Annual Course at Addington Manor January 5th & 6th, 2021.   How does she do it?  Ann Bostock has once again lined up a fabulous programme for us all.  Our Dressage Coach is the indomitable Richard Davison FBHS and for the Show Jumping we have the magnificent Caroline Moore FBHS.  Not only that, in the restaurant upstairs, the Tuesday lunchtime we will have those Coaches telling us about their training methods and philosophy, and a return from last year, Dr Andrew Hemmings will do a presentation on the Wednesday lunchtime.

As this year has seen so few days for us to attend as riders/spectators, your Committee, led by Ann with the Annual Course, has resolved to make discounts available to all members for 2021.  The idea is that F&I are giving something back to our very supportive membership.  For the Annual Course, fees for riding and for F&I spectators will be half price.  The dinner remains the same, but tell me where you can get a four-course meal, wine included, for £30??   And those of you unable to attend the Annual Course will get one F&I Association Training Day later in 2021 half price.

Attached is the Annual Course Application Form for riding, spectating, etc.  Applications open 1st September – Ann will not accept requests before that – so I would spring into action tomorrow Tuesday 1st if you want to reserve yourself a riding place!

I hope you all received and liked your membership cards and the new style F&I badge which our Treasurer, Jude, worked hard to put into place for us.

Through Sam York, and here I must thank Posy Knapp for putting the idea forward, we will have some items of clothing available with the F&I logo, which may also be personalized with your own name.  Watch this space, as we are hoping for some sample items to be shown at the Course and will be able to advise how you can purchase your own choice of items.

The F&I Constitution is in the throes of being updated, and this will be sent out later in September, together with a new membership agreement, plus various details in preparation for our January AGM.

It just remains for me to wish you all well, and thank all of those non-horsey partners who remain quietly in the background – putting up with us!!

As time ‘marches on’, please please let us be able to meet up at Addington in January.

Take care

Jillie

Report on the F&I Training Day, Tuesday 1st September 2020, with Judy Harvey FBHS 

Our first day out for the F & I Association since the Annual course dawned warm and sunny as we made our way to Judy Harvey’s yard in Buckinghamshire.

Judy has been a long time member and supporter and is generous in allowing us to watch and learn from her own riding and coaching skills.

Covid 19 procedures were in place and we all socially distanced as you can see from the photograph, we all need wide angled lenses now!!

Mandy Luesley FBHS rode her homebred mare first as she was the closest at 2 hours away ( the others were all over 3hrs 15 mins) This mare has really strengthened up since last year and looked much more consistent. Judy had them more forward and really using the corners rather than riding circles. She reminded us that internationally there are 5 judges on the short sides and only 2 down the long side so the short sides need to be ridden correctly to set the movements up.

David Llewellyn BHSI rode his own 5yr old TB by Black Sam Bellamy. This is a very big horse with 3 correct paces and Judy made it clear that with this horse you wouldn’t ride so deep into the corners as at the moment it would affect his balance and his joints. When working towards the medium paces it was suggested that to go to “working plus” rather than full blown medium as this helps keep the hind leg in the right place.

Sam York FBHS brought 2 homebred half brothers to work. One was beautifully turned out in “sorbet pink” numnah and matching bandages which Sam’s Mum had kindly bought for her!!

With the older brother the lateral work was used to help the suppleness having less angle and more impulsion. It was made clear that it is important to keep the imp up between the movements. The leg yield was then used to help the canter and into a flying change again helping the hind leg stay in the correct place.

Sam’s younger horse had been placed at the Championships at Hartpury last week and was now moving towards more engagement and collection using shoulder fore to help the transitions after the medium paces. It was good to see the walk pirouettes and how with practise and positioning they can be improved for higher marks. So those of us with less expressive paces better get working at being able to get some higher marks.

