F&I Training Day at Wellington Riding with Darrell Scaife FBHS, 4th October 2013

We are so lucky to have these training days at our disposal and I know we all found Darrell very clear and easy to understand and he produced amazing consistency in his methods throughout the day. His main ethos is ‘to give the horse a better ridden experience’ and as a trainer ‘to say the right thing at the right time’ – his Badminton tale ( too much would be lost in translation to repeat here ) had me chuckling for days.

Controlled forward movement with rhythm and bend in all paces was how we began the mornings jumping session. Using the rhythm to allow the horse to remain in balance and stay calm.

We had a collection of green horses, David Sheerin on a barely jumped 4 yr old, Ann Bostock on a unshown jumped point2pointer, Cheryl Bezants on an explosive bay 5yr old and Tasha De Grave on a coloured mare.  They began jumping by walking to a low upright with just a trot stride on the way in. Darrell was very careful to allow the horses to find their own balance and pat the ground and jump. All the horses quickly improved in their technique. They progressed to putting some dog legs and curved fences together and some lines were quite challenging! By using less rein and more guidance through looking, all the horses jumped exceptionally well and really did start to find their own balance. Read more F&I Training Day at Wellington Riding with Darrell Scaife FBHS, 4th October 2013

Report on visit to Emile Faurie’s Yard 

On Monday September 30th, Cherry Elvin kindly organised a morning for Members (and friends) to visit Emile Faurie’s Yard.

It was an action packed morning with Emile giving us the opportunity to observe the training of six different horses ranging for a lovely 3 year old to Topolino, his GP horse.

The first horse was a 3 year old that he bought as a foal and had been backed approximately 8 weeks.  It was great to see the confidence that this horse had whilst being handled, lunged and then ridden for a short time.

Emile then rode a six year old – Duke Ellington, in a double bridle and explained how he likes horses to start to work in these from this sort of age.  He worked on transitions especially to quicken this horse’s hindlegs and then through some lateral work towards canter pirouettes. Read more Report on visit to Emile Faurie’s Yard 

Blenheim Horse Trials Course Walk – September, 2013

A Small group attended a course walk at Blenheim CCI3* organised by the BHS F&I Association with course designer Eric Winters, who kindly gave his time free of charge. The money collected has been donated to the Kenneth Clawson Memorial Fund.

The aim was to walk the course and understand the philosophy behind designing a course of this level at this time in the eventing calendar coupled with  the constraints of running in a parkland environment catering for a commercially run venture.

Eric explained that before he thinks about the course he considers at what time of year the competition is taking place as this would reflect on the complexity of the questions asked, offering a slightly softer course at the beginning of the season compared to one at the latter.  Another is the issue of terrain and the ability to encompass the distance of the course explaining that although the site looks big the available land is quite restricted, citing to extend the course it would have to go through a wood and that has major cost implications. Read more Blenheim Horse Trials Course Walk – September, 2013

F & I Association, Burghley Course Walk: 6th August, 2013 

It’s a number of years since I have been to Burghley Horse Trials and the early start on a wet, dark Friday morning was not the most inspiring start to the day!! However, as we arrived the atmosphere was building and  as we waited by fence 2 in front of the beautiful Burghley House we all began to feel part of this special 4* event. This year the F&I Association were lucky enough to secure Eric Smiley (Irish Team rider and trainer of the Belgian team) for the course walk and we knew from the start we were in for an exceptional insight into the course from a rider, course designers and trainers perspective.

Eric began by describing the importance of mentality when walking the course and placed the riders into 3 categories…either as a rider who wants to enjoy the occasion, those who want to complete or those who want to be competitive and be in the top 30 finishers, this was very much the theme throughout the walk.

Eric clearly explained the relevance of the first five fences being a test for the horse and rider combination and ensuring that both were ready, both physically and mentally,  for the challenges which lay ahead over the 31 fences…how any mistake or a decision to take a long route early means less commitment for the rest of the course. Read more F & I Association, Burghley Course Walk: 6th August, 2013 

Report from Ladies Day at Hickstead written by Liz Eaton BHSI

The sun shone for Ladies day at the Royal International horse show, giving us the opportunity to get our posh frocks (and our legs!) out for an airing.

