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




“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