Liz Allen BHSI rode her lovely Inter 1 horse but showed us how the Grand Prix working is coming along. The tempis were lovely and expressive but then lost some balance so Judy suggested half halting and collecting after each change so that they didn’t run out of balance. Liz showed us how she had started the passage and Judy said to think of a small trot with expression so that he learns to bend his knees and stay under with his hocks.

After a short break Judy then rode an Andulusian stallion who belongs to one of her clients. He has a fantastic temperament and competes at PSG with his owner but has some of the Grand Prix work there. Having trotted around at the start Judy then used exercises in canter to help with the cadence when coming back to the trot and then into piaffe and passage.

Discussions then followed with 2 of our coaches helping a young rider with a PSG horse.

How lucky are we to have access to such wonderful horses and trainers.

As always many thanks to Judy, her team and Richard Healey for allowing us to come to their home and yard in these strange times we find ourselves in

Report by Ann Bostock, BHSI, F&I Vice-Chair and organiser extraordinaire.

Tim Price

It is with sadness I have to announce the very recent death of Tim Price. The previous manager of Addington Manor, he did a lot to help this Association over the years we’ve held our Annual Course at Addington. Our thoughts and prayers are with all his family.

AFTER COVID 19 – William Micklem

AFTER COVID 19 – William Micklem – Part 1

PERCEPTION NOT FACT

An association with horses is provably life enhancing, an activity that can be hugely beneficial, both mentally and physically  ….a sport for all, and a sport for life.  Whether seriously disabled or seriously able extraordinary things are possible in partnership with ponies and horses.  It is simply an exceptional sport that few other sports can match in terms of scope and benefits.  We should not be afraid of shouting this from the roof tops.  However as we emerge from lockdown into the new normal, with testing financial conditions and difficult choices needing a re-evaluation of both our working lives and sporting priorities, we should also not hold back from changes to make the most of our life enhancing sport and help those working in the industry to survive. 

Here are 10 ideas that I hope are food for positive thoughts: Read more AFTER COVID 19 – William Micklem

NATIONAL EQUINE FORUM REPORT MARCH 2020

As I write this on the train heading back to Cheshire, I am reflecting on what has been a truly thought provoking day at The National Equine Forum.

I firstly want to say a big thank you to the F&I Association for the opportunity for myself and Alex Wyatt to attend the forum. Having arrived slightly late due to train issues I arrived as Dr Richard Newton had started his talk on managing infectious disease risks and his recent experiences and thoughts on the topic. He touched on the recent outbreak of equine flu and how warnings were given but more should have been done to block the chain of transmission.

He then went on to talk about other diseases including EVA and EHV-1. What I found most interesting was his discussion on an outbreak of EHV-1 at a yard, he went into detail on how the disease spread throughout the yard based on the yard set up and management. It was no great surprise that the horses on this yard that were stabled in an American barn style block all contracted the disease with some fatalities. Whereas the horse stabled in the external blocks had much fewer cases spread from horse to horse. He then went on to discuss the importance of bio security in cases of any diseases outbreak but also how people must take responsibility for making the general public aware of any disease outbreak and the role social media has in helping with this.

We next heard from James Hick from the BHS on the work he and a fantastic team of over 300 volunteers are doing to help save our access to public rights of way across the UK. These routes are slowly being lost and need us all to start making sure any bridleways in our area are recorded before 2026. After this any routes that are not on record will be lost permanently.

The next group of speakers came under the heading “Global Issues, National Impact”.

Ian Cawsey, Director of Advocacy and Campaigns from the Donkey Sanctuary started this section off talking about an issue I was completely unaware of. It was the impact that the Donkey skin trade for the production of Ejiao in China was having on the Donkey population worldwide. The demand for this product has seen a drop in over 8 million donkeys and a surge in poachers stealing the donkeys from farmers in developing third world countries. It’s not only sad that these animals are being slaughtered for their skin, but they really are an integral part everyday life to villagers and farmers across many developing countries. The other issue the donkey sanctuary was trying to deal with was the appalling conditions the animals were being held and slaughtered in but also the way in which the carcasses were being disposed of and a complete lack of biosecurity. This was a real eye opener for me, and I will certainly be making a donation to this charity in future.

