Report from F&I Webinar – “Biomechanics of Horse and Rider from a Coaching Perspective” delivered by Dr Russell Mackechnie-Guire

Ruth Baxter kindly organised the Webinar on the

Biomechanics of Horse and Rider from a Coaching Perspective” delivered by Dr Russell Mackechnie-Guire on 4th Nov 2020.

After a few anxious moments linking up to the Webinar which Ruth planned so well we were treated to a most wonderful 2 hours of research that is ground breaking to say the least!

I sat riveted to my chair listening to and watching a fantastic revelation of knowledge that will benefit horse and rider for many years.

Russell told us that his research is applicable to:

1. Improve the welfare of the ridden horse.

2. Improve the health of the ridden horse.

3. Improve the performance of the ridden horse.

Coaches have a huge responsibility to absorb the ongoing research and apply it in a practical manner for the ridden horse.

He introduced us to research on:

1. Girth Fit.

2. Saddle Panel design.

3. Bridle Fit and Design.

Girth Fit.

Girth fit research began in 2009 leading up to the London Olympics. It was to help riders get the very best performance possible from the Team GB Dressage horses at the Olympics. Every last detail will gain the edge over the other teams and gather every vital mark to win. Win they did!

By using pressure pads it was established that a lot of pressure was applied behind the elbow area but less in the Sternum. Once a modified, anatomical girth was designed to relieve this pressure it was clear that the horses displayed more hock flexion and more extension in front. There was equal action on both sides. This research was further used on Jumping Elite horses at 1.40m, Racehorses and Eventers at gallop.

Russell explained that the modified girth allowed better use of Abdominal muscles by reducing pressure and allowing better absorption of ground force. There is a better Range of Movement and ground cover in the length of stride.

He is not a big advocate of elasticated girths as they can be too tight. He advised to have girth buckles high up and if using training aids it is advisable to attach to a ring on the girth and not round the girth to reduce sternum pressure.

Saddle Panel Design.

A saddle that is too narrow in the waist/twist of the saddle over T10 to T13 area of the spine will cause pressure on the spine. Riders like a narrow waist as their hips lack suppleness.  More research has taken place with saddle fit. Again a modified saddle reduces pressure. If a horse has pressure applied over this area of the spine it will develop a locomotary strategy to cope that does not allow the horse step through. This does not enhance welfare or performance. This applies to Jumping and racing saddles too.

With a modified saddle the stride length is increased. He discussed saddle slip/roll.  A horse becomes straighter once the saddle is corrected and the rider balance is improved.

Bridle Fit and Design.

We as coaches must consider head conformation when fitting the bridle. The bridle must be considered as a whole unit not just the noseband.  A wide head piece, a buckle over the head piece, brow band or rolled leather will cause extra pressure and involve the TMJ.

The TMJ has an influence over hind limb movement.

A crank noseband with rings has a more even pressure than a traditional structure of cavesson noseband.

Bits have a huge influence and very often the horse moves the tongue to protect the roof of the mouth, hence drawing back of the tongue.

There is clearly much more research to be done in this area.

Rider Effect and Symmetry.

The horse likes stability in order to move freely and with confidence.  If the rider is crooked the balance is upset by so many times the weight of the rider depending on the gait and will be more unbalanced in canter than in walk. The rider instability can be caused by a physiological issue or slippage of the saddle in most cases. However we must be aware that the horse may be just lame.

The great mantra throughout the presentation was:

“Have you had this saddle checked by a professional saddle fitter and if so when?”  Some horses may have to have this done monthly.

We, as coaches, have a responsibility to notice girth, saddle and bridle fit. It is our duty then to make sure the rider gets the girth, saddle or bridle correctly fitted to help to rectify any asymmetry in the horse’s way of going.

By doing this as coaches, we will help improve the welfare, performance and longevity of the working life of the ridden horse.

Thank you Russell and Ruth!

Faith Ponsonby 7th Nov 2020.

New Fellow

Erik Mackechnie-Guire FBHS, pictured with Commodore

Congratulations to Erik Mackechnie-Guire FBHS who passed the Fellowship of the British Horse Society Assessment recently. Pictured here with Commodore.