About twenty of us enjoyed the facilities of a box with a great view of the main arena. The group included our chairman Jillie Rogers and her guests, Tessa Martin–Bird FBHS and.Alison Le Fevre, head of the BHS training department.

Coffee was available during the morning although most people headed for the Pimms bar. A delicious lunch was served offering plenty of choice and ensuring we would be fuelled up for the lengthy (well it felt like it after an unnecessary second helping) course walk.

We were guided around the track for the Queen Elizabeth cup by Lucy Cabrita one of the team of course designers. She explained how and why the fences were built and the challenges they posed for the horses and riders. Many of us were surprised by how undulating the ground was and were in awe of the size of the fences.

Some super photos of the party and the fences have appeared on the F and I Facebook page and worth a giggle to see who forgot they were in a dress and not sat on a horse! (Err, that would be me)

The competition itself was really exciting culminating in a very tightly contested jump off. Shane Breen rode brilliantly to claim the victory giving Sam Champney-Warrener’s guest his second win in the sweepstake in three years. He asked not to be named in case of match fixing allegations.

The speed class which followed was no less entertaining as the final fence was right in front of our box.

A spot of retail therapy and a nice cup of tea provided a perfect end to the day.

If you didn’t come this time make it a priority next year. It’s a great opportunity for socialising with other members and a very good value day out.

Liz Eaton BHSI

Visit to Coolmore Stud

On a glorious Thursday 11 July Faith Ponsonby BHSI, Representative for the Fellows & Instructors Association, arranged for a group of us to visit Coolmore Stud in Co. Tipperary. A small but select group of 15 with visiting BHSI Ann Bostock & her husband from Buckinghamshire England were very ably guided round by Peter Steele who spent two hours showing us the prepping areas for the mares, the covering yards, stallion boxes and stallion paddocks. Here we were lucky enough to see, Danehill Dancer and Holy Roman Emperor and in his stable the wonderful Galileo.

Peter was a complete encyclopedia of knowledge regarding Coolmore; it’s origins as a 150-acre farm to the present 3,000 acres in Tipperary including out laying mare and foal farms.   Here 600 people are employed, whilst with the Coolmore Studs in America and Australia taking the work force to 1,500. Read more Visit to Coolmore Stud

F and I Coaching and Discussion Day

On Wednesday 3rd July 2013 10am – 4pm at Shorthampton Farm, Chipping Norton, OX7 3HW, 9 delegates enjoyed a fabulous day coaching, discussing and sharing schooling exercises, guided by Jeremy Michaels FBHS.  The day was hosted by Mandy Holloway who provided us with a great venue for the day, fantastic horses and riders and a most excellent lunch.

The well planned, friendly format of the day enabled all of the delegates to participate and share ideas.  It is, i am sure you will agree, good to be able to bounce ideas around and discuss different ways of getting to the end goal. Read more F and I Coaching and Discussion Day

Carl Hester Morning

On June 13 approximately 50 fortunate F and I members and guests assembled at Carl Hester’s idyllic Gloucester base to feast our eyes and fuel our minds with Carl’s inspirational ways.

The morning started with Carl discussing his four year olds and then progressing through the ages and stages finishing up with Dances with Wolves – a horse which Carl is very excited about.

We were in store for an extra treat as double Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin was kindly showing some of the horses for us.  Another young rider called “Sophie” was showing her talent and skills when riding the 7 year old Chocolate Orange.
Carl continually dropped in pearls of wisdom for us to soak up. A lot of the work at home is done in rising trot and a lot of leg yield is used.  He stated that softness and submission  was needed before riding forward.  Create movement don’t buy it.  A potential Grand Prix horse needs to have plenty of go as a youngster! His last gem was if you want them to stay sound keep them moving!

Throughout the morning Carl stressed his ethos with the horses, saying you will hear the same old thing , repeat and be consistent.

The horses work four times a week with plenty of hacking and daily turn out, often at night and together!  It became very clear that Carl is not only an outstanding trainer but a man of true values, always putting his horses wellbeing before anything else, going to great lengths  to make sure  that they are being trained in a positive, happy environment.

Carl was outstandingly generous sharing his training methods and happily answering  questions and later showing us around his splendid yard.  He was always patient and amusing.  Thank you Andrew for organising this splendid day which ran so smoothly, was such a success and a treat for us all.