Next up, we got to hear from Roly Owers, chief executive from World Horse Welfare, on our future with horses and how social licences can help. Now this was a new concept for me (social licensing) but one that made complete sense. Roly talked about how important public perception of horse sport is. Animal rights activists will argue how ‘use is abuse’, but we need to ensure that we educate the public on how we use but don’t abuse our horses. Issues such as use of the whip or marking of horses with spurs have never been more in the spotlight. Social licensing is an unwritten contract between our industry and the general public, and it is crucial that each and everyone of us takes responsibility to promote good horsemanship practices, whether it be on the world stage or just hacking down the road.

This topic was then carried on with Dr Barry Johnson from the Horse Board. He used the racing industry as an example of how important it is to promote good welfare for the horses, not just during their competitive career but from birth right through to retirement.

After a delicious lunch, the afternoon speakers were all talking about improving equine health and welfare by changing our behaviour.

The first speaker was Dr Zac Baynham-Herd from the behavioural insight team. He was giving us an insight into applying behavioural changes to people.
This was followed by Professor Sarah Freeman who is a Professor of Veterinary Surgery from Nottingham University. Sarah Talked about her involvement with the research and development of the ‘React’ campaign which is being run through the BHS. Its aim is to educate people on recognising early signs of colic. The Question is, can an educational campaign such as this change people’s behaviour? The current thinking is that it will take an average of 15 years to implement and see any changes.

Next we heard from David Rendle, Council Member of the British Equine Veterinary Association. His talk was all about Anthelmintic Resistance in horses, the worrying rises in worm resistance and the fact that there are currently no new anthelmintic treatments on the market. His emphasis was focused on the need for educating and encouraging a change in people’s behaviour when it comes to worming programs. Maybe there is a need for an educational campaign targeting large yards on the importance of diagnostic worming?

The final two speakers in this section were Jude Matthews, Chief Executive of British Eventing and Andrew and Abigail Turnbull, Owners and Directors of Richmond Equestrian Centre. They talked about the devastating outbreak of Strangles at the centre last year and how the centre had to cancel their BE event as well as other competitions. Then, how they controlled the outbreak from spreading by carrying out strict Bio security on the yard and continue to do this to this day. It is so easy to become complacent when we take our horses out to competition centres and other yards but listening to these guys talk about the measures they now take, really made me think about my own bio security with my own horses!

We were then treated to a sneak peak ahead of this year’s Olympics. Some photos and a video from Tim Hadaway, Director for Games Operations, FEI and Henry Bullen who is Director of Peden Bloodstock who are responsible for transporting all the equine athletes out to Tokyo. It was great to get a glimpse of what we can expect from Tokyo at the Equestrian Park. Lets just hope that this Corona Virus doesn’t ruin it for us all!

The Final “Memorial” Lecture was given by Kirsty Whitnall from the RSPCA. Kirsty gave us a brilliant insight into the great work she and her colleagues are doing including some horses that have been rescued and rehomed.

But of course, the closing speaker was none other than HRH The Princess Royal. What a great way to end a brilliant day of inspirational speakers by getting to listen to HRH give us her thoughts on the day.

So, in summary, a great day. So much food for thought. I feel we all need to be more responsible for helping make a change. Whether it be horse welfare, educating clients on worming programs, or promoting good bio security, take your pick!

Report by David Llewellyn BHSI

F&I TRAINING DAY TALLAND 9TH MARCH 2020.

Talland’s Pammy Hutton FBHS

This day was kindly organised by Talland School of Equitation.

A group of eager F’s and I’s were welcomed by Pammy Hutton FBHS at Talland School of Equitation on a cold Monday morning. The group was a mixture of both riders and spectators.