Notice of the 2021 AGM

Annual General Meeting

To be held on Tuesday 5th January 2021 at 7.00pm at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre, Bucks, by kind permission of Chris Parker.


  1. Welcome address by Jillie Rogers BHSI – Chairman.
  2. Attendance and Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes of last AGM (held 7th January 2020 at Addington Manor)
  4. Matters Arising from those Minutes not dealt with below
  5. Chairman’s Review for the Year 2020
  6. Treasurer’s Report for the Year 2020
  7. Election of Committee for 2021
  8. Adoption of Revised F&I Constitution
  9. Adoption of F&I Membership Agreement
  10. Any Other Business
  11. Remembrance
  12. Presentation of Awards
Posted in AGM

F&I Autumn Newsletter, October 2020

Dear Member,

Well, we all had a pleasant, fairly Covid-free summer, although better weather would have made a difference after that very dry April and May.  Here in Ireland it just didn’t seem to know when to stop raining, and I believe it’s been a wee bit damp elsewhere too!  However, somehow the harvest was gathered in even though yields were much lower than hoped.

As soon as lockdown eased, horses were brought back in from the fields and the competitions started in earnest.  People dashed from one event to the next as if each event/show might be the last. It has been most interesting to see people at shows and events masked up as they take the whole Covid pandemic seriously, whilst there is still a lot of ‘hugging’ when a goal is scored in football matches!  Horse Sport Ireland has issued various diktats, and we are, for the most part, well-behaved competitors.

Our ‘active’ Assessors here in Ireland have been busy with the new ‘devolved’ Stages Assessments.  I’m unsure about others but myself and Faith Ponsonby feel they are helpful for the candidates.  We have both decided that when we meet the candidates, initially, we will stand back to our 2 metres, remove the mask and show the candidate that we can and do smile and to watch for the crinkle at the corner of our eyes!  So far, this seems to have helped nervous candidates!!

What an odd year, no Badminton, Burghley or Ladies Day at Hickstead – but there was a fabulous F&I training day organised by the indomitable Ann Bostock (if I was Coronavirus I’d be scared) with Judy Harvey.  As usual, Judy pulled out all the stops and those who were able to make the day had a full-on day of coaching.

What a fantastic Webinar organised for us by Amanda Holloway with our premier Applied Psychologist in the equestrian world, founder of Centre 10, Charlie Unwin.  Diary date the return of Charlie on March 1st, more details will be available in the New Year.  Meantime I’m looking forward to the Russell Mackechnie-Guire Biomechanics evening on November 4th – organiser Ruth Baxter. This has to be the time when I congratulate Russell’s other /better half Erik for successfully adding himself to the Fellows’ Wall of Fame in the BHS offices.   Very well done Erik, no easy task, we are all so very pleased for you.

And we have a great breeding day booked March 24th – get that in the diary for next year too.  Huge thanks to all our intrepid organisers.

As January draws steadily closer and we look forward to the F&I Annual Course, your Committee is very aware of the constantly changing pandemic scenarios.  I think it better I don’t mention some of the thoughts re the organisation of the two days, should we find ourselves still with travel restrictions and the like.  Suffice to say, the committee, led by Ann Bostock, has all options in hand and we are determined to hold whatever parts of the Annual Course that we possibly can.  We have another committee meeting in early December and will keep all participants updated.  Meanwhile, as you are all aware, we have made certain reductions to the Annual Course fees, and if you had hoped to attend but can’t (for whatever reason) then other days in the coming year will carry reduced fees for members.

Sadly, Sister Chiara Hatton Hall FBHS died in September at the great age of 90.  A wonderful woman, an icon and for me the person who did so much to shape my life within the horse world.  The Galloping Nun, Cherrie – and I didn’t get to call her Cherrie until she attended the F&I day at Hickstead some years ago, only the school girls were allowed to call her Cherrie, for us staff she was Mrs Hatton Hall… and quite right too.

As we now approach the winter and the season of colds and ‘flu (and I daren’t even mention the threats of tiers, further Covid lockdowns, more travel restrictions etc), we will all need to be just that little bit more careful.  I sincerely hope that all of you are staying healthy.

It just remains for me to say “Take Care, Stay Safe” and I look forward to seeing you again soon, on Zoom or in person!

