Marketing Yourself and Your Business

Speaking personally, I find marketing quite difficult and have often felt frustrated with the BHS, that they do not promote our qualifications better. I am very proud of my qualifications and really want them to be recognised as the best training system for instructors/trainers in the horse industry. I also feel like I have wasted a lot of money on useless advertising over the years and don’t want to continue doing so! When this day was advertised I put it in my diary straight away and came along with an open mind!

Lynn Petersen gave an introduction to the day speaking ‘off the cuff.’ It was refreshing to hear about the new BHS website and that we are taking marketing and customer service more seriously now at head office and that we are planning to promote the register of instructors and all its members. I was also pleased to hear the new website is due to go live imminently and in fact it has done this week!

Emma Day, Director of Marketing, Membership and Communications was next up. She had some interesting results from the recent Instructors survey. Basically it showed word of mouth and networking are currently our favoured marketing methods. She strongly advised that when we have new enquiries we record where they came from so we can measure results. Emma was able to give us a sneak preview of some of the website features, which should include the ability to search for a specific instructor close to you, rather than produce a list of everyone in the region! Emma spoke briefly about setting up your own website, search engine website optimisation, blogging and using google maps and EMAGIN to flag your business. These are all relatively easy to do but most people seem to avoid them as it is time consuming to get set up and considered to be technically challenging! It was suggested this could be an area where people may benefit from more help. Read more Marketing Yourself and Your Business

Gareth Hughes Dressage Clinic

I was lucky enough to be invited to join the F & I Association course which was held at Coleg, Gwent (Usk).

The course was taken by Gareth Hughes. What an inspirational trainer. He worked with 10 combinations all at various levels of training from an ex racehorse to PSG.

Gareth assessed each combination, quickly identifying the “honest” strengths and weaknesses. He then clearly explained to the riders and to the spectators WHY the combination was having difficulties. Read more Gareth Hughes Dressage Clinic

Ladies Day

The day started well – it wasn’t raining and the journey down was clear of traffic. As soon as we turned up it became apparent that the ground conditions were not nearly as wet as we had expected and wellies were definitely not needed !! Having hit the trade stands and spent much too much money we headed for the BHS box where we had fabulous views of the main arena.

We watched the side saddle, scurry driving and the miniature horses (why are they called miniature horses when they are so small ? ). The highlight of the day was walking the Queen Elizabeth II Cup course with Steve Fazakerley. It was amazing to walk up to fences of 1.50 m high with incredible spreads. Steve gave a real insight into the thoughts of the course builder and was so knowledgeable. He was commentating a lot about the undulations of the ground – saying how much a slight rise or drop in the ground made such a difference to the way the riders would ride each individual fence. He did say, when put on the spot, that he expected about 6 clear rounds in the 1st round. Not bad as 5 made it through to the jump off – the eventual winner being Keith Doyle on his own Walk on Tall II.

It was such an enjoyable and relaxing day and so educational – it was just a shame that not more members took the opportunity to go.


Report by Nicole Biggs


Show Jumping training with Ernest Dillon FBHS

This clinic was aimed at all standards of horse and rider. It was open to Fellows and I’s and those training for the E and T. Held on Monday 16th July, starting at 9am at Wellington Equestrian Centre and costing £40.00 per horse. Spectators were welcome. This event was kindly organised by Annette Christey and facilities provided by David Sheerin and Wellington Equestrian Centre.

I am sure those of us who planned to attend Wellington on 19th July were thinking a nice informative summers day would help inspire and lift the spirits.

In reality it rained fairly steadily all day and much hiding in the very useful shelter in the school hedge was required. Ah well, so 2012 continues!

However we still had an interesting and useful day in the lovely and vast outdoor school kindly provided by Wellington riding – oh to be able to work in a school like that every day! Read more Show Jumping training with Ernest Dillon FBHS

National Equine Forum 20th Annual Meeting

On Thursday 8th March 2012, I was fortunate enough to attend the 20th Annual National Equine Forum, as a representative for the F&I Association. This was held at The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster. One of my reasons for attending was to support our friend and colleague from F&I, Sue Pimbley, who presented an excellent paper which considered the value of Equine Degrees.

The days programme was filled with a total of fourteen papers presented by professionals and experts reflecting every area of the equine industry. Helen Niebhur, a specialist in equine law, from Darbys Solicitors presented a paper on issues on liability and their resolutions. Janice Shardlow head of governance and legal affairs at the BEF spoke about doping issues concerning the balance between welfare and performance

I also particularly enjoyed Professor Derek Knottenbelt’s discussion of two equine medical conditions – Sarcoids and Headshaking. Professor Knottenbelt presented a comprehensive argument that further research and investigation was a priority in the attempt to fully understand Headshaking as the serious neurological condition that it is. Read more National Equine Forum 20th Annual Meeting

Morning at Mrs Robeson’s National Hunt yard

We were blessed with lovely Spring weather for the morning at Mrs Robeson’s National Hunt yard in Buckinghamshire. The strike rate for this 24 horse yard since 1st January is looking impressive, 4 winners and numerous placings from the handful that run at this time of the year.

Two FBHS’s, five BHSI’s and 3 guests were treated to watching “happy athletes” in their work. We arrived in time for 2nd lot who were schooling over chase fences and hurdles in a paddock with poles, show jumps, ditches, tyres and barrels which all the horses start over. Then if they don’t want to be a racehorse they can always find another job for them. Read more Morning at Mrs Robeson’s National Hunt yard

Jump training with Kenneth Clawson, F&I Annual Course

As a first timer to this course, I was a little apprehensive about what to expect, however I was quickly put at ease by all! A lovely welcome indeed!

Day 1

Kenneth Clawson our jump trainer for the two days decided to have a theme.

“How do we as riders know what contact, feel and timing is? As coaches how do we teach it? “

A wide topic as these words will and do mean different things to everyone, including me. I was fortunate enough to ride three different horses, of various levels and these words had very different meanings to each of the horses I rode, this depended on the horse’s age, stage of training and horse and rider combination strengths and weaknesses.

Kenneth used his counting of canter strides down the long side from quarter maker to quarter marker in a 23m x 40m area just wider than the average dressage arena. This self-educated riders as it highlighted the horse and riders ability to shorten and lengthen. Or lack of one or other, a constructive exercise as it sharpened up the riders timing while maintaining a comfortable contact with the horse and riders had to remain soft in feel. Read more Jump training with Kenneth Clawson, F&I Annual Course

Dressage Training with Judy Harvey, F&I Annual Course

Having been asked to write the report upon the training I decided rather than report upon my view alone, a more accurate picture would be provided for those unable to attend, if I asked willing participants to summarise their view upon how their experience had benefited them. Responses such as …..

“Great to have fresh solutions to problems and to be able to ride in an encouraging and supportive atmosphere”

“Lovely to see progression between horses and riders between this and the last session with Judy”

“Both trainers were able to identify the same training problems being encountered – great to practice differentiating the aids and variations within the gait to benefit both flat and jump”

“Encouraged me to ride through problems encountered so developing more challenge to me and my horse”….clearly support how successful the sessions were. Read more Dressage Training with Judy Harvey, F&I Annual Course