At 10am prompt, an action-packed programme began and the first of the 3 riders were given the arena and some younger horses to assess and critique. The horses were quality types with varying levels of schooling from green to more experienced. Pammy was very encouraging with the riders to ride the horses forward and straight to achieve the best way of going. The onlookers were also actively involved to give their opinions on the way of going of the horses and were asked for their observations.

Next, we saw more established horses with schooling levels from prelim to advanced medium, the same 3 riders stayed in the arena and swapped onto these horses. More discussion was encouraged by all and Pammy discussed the horses in relation to the fellowship assessment, and how the riders should also comment on the basic way of going of the horses in their discussions, as well as talking about the more advanced movements that they have established.

Pammy Hutton coaching David Sheerin

Pammy was supported by Islay Auty FBHS and Sam York FBHS, who contributed greatly to the riders and spectators, and gave valuable advice as well as great tips for our future training of partnerships.

The third group of riders were given more advanced horses ranging from adv medium to PSG and Inter 1. The riders were quickly given specific tasks to work on and encouraged to “ride in the quality” in all that they do.

Over a working lunch, the group observed Pammy help David Sherrin on his beautiful eventer. David was having some explosive moments when asking for changes and Pammy gave him some great help to achieve a cleaner change. We all enjoyed seeing the improvement.

The afternoon saw some coaching sessions take place where coaches were practical and correct in their coaching techniques. Again, valuable advice came from Pammy, Islay and Sam as well as from the spectators.

Pammy Hutton coaching David Sheerin

The day rounded off watching Pammy ride her own Magnum and she clearly demonstrated her ”feel” for the horse and showed her experience for us all to see.

It was a truly great day that was had by all, and it was most lovely to hear Mrs Molly Sivewright FBHS mentioned on several occasions throughout the day for being the wonderful horsewoman that she was. It is very clear that her fond memory lives on in all that is Talland.

A huge thankyou to Pammy and her team at Talland for a most special day.

P.S. We even learned that there are 53 roundabouts between Talland and Keysoe, but that story is for another day!!

Report by Carl Crofts BHSI

Ruth Baxter’s Letter to H&H

Ruth Baxter wrote a letter to Horse & Hound which was published in the 23rd Jan 2020 edition. As the letter was edited by H&H and now makes far less sense to those who were at the F&I convention, it was suggested that Ruth should send the unedited version out. Please find it below:

“Dear Editor,

Last weeks training feature included a quote from me about how the BHS education system had provided a path when academia did not suit. I started on that path at 16 (then the earliest age you could take the exams) as a riding school assistant with a passion. In the last 18 years I have worked my way up the levels, achieving the Stage 5 qualification (BHSI) in 2016. Since qualifying, I am able to attend the Fellows and Instructors Association annual course, this year’s being held last week at the revamped Addington Equestrian Centre. A fantastic gathering of over 100 BHSI and FBHS’s, studying and engaging with lessons given by Adam Kemp FBHS and Corrine Bracken UKCC4 to the likes of Pammy Hutton and Nick Gauntlett. Whether we were prospective Olympians, or ex riding school assistants who had fought their way up the ranks, we were all welcomed, involved and educated. All brought together by the BHS education system. To anyone out there wondering whether the system is for them, the opportunities can be well worthwhile.

Ruth Baxter”

Minutes of the AGM 2020

Held on Tuesday 7th January 2020 at 7.00pm

At Addington Manor Equestrian Centre, Bucks by kind permission of Chris Parker

1.  Welcome address by Jillie Rogers BHSI – Chairman.

All were warmly welcomed to this packed AGM – held downstairs in the café for the first time.  Thank you to Addington for hosting us, and Ann for organising. Both brilliant.