Best wishes


STOP PRESS.  You will all have heard Republic of Ireland is back to Level 5 Lockdown and all that this means.  Travel restrictions of 5KM unless…………… Thomasina Trek will have to come back out of the shed and I’ll be back on me bike for 12 miles a day.

“BREATHE AND FLOW, little Jillie” as Cherrie would have said when I was getting anxious.

Sister Chiara Hatton Hall

From Jillie – on her “Other Mother”…:

In March 1967 I started my training as a Working Pupil under the tutelage of Mrs Cherrie Hatton Hall at Moat House Benenden.  There were two yards – Moat House which boasted an L shaped stable block with tack room and feed room, an indoor school, a jumping lane and in summer arenas outside in the paddock.  Approximately half a mile down the road was School Farm here were the majority of the stables including a converted milking parlour and just across the drive from the tack room School Farmhouse where Cherrie and Nigel (The Captain) lived.  School Farm was to be my ‘yard’ during my training to become that very self-important BHSAI and over the next couple of summers when I returned to help with the influx of summer students.

To the staff Cherrie was always Mrs Hatton Hall, BUT the school girls could call her Cherrie.  I remember Princess Anne’s detective cycling up the road after the minibus when she and the other Benenden girls were collected for their lessons.  We would bring the horses up from School Farm and then wait to walk them back after the lesson, so we cleaned tack in the Moat House tackroom – just how was it PA’s (as she was referred to) apple for the horse was ALWAYS so much bigger than anyone else’s?

Cherrie was likely to arrive on the yard at School Farm first thing in the morning just prior to driving up to The Moat.  “Quick quick she’s coming” and then “This yard is filthier than my kitchen” we would hear – and that was saying something!!!  We got a little bit fed up, so as one of the girls at Moat House was going out with the local garage mechanic we hatched a plan.  On a day when the garage owner was not going to be there we crept out onto the drive and carefully removed the hub caps from the precious MG – after a quick walk onto the yard Mrs HH drove off up the road to much rattling!!  On reaching Moat House she was in despair, meanwhile said girl suggested it go down to the garage.  Off she went, to be met by the mechanic who promised to look at the problem.  Later in the day the MG was returned to Moat House as good as new.  No charge as he was pleased to be able to help but keep it quiet from his Boss!!  When I visited Sister Chiara at the Convent about 5 years ago the precious MG was brought into the conversation. “Little Jillie do you remember that day”?  I confessed and we all giggled about one of my many misdemeanours.

Following the death of The Captain, Cherrie tried to soldier on but decided to ‘take the veil’.  She was always known as Sister Chiara, never Sister Cherrie, as that was the name she took.  On that visit I took my copy of ‘The Galloping Nun’ for her to sign, and we had such a lovely afternoon reminiscing.

How glad am I that I did my initial training with such a great woman. Much love from so many of us Cherrie – there can never be another Charity Mary (Cherrie), Sister Chiara Hatton Hall FBHS.

And the obituary from The Times online:

Sister Chiara Hatton Hall – obituary

Equestrian judge who taught Princess Anne to ride and was nicknamed the ‘galloping nun’ after swapping jodhpurs for a habit
Cherrie Hatton Hall learnt in 1962 that she would be giving riding lessons to Princess Anne, who was a pupil at Benenden School in Kent. “I was called to see Miss Clarke, the head mistress,” she recalled. “She said that the police officer on guard would come down each time Princess Anne came to ride and that we may have problems with the press and so on, and she said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t drop her because she’s got brittle bones’.”

The princess was a conscientious student, but Hatton Hall recalled that the future Olympic equestrian had much to learn. “Before, I think she had just got on and ridden at home with her groom, not being told how to ride, and this was a different sort of schooling.” On another occasion, Hatton Hall had to emphasise that “halt means halt”, even to a princess. Anne’s request to wear spurs while riding because “uncle Dickie [Mountbatten] says I should” was firmly discouraged.

Virginia Leng, who became the world eventing champion and winner of four Olympic medals, was another pupil.
Riding and royalty were Hatton Hall’s world. A scion of Anglo-Irish aristocracy, she had been presented at Court in 1948, married an army officer and taught riding to the international social elite. Yet when widowed at 42 she exchanged her jodhpurs for a Franciscan habit, embracing a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Franciscans are an order that maintains a working life and Hatton Hall became an instructing judge on a diocesan marriage tribunal. Then, at the suggestion of an imaginative superior, she took up the reins once more, this time at the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre in Cranleigh.