Report by Caro Haynes


Judy Harvey training day 22nd May 2013 

“Forward Forward Forward………” I heard in the background of my “hands free” as I turned the car around and waved for the third time at the man walking his dog who laughed and waved back. From there Traffic Controller Ann talked me in to the yard!

Needless to say I missed the best part of the first session, however I did hear an excellent explanation of how to encourage a horse to take the neck out without losing the connection and balance by keeping the reins short enough to maintain a good contact and producing greater support and engagement from the hind legs, which reminded me of just why we were there. Judy Harvey is both generous and exceptionally clear in her explanations of training, coaching, judging and riding, indeed an all round view from which everyone is able to learn.

Just seven were seated to watch and absorb the sound training method and to join in the open discussion which Judy is able to encourage, offering only positive feedback underlining the comments made which serves to further the confidence of all who contribute. Read more Judy Harvey training day 22nd May 2013 

Badminton course walk with Nick Turner, May 3rd 2013

It was unusual to drive south from Northumberland to find that spring was also late at Badminton with slow growing grass and no swallows in the main arena on the Friday.

However, sun, blue skies and a fresh wind made perfect conditions for course walking.

Nick started by saying how well and fit all the horses had looked at the initial trot up the previous evening and that he felt that this year’s course was for a thinking rider but horse friendly.

The fences were discussed in terms of approach, lines through combinations, stride options and the effects of various landings.

Gear changes were mentioned often (we’re talking Porsche not Minis! ) The need for the powerful, hock engaged canter cropped up several times.

An awareness of time versus the terrain and the ability of the rider to make up their time on the open places after the inevitable steadying effect of the combinations.

Riders making decisions and committing to their line but ultimately riding with their eye and reacting positively to what is happening underneath them.

Thank you Nick for giving up your time and Ann for organising such an educational and enjoyable afternoon.

Report by Sally Robinson


Jeanette Brakewell Training Day 

We were blessed with lovely sunshine when we headed to Boomerang for our cross country training with Janette Brakewell. It was bitterly cold, but, at least no rain and the going was ‘good to firm’. The schooling area is regularly harrowed and you really couldn’t complain about the going although it was a little frosty to start !! Russ (owner) drove the tractor through the 2 water jumps to break up the ice so there really was no stopping us !! At Boomerang there is a huge variety of fences all in close proximity so ideal for teaching. What with a banana, pencil, cake, slice of cheese, piano mushroom boomerang (of course) as well as all the normal fences – corners, skinnies, trakeners, steps, water, sunken roads there really is something for everyone !!

There were 4 of us in the group – Catherine, Kylie Roddy, Ann Peate and myself and all the horses were really keen (other than mine who is laid back to say the least ! ). I have to say, I was feeling a little apprehensive as it dawned on me that I haven’t been xc schooling since last October and, to top it all, I was dosed up with painkillers following a bout of flu, but Jeanette was great. She has a very relaxed attitude and was really good at making minor adjustments to our riding and picking out things for us to work on sending us on little courses and talking to us after each round and then sending us again. It was nice not to have too many orders thrown at us – I know my brain can only take so much in (something I must remember when teaching). We jumped plenty of fences and finished with the water. Amazing how well you keep your heels down and lower leg secure when there’s ice floating on the surface!!

You could really see improvements in all the horses and riders. It was such a shame that not more members took up Catherine’s offer of the training as it really was a great morning and we all definitely learnt a lot from Jeanette. Thank you Catherine for organising such a brilliant morning.

written by Nicole Biggs
April 2nd  at Boomerang Park


National Equine Forum (NEF) March 5th 2013

Sam Champney-Warrener and myself made an early start to get to London for the National Equine Forum. We successfully negotiated the trains and the underground, not a regular occurrence for either of us!