2.  Attendance and Apologies for Absence (Committee members in bold)

Present:  Jillie Rogers, Ann Bostock, Alison Craig, Debbie Follett, David Sheerin, Mandy Luesley, Amy Bannister-Bell, Danny Anholt via Messenger, Nicole Biggs, Ann Peate, Faith Ponsonby, Mandy Chaffin, Judith Murphy, Gemma Porter-Rawlings, Ruth Baxter, Amanda Holloway, Charlotte Tarrant, Katie Partrick, Brendan Bergin, Sarah Stewart, Kirsten Owen, Sarah Fitton, Hetta Wilkinson, Julian Campbell, Maggie Doel, Jeremy Michaels, Jen Burnett, Richard Johnston-Smith, Jennifer Ham, Sue Pimbley, Becky Johnson, Beth Boyes, Nick Gauntlett, Mark Robinson, Sophie Cox, Ernest Dillon, Sue Payne, Sarah MacDonald, Elizabeth Allen, Clare Chamberlayne, Lisa Morris, Sarah Thorne, Oonagh Meyer, Debbie Melville, Sabrina Jones, Jayne Smart, Lizzel Winter, Hilary Westropp, Sam Champney Warrener, Cherry Elvin, Nicola Greenhalgh-Brook, Annette Philpot, Annette Christey, Philly Muir, Helen Martin, Alex Hulme, Lyndsay Gammon, Ellie Halsey, Jo Chilcott, Alex Wyatt-Hughes, Alice Bannister-Bell, Sally Jackson, Melissa Troup, Dan Spencer, Wendy Suddes, Liz Eaton, Simon Somers, William Blane, Tessa Ryley, Alec Miles, Kylie Roddy, Kirsty Fontaine-Henley, Victoria Gallantree, Karen Winston, David Llewellyn, Anne-Marie Taylor, Carol Bennitt, Becky Cooper, Linda de Matteo, Eric Horgan, Micheline Horgan, Jenny Ward, Margie Craib, Islay Auty, Biddy Brasted Watts, Nikki Herbert, Eric Smiley.

Apologies:  Sam York, Tessa Martin-Bird, Fred Hodges, Candice Williams, Elspeth Watson, Victoria Hayton, Clare Sansom, Sally Newcomb, Joanna Potterton, Nick Turner, Gill Watson, Tim Downes, Grainne Sugars, Sue Ricketts, Sue Charters, Sandra Morrison, Liz Taylor, Erik McKechnie, Linda Pearce, Catherine Shine, Caroline Moon, Jo Winfield, Caro Haynes, Carole Broad, Caroline Stevenson, Cheryl Bezants, Donn Collins, Wendy Summers.  Danny Anholt – complete with ode read by Jillie.

3.  Minutes of last AGM (held 8th January 2019 at Addington Manor)

3.1 The minutes were approved as a correct record.

4.  Matters Arising from those Minutes

4.1 Following the meeting last year, the F&I “coaches” page in the British Horse magazine was successfully reinstated (JR, with help from the BHS team).  It slipped off again for the December issue following a magazine revamp – JR will pursue again.  Danny Anholt and Faith Ponsonby both writing articles for forthcoming issues.  More contributions welcomed.

5.  Chairman’s Review for the Year 2019   

5.1   Thank yous to this course’s Study Group leaders, to our Regional Reps (Ireland Faith Ponsonby, Scotland Jen Burnett, North Sue Ricketts, South West Danny Anholt, South East Mandy Luesley), and to the Committee members.

5.2  Special thankyous to departing Committee – David Sheerin and Debbie Follett. 

5.3  Welcome to the nominated replacement Committee members Oonagh Meyer and Jude Murphy (see Election of Committee below)

5.4  See attached “Review for the Year 2019” by Jillie Rogers.

6.  Treasurer’s Report for the Year 2019   

6.1  Debbie Follett summarised the training days held and the profit generated in the year of £1,520 – big thanks to those generously providing facilities free. 

6.2  We now have 210 members in total – an encouraging increase.  End of year cash balance now £20k. The financial summary was distributed – attached here.

