Report from Hickstead Day, as guests of BHS 

Around 25 of us lucky souls managed to congregate at Hickstead on Saturday 31st July 2010, for what is fast becoming our social highlight of the summer – the RIHS. There were even a few BHSIs who, despite distinguished careers in the horse world, had never done the Hickstead pilgrimage – so it was quite an occasion!
For those who came early enough, there was a chance to pick up a running order for the dressage – booking one’s rendezvous in the afternoon to watch Carl, Maria and then our very own Judy, of course… and for those who preferred jumping, a good speed class to watch around the famous Hickstead show jump fences – serious fences spread out in the enormous galloping arena, on perfect going, very much on a slope under our very eyes from the BHS box. Extraordinary to think that that perfectly cared for springy turf will by the time I write this have been pulled up to insert drainage…
Of course some were simply lured by the shopping…!
A sandwich lunch watching the pony pairs driving scurry was only slightly marred by the absence of Ann Bostock who last year cheered at full volume but was this year absent for that part as she’d been called away to deliver her accompanying friend to tend a suddenly sick relative – poor Ann spent more of the day on the M25 than at Hickstead! Still, we did our best – inspired by some cracking pairs of ponies and bold driving.

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Report on F&I Association Training with Judy Harvey FBHS

For many years I have admired Judy’s riding, training and judging but thought she probably only had time to help the top flight riders such as Ruth Edge. Then I discovered that Ann Bostock is a regular customer at Great Horwood and with the training day presenting itself in the F&I news together with an unusual ‘window’ in my diary there was a perfect opportunity to be seized with both hands.
I feared the day would be full but found I was able to take two teenage ex advanced Eventers working at Adv Med but only lightly competed and I was anxious that I would appear very rusty in front of a well educated audience of BHS Instructors. On arrival I saw Ann Bostock and her horse looking warm in the lorry park after their lesson and then received a friendly welcome with hot coffee in the refreshing and much needed summer rain as I watched a lovely grey event horse ridden by Nettie Christey having a lesson. They were working on establishing the changes.
Feeling bolder now, I tacked up my first horse and entered the 20x60m school with fantastic truth telling mirrors along one short side.

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The National Equine Forum Thursday 4th March 2010 

The Annual National Equine Forum was held on Thursday 4th March 2010 in central London. As part of the Forum, and as a result of the interest shown at last year’s forum in Tim Hadaway’s presentation on Greenwich and the proposed site for the equestrian events of the 2012 London Olympics, a tour of that site was arranged for Wednesday afternoon with Tim as tour guide.
Alison Craig and I participated and, interesting and informative as the tour was, we remain sceptical about the choice of site on logistical grounds (it appears to be too small and has poor access) and the lack of any physical legacy. We do however have faith in Tim and his organising group and if, as seems, Greenwich is the venue then we’re sure if anyone can pull it off then Tim can!
For those that may have doubts about the nature and severity of the cross country phase, don’t. It won’t be a galloping course, it will be more like “Gatcombe Open”, with steep gradients, plenty of turning, accuracy at a premium and large crowds in close proximity to the course. “Handy” horses will be a necessity! But although a short course, the topography of Greenwich park will make it a stiff test.

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Report on the F and I Seminar, Hartpury College, Equine Therapy Centre

Presenters: Kathryn Nankervis MSc, CVPM, Elizabeth Launder BSc, MSc and Joanne Winfield FBHS, BSc.
Tuesday 23rd February, 2010.
This study day focused on the rider for a change, and started with a lecture from Physiotherapist Liz Launder on the importance of spinal health and good posture.
It was very interesting to know that the intervertebral discs will decompress if the subject lies flat i.e. over night and therefore allows the discs to become fuller – filling the space between the vertebrae more fully.
During the day, the intervertebral discs become compressed with standing and slumping – this is added to if the subject is a little overweight and if you wear high heels. This is also why many of us suffer from lower back pain (not because we are all overweight but because of the fact we slump or twist to alleviate lower back pain). The importance of good posture was also highlighted with a spinal model used to show the intervertebral disc space and how one side can compress and the other side become almost stretched. In fact, the main problem seems to be joint instability, leading to pain.

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