Carl Hester Day 19 August 2014

Organised by Andrew Fletcher BHSI

On Tuesday 19th August a “large” group of F and I members and some of their guests were treated to a truly inspirational demonstration of HAPPY horses enjoying their work with superb horsemanship from the maestro Carl and his riders: Charlotte, Katherine. Amy and Katie.

Carl, with his lovely sense of humour, led us through his training philosophy from the young horse to Grand Prix. We were privileged to watch 6 horses with different temperaments, conformation and training plans. The horses definitely had an aura of “WE LOVE BEING HERE!” The convivial surroundings with dogs, hens and guinea fowl greatly enhanced the relaxed atmosphere.

Carl explained that he buys 2 y o horses with 3 good expressive paces and a workable temperament. The aim is to produce horses to compete at Grand Prix. Of course not all get there but the outlay has not been huge initially. Remember a huge walk not desirable for future collection. The trot can be developed. The horse’s ability to shorten and sit is even more important with the emphasis on piaffe in GP Test. An uphill canter is important.

The mechanics of the horse’s structure and movement (hock and knee) must allow a good moment of suspension. The horse must have self- motivation and want to go!

Carl showed us the development of stretch in different horses and using canter to help. The use of “gymnastic work” to develop Classic Dressage is aided by modern techniques such as Physiotherapy helping to get horses more supple and in self carriage.

His observation, that in the past “on the bit and accurate tests” gained a safe 65-70% now with “expressive” tests 80% plus is attainable, rang true as we watched the horses work.

Carl’s lovely honesty in discussing difficult horses gave hope to us who have ones at home! It was refreshing to hear that many of his horses live out full time and the stabled horses are out of their stables every day in the field. He works the horse 4 days a week.

As Carl worked the more established horses it was attention to detail in the use of transitions correctly ridden that showed the reason why he is the BEST trainer.  His preference to play with his horses rather than school them shows in the joie de vivre in each horse. His simple approach to training horse, his total horsemastership as well as hishorsemanship shone through the whole absorbing morning.

To you Carl and your wonderful horses and riders THANK YOU. We will be back!!

A big “Thank-you” also goes to Andrew Fletcher for organising this superb day.

Faith Ponsonby BHSI
Irish Representative for the F&I Association