6.3  Notable increase in events run that also generated a charitable donation to the horse industry – welcomed by all.

7.  Election of Committee for 2020

7.1 As outlined in the “planning for the AGM” document sent out to all members last year, David Sheerin and Debbie Follett both sadly stood down at this meeting.  Nominations for their successors were sought, and Jude Murphy was nominated by Faith Ponsonby and seconded by Brendan Bergin, and Oonagh Meyer was nominated by Sam Champney Warrener and seconded by Debbie Melville.  Both were warmly welcomed by all.

8.  Any Other Business

8.1  Questions have been circulating in recent months about the industry moving on, which have implications for possible changes to our membership criteria.

Firstly, the strength of the International Group for Equestrian Qualifications (IGEQ) which defines the “International Level 3” qualification – which is of course based upon our own BHSI syllabus originally.  We have now had two approaches for F&I membership under this international equivalency.  Do we admit them?  And if so, how?  It seems we should, but currently our Constitution technically doesn’t allow us to.

Secondly, the launch of the BHS Pathways Stage 5 due later this year 2020 will create Stage 5 “discipline specialists”.  Are we going to be able to admit these Stage 5 discipline specialists to F&I membership?  Again, currently our Constitution doesn’t mention a Stage 5, let alone a discipline specific one…

Both these questions raise a number of issues – of which the factual components need to be established first, in terms of actual equivalency, rigour of the exam processes, etc etc. 

Thirdly, our Constitution is already out of date in its current wording, including missing out details of our recently added Awards (Achievement, and Tom Searle).

The Chair and Committee propose that a Working Party look at both issues, consult widely, and by the autumn 2020 come up with a proposal for how the F&I Association responds to these developments and thus creates a broader and more inclusive Association.

At the end of that process the changes to the Constitution will be proposed and put to the full F&I membership with a minimum of 30 days’ notice prior to the January 2021 AGM.

This was agreed by all present as a sensible way forward.

All assistance with the Working Party’s deliberations welcomed in due course! 

8.2 To Sam Champney Warrener – thank you for running the closed Facebook page so well for us.

To Sally Newcomb – thank you for running the website so well for us.

8.3 From Chris Parker (Addington) and Ann Bostock – stabling for the Addington course next year (5/6 January 2021) must be booked and paid for by 1st January.

9.  Remembrance

All present were invited to stand to remember Dorothy Johnson – not an F&I member but many may remember her.  She died in June 2019 aged 96, having retired aged 88.  And Clarissa Dawson, one of our stalwart members who died in March 2019 after a brave battle with cancer.  Donn Collins read the eulogy at Clarissa’s funeral and F&I were represented on the day.

10. Presentation of Awards

Upstairs over dinner, between courses…  and there were 91 of us for dinner!

Tom Searle award – Brendan Bergin

Achievement Award – Ann Bostock

Pat Smallwood Award – David Sheerin

The cheers and standing ovations went on and on…  What an outstanding evening all round.

11. Date of next AGM

Tuesday 5 January 2021, at Addington, 7pm. 

Posted in AGM

F&I Annual Course Report

January 2020, Addington.

What an inspiring two days. Corinne Bracken and Adam Kemp complemented each other, both in their methodology and in their delivery. For two days we felt totally torn between which coach to watch! The discussion section held on Tuesday was a brilliant idea and gave us a good insight to both coaches’ philosophy and experience.

Overwhelmingly they spoke with a combination of common sense and passion. The discussion was fantastic – we all could have listened to them talk for hours. It was both refreshing and reassuring to hear two exceptional coaches discuss with vehemence how the welfare of the horse must be at the forefront of all training and not trying to sell their ‘way’ as being right. Adam discussed how the dressage horse isn’t able to ‘see’ what was coming, whereas the showjumper could see, and explained how this influenced coaching. Both were supportive of basic training, and spoke about how today’s rider seemed to miss out on ‘Horsemanship’ and were often unable to handle their horses on the ground, and were competing in some areas above their capability. They said that many riders could benefit from thinking like the horse, understanding why their horses would react or shy, for example.