Between judging top-flight dressage competitions she travelled the world, teaching riding instructors how to bring self-respect and joy to mentally and physically disabled adults and children. In Singapore she appeared on posters and T-shirts riding a black horse with her white veil flying in the wind, leading to her being known as “the galloping nun”.

Charity Mary Kendall was born in Southsea, Hampshire, in 1930, the daughter of Charles Kendall, an officer in the Royal Artillery, and his wife, Cara (née Pelly), who was from Ireland. She had a younger brother, John, and two much younger sisters, Juliet and Alex. They were largely raised by Coco, a friend who lived with the family. They moved to Alton, in Hampshire, where the children had their first pony, Tom Thumb, and then South Kensington, where Cherrie’s earliest schooling was at the Convent of the Assumption in Kensington Square. On the eve of war her father bought Great Nineveh, a 100-acre farm in Benenden, Kent.

In 1946 Cherrie was sent to stay with a Swiss family in Lausanne. There she learnt to ski, took riding lessons and played ping-pong with American soldiers. By then her Catholic faith was important. “Since those days, I have always got up very early in the morning and used that time for prayer,” she wrote.

She spent time riding in Ireland and back in Britain created the Benenden Riding Establishment with her father at Great Nineveh. Life became a whirl of cross-country, showjumping and dressage. She watched the equestrian events at the 1948 London Olympics, rode at Badminton in 1953, hunted near Baghdad with the Royal Harithea, and enjoyed an extended stay on an uncle’s ranch in Washington state.

In 1951 she met Nigel Hatton Hall when he helped to push her car out of the mud after Mass one Sunday. He was aide-de-campe to General Sir Alec Bishop, a postwar regional commissioner for North Rhine- Westphalia. “The story goes that I put my hand out of the window with sixpence to give him and said ‘Thank you, my good man’,” she wrote.

They were married at Brompton Oratory in 1955 and were both involved in Benenden Riding Establishment, which drew wealthy clients from around Europe. The following year her horse Bright Prospect was selected for the three-day event team at the Olympic Games in Stockholm, but fell lame and did not compete.

Eventually there were tensions with her father and the Hatton Halls left to set up their own establishment, Moat riding school, just down the road. An accommodation was reached where Benenden Riding Establishment trained adults and the Moat took children. Thus it was that Princess Anne became a pupil. Increasingly Hatton Hall was becoming known in the wider horse world and in 1961 she was made a Fellow of the British Horse Society, a rare accolade. Her husband, an alcoholic, died in 1972.

The stress of running a business, the trauma of being estranged from her parents and the misery of being a young widow were too much and in 1974 she entered the novitiate. Later she told how “having been in charge of a business for 20 odd years and married”, the change of pace came as a shock. There were no books in her cell, she had the bare minimum of clothing and her life was one of obedience. In time she was able to return to examining for the British Horse Society, doing so for 20 years clad in her nun’s habit.

During a year at Beda College in Rome she was not permitted to drive. She studied pastoral theology and canon law and, having made her final profession in 1981, became an “office boy” for the diocesan tribunal office at Archbishop’s House in Southwark, recalling that the archbishop was very kind “because I was off for quite a number of days, either to meetings or running round after people or horses”.

In 1971 Princess Anne was appointed patron of the RDA, becoming president in 1985. She oversaw a presentation to Hatton Hall in 2001 in which the “galloping nun” was named life vice-president of the RDA.

Hatton Hall’s memoir, The Galloping Nun, was published in 2013, while her “fire and brimstone” lectures earned her the nickname among her nephews of “the Penguin”, after the austere Sister Mary Stigmata in the film The Blues Brothers (1980). One of them said that when she was with horses, it was as if she had a magic wand: “She could identify a problem down to one little muscle, and then through patient exercise the problem would melt away. Cherrie spoke the language of equus fluently.”

Sister Chiara Hatton Hall, nun and riding instructor, was born on August 15, 1930. She died on September 23, 2020, aged 90

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


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


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


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


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