This was the 21st Forum with a full programme of 16 speakers / presenters. The objectives of the forum are several, with the main points to debate matters that could impact on the equestrian industry. This include policy changes, scientific developments and cultural initiatives and bring them to the attention of key decision makers.
The F & I Association is a friend of the Forum, along with many key players such as the BHS and it was an excellent day to network and mix with like minded people. Sam was in demand straight away and is now undertaking a bit of live filming by Sky TV for some BHS promotion this Saturday! I’m sure we can find a link when it happens and promote her first screen appearance!
The day was split into several sections with various themes. We started with volunteers and veterinary issues on Pre-purchase examinations and Colic issues. Very relevant subjects to our industry and applicable to many of us and our clients. Without going through every presentation some of the keys points before lunch were the concerns of Defra and the possible impact of infectious disease control. This appears to be a sitting time bomb and without doubt something we all need to be aware of.
During a well needed lunch break, Sam and myself took a little walk in St James park (no photos taken or behaving like a tourist – honestly!). In the afternoon we were privileged to have HRH The Princess Royal attend the Forum and we listened to stories and discussion in the Olympic’s, the legacy, the viewpoint from the BEF and Natasha Baker MBE speaking and inspiring us all on what it takes to compete on the world stage.
Several more sessions completed the afternoon, all holding our attention with Q & A sessions interspersed to refresh and allow viewpoints from the audience to be expressed. The day was concluded by HRH The Princess Royal. A final chance to network with any of the delegates was available with afternoon tea before we departed to go home – with a last photo opportunity of Big Ben!
Full proceedings of the NEF are available on the BEF website at www.bef.org.uk. Next year’s event is on Thursday March 6th 2014, put it in the diary now as it is a day to be recommended if you have not attended before.

Report by Jo Winfield

Chairman’s Report, AGM 2013

Happy New Year to all!

Olympics etc.

  • What a year the sporting world has had in general but specifically the Equestrians! The highlight of course has to be the London 2012 Olympics.

Dressage – Team Gold and Individual Gold and Bronze

SJ – Team Gold

Eventing – Team Silver

Olympia 2012 – Charlotte won both the Reem Acra FEI World Cup GP (84.447%) and the Freestyle to Music (87.975%).

  • UK Sport has increased the funding allocation from now until Rio in 2016 from £13.4m to £17.9m. Good news. Still a way off Rowing’s allocation of £32.6m!! Still, we mustn’t complain!!

Many congratulations to all Fellows and I’s who were involved in some way with our successes.

The Association has had a busy and successful year. Currently there are 196 names on the database but Judith will give you more information with regard to this in her Treasurer’s report.

Courses and Training 2012:

  • 11/12 January 2012 – F&I Annual 2-day course taken by Judy Harvey and Kenneth Clawson  – very well received and participants and observers were rewarded with 2 days of excellent training tip and ideas.
  • In March – there were two reports – one on the day spent watching and learning from Mrs Robeson at her National Hunt Yard on Bucks. and the other from the National Equine Forum held at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in Westminster where Sue Pimbley reportedly delivered an excellent paper on the value of Equine Degrees. Both days sounded exceptionally informative and beneficial.
  • 16 July – Ernest Dillon was again busy giving jump training to members at Wellington Riding in Hampshire
  • 21 July – Ladies Day at Hickstead
  • 3 October – Marketing Yourself and your Business held at BHS HQ at Stoneleigh – a very interesting and informative day
  • 15 October – at Coleg Gwent, Gareth Hughes gave an excellent and well-attended clinic – the reports received on his training style and methods were glowing
  • 29 November – Carl Hester yard visit – this was of course very popular and extremely interesting

New Website

Many thanks must go to Sally Newcomb who developed the site and without whose expertise we would have been lost!

New BHSI’s

This year we had seven new BHSI’s – Gemma Barry, Tina Canton, Catherine Cundall, Melissa Garry, Benjamin Greenwood, Suzanna Seymour and Sarah Thorne. Congratulations and welcome to one and all.  Later in proceedings, Lynn Petersen will be awarding certificates.

Jo Winfield

In June 2012, Jo stepped down as Chairman and I was asked to stand in as Acting Chair until this meeting when we will formally vote in a new Chairman.

I just want to say a big thank you to Jo for her sterling work while she was in post and hope that she will continue to remain an active and supportive member of the Association.


On a very sad note, back in June 2012, Jane Goldsmith a dedicated and renowned trainer and coach died – her funeral was attended by many well-known equestrians – including most of the Para team members. It was also with great sadness that we heard that Kenneth Clawson died only very recently – his funeral was held last week; he was a lovely man and a brilliant trainer who helped so many riders to glory. Both friends will be sorely missed.