Corinne used circles and 90 degree turns, ‘pole gym’ and guide rails during the warm up stage of each session, regardless of experience, improving stability and rideability and a favourite of ours, riding in between the oxers, or bounce fences before jumping them, which encourage riders to hold their position and leg aid, to help straightness.

The use of a smaller fences towards the end of the arena, was explained. Encouraging the horse to ‘energise’ the canter by engaging the hind leg, with a caveat, that with a tired horse it would kill the canter. Corinne explained the use of plenty of oxers, being the only obstacle to truly work to horse’s core muscles, improving technique.

And how refreshing to hear plenty of humour in the sessions. So many quotes we remembered, because the delivery was fun.
Corinne – “you can’t collect a crooked horse, collection only happens with energy, you can only go fast or slow if they are crooked, but remember in the scales of training, what comes before collection?………. Absolutely Everything.”

“Never underestimate the size of the fence in training, big fences are often used for lack of technique” “Always striving for ‘Rideability’” “Often the more you chase the horse, the more they’ll back off.”

Adam’s analogies of our sport – “You wouldn’t make the tennis racket and then learn the game, or build the Formula 1 car or a Sailing boat and compete when they aren’t quite finished.”

Leg into hand – “There’s no such thing as a one-armed accordion player” and “use your legs before you do it, not after you’ve messed up”.
Adam spoke about how we use language to get to the correct understanding; for example, in the Piaffe work, he would describe the movement being ‘in place’ rather than ‘on the spot’.

He used a whole range of exercises to work and improve each horse and rider – and explained that the Grand Prix test was the best example of asking for “On and Back” throughout an entire test.

There are mountains of notes that we took, too many to mention, but from a spectator’s point of view, it was good to witness progression and horses with a varied experience and ability. Corinne & Adam were both superb at relaying information and including spectators and study groups in each session.

Both coaches appreciated being able to work with knowledgeable and able riders and spectators on these two days too – they both said they really enjoyed it! Next year’s coaches have a tough act to follow. But we are all enthused and are very much looking forward to next year’s Annual Course.

Report by:
Kirsty Fontaine-Henley BHSI, Hayley Newman BHSI, Lowri Powell BHSL5 E&C, Rachelle Purnell. BHS IIT.

CHAIRMAN’S REVIEW of 2019

AGM JANUARY 2020

“Ladies & Gentlemen

Once again it is my pleasure to stand in front of you to give the Chairman’s Review of the past year. We have 91 for supper, the biggest number ever. I am in awe of the length & breadth of this professional association’s membership – people who are prepared to go that extra mile in organizing and presenting such a wide variety of days for us all to attend. You have all taken to heart my plea in the spring newsletter for our days to break even and they have. There was some confusion between the GBS & the euro payments for the Irish Day, so capably organised by Faith Ponsonby, so Faith has decided everyone should pay sterling direct to our Treasurer, for 2020.

Looking at the 2019 calendar of events, it was a very busy year, we have visited studs, including a very in depth look at breeding at West Kington Stud, then an interesting walk through the Irish National Stud. We’ve walked 5* courses with eminent Trainers helping us to find our way across the terrain and over the fences. We’ve become racehorse trainers both at Lambourn at Warren Greatex, then visiting Oaksey House where the Injured Jockeys can get rehabilitation and again at Jessica Harrington’s fabulous yard in Tipperary. Our new Rep for Scotland Jen Burnett put us all to shame with her Saddlery Day in Auchterarder Village Hall and she has something interesting up her sleeve for this year.

At this point I feel we may all give ourselves a clap, because we’ve also become fund raisers for Charities & I would like to read to you a couple of letters firstly from Ruby Walsh, Chair of the Irish Injured Jockey’s Fund, and then the Equine Grass Sickness Fund, add to these the £300 sent by Amy Bannister Bell to the Injured Jockeys Fund UK in 2018 & 2019; we are some group of people.

The F&I Summer Camp at Wellington – I sincerely promise David that Ann & I will not attend again but it was worth it to see the look on Eric Smiley’s face AND to jump a ‘show jump upsides’ with Ann passing Eric on the approach – and I can now do my “Dimagamols”. Another excellent 2 days.

However, I’m asking you now to put this date, 25th July, into your diaries for Ladies Day at Hickstead in the BHS box. In 2019 we were a small number and it has been strongly mentioned that if we cannot bring forward more of our own guests then the day will no longer be ours but maybe opened up to all APCs. So, I really don’t want this to happen it is a unique day for us and our family and friends where we can let our hair down, do come and join us. Whilst I’m talking about social days some of us got excited about going to Olympia in 2019 but then the tickets were very expensive. I’m going to remind you all in the Spring Newsletter and ask for half payment by a date in June and full payment by the required date later this year and ask for the dates YOU would most like. November is the BHS Charity Race and we always have a member of F&I in the ‘field’, so I’m asking for a volunteer.

Down to the nitty gritty of this Association – our training days. Thanks to Judy Harvey for her ‘spring clean’ for Coaches & riders, to Andrew Bennie for coaching a varied group of horses on the flat through grids & across related distances at Myerscough Arena in June and to Pammy Hutton for her time, horses and facilities in September. Pammy was assisted by Islay coaching a group of BHSIs as well as prospective BHSIs. Sadly, the day due to be run at Ingestre, despite a change of date, did not go ahead, neither did the ‘sit with the judge’ day at the BD Nationals with Jenny Ward BD List 1 judge. To this effect your committee has decided, and I sincerely hope with your approval, that whilst we have the funds, days which are with these wonderful coaches/trainers should not be lost. So, as long as there is a nucleus of F&I members participating, those days will be sponsored by F&I to keep them for members, and this includes the day at Talland. We are then looking for someone to organise a pre BHSI/ST 5 day for those very interested Stage 4 students who are seriously looking to progress to the BHSI. I have been reminded that Scholarships are available for help towards future qualifications via your BHS Regional Representatives.

Any days I’ve missed I apologise but thank you to all the organisers AND a big thank you to all the report writers. As you will have seen F&I has two tickets booked for the National Equine Forum on 5th March, I will ask Corrine & Adam to draw two names out of the box at the end of this AGM for two people lucky enough to have entrance to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Westminster. Here, I’d like to thank BHS Education for their help in providing the lanyards, some at the last minute! We also thank Chris Parker, here at Addington, and his team for making us feel so welcome and providing such superb facilities.

Later this evening Islay Auty will give us a brief look at the International Group for Equestrian Qualifications. After supper Dr Andrew Hemmings from the Royal Agricultural College will guide us through Equine Stereotypic Behaviour.
Tomorrow, we continue with these two wonderful Coaches Corinne & Adam whose talk this morning about their own methodologies has filled us with enthusiasm and yet more helpful tips for our own coaching. Their affinity with the horse knows no bounds. Next year we can look forward to two more excellent Coaches, yet to be revealed…”

Jillie Rogers BHSI
7th January 2020

Submit research for the UK Coaching journal

As you may know, our friends at UK Coaching publish a research journal and are always looking for research articles to publish.  If you have a piece of research to publish, we would encourage you to send it in to UK Coaching.  For more information on the journal and read previous editions, see https://www.ukcoaching.org/statements/research and for guidance on submissions seehttps://www.ukcoaching.org/getattachment/statements/Research/UK-Coaching-Research-Journal-submission-guidance-2019.pdf?lang=en-GB

The deadline for submissions for the next publication is the 30th November 2019.