Wealth of Talent

What a wealth of talent we have amongst our members – just look round the room.

There is so much we can learn from each other and when we hold a training day, the atmosphere is one where we feel we can ask questions and discuss in a relaxed environment, which is conducive to learning. We need to keep each other informed of what is going on in our areas so that everyone can benefit. I know it has been said before but please be proactive in helping to organise training days/seminars etc. and also to support these days and to spread the word that they are happening. If it keeps boiling down to only a few members who are willing to actively put on such days, their enthusiasm will wane and ultimately you, the member will lose out. Any thoughts on what you would like the Association to organise, please let a committee member know.

An email came to Di within the past few days from Alex Robinson-Barr at Bicton College who asked for more training days in the SW – Bicton will offer facilities FoC; she cited Clare Sansom, Sue Petty and Peter Cook as potential trainers.

Pat Smallwood Award

The decision was a unanimous with regard to who should receive this prestigious and beautiful award this year – Kenneth Clawson – a well-respected coach and dear colleague to so many of us. He will be sorely missed by all who’s life he touched.

Can I take this opportunity to wish you all a very fruitful and prosperous 2013 and to urge you all to support the Association even more than you do already!! Enjoy the dinner and second day of the course.

Jumping Training with Yogi Breisner – Annual F & I course 2013

This is the first time that I have ridden at an F&I Course and both myself and my horse thoroughly enjoyed it. The first day was all about the fundamentals, which after all are the base to everything. We worked in particular on straightness to create more power.

We started in walk; weaving in and out of the jumps, and then proceeded in trot, working on transitions between walk, trot and halt, also rein back. This very simple exercise had many uses; helping the horses to settle, giving both horse and rider focus, improving softness and response to the riders hands legs. As well as helping the suppleness, also allowing Yogi to watch and assess us and the horses.

Focus was also given to our riding positions, Yogi made the point that it is very easy as riders and trainers to focus on the horse and what he is doing. He stressed that whatever level we ride or coach, in dressage or jumping, we need to give more focus to the rider, their position in the saddle and how they influence the horse, to allow the horse to achieve his best performance. We riders are a big part of how the horse performs.

The canter work started on a larger circle around the fences; asking the horses to stay on the circle line, with their legs as if on a railway track but able to turn their heads to the left or the right to gain suppleness. Then we cantered around the whole arena on a large rectangle with four corners and four straight lines, focusing on straightness within the horses’ body to counteract any crookedness within the canter.

With a full set of show jumps in the lovely large arena, Yogi sent us off to pop a few of the small fences from trot, cantering away from the fence, then coming back to trot and jumping another. This helped to encourage the horses to jump in a round manner right from the start.

We then proceeded to canter several lines of varying related distances, turning diagonally across the school, working on straightness around the corner from the approach, along the line of the related distances, to landing and riding away from the fences. Yogi kept the jumps quite small which allowed us to really focus on improving. This went well and we were all noticing how as we focused on our straightness the horses going better and better.

We finished the session as we started weaving in and out of the fences in trot, with a few transitions between walk and trot, to help cool the horses down.

On the second day, it was very noticeable how all the horses and riders came out and warmed up showing great improvement; my horse certainly felt much more uphill right from the moment I picked up the contact. As riders we had a better plan, with clearer intentions giving the horses a clearer understanding of what was required of them. As Yogi had pointed out, horses are creatures of habit and are very good at learning what is required of them, if we always ride them the way we want them to go, by remembering the fundamentals; always riding clear upward and downward transitions, good turns and straight lines they will always work well.

After working the horses in, similar to day one, we jumped a cross pole from a steady rhythmic canter, followed by an upright to get the horses coming up off the ground in a good round way. Then we started to work our way around the lovely flowing course that Yogi had built, a few jumps at a time, being sure to get the clear lines and straightness that we were focusing on the day before.

We then finished by jumping the whole 14 fence course, which flowed well. Yogi gave me some great tips to help my very novice horse to learn to pick his front feet up over the fences and make a better shape, which through time and practice will help us gain consistent clear rounds.

Having arrived at the course on a horse that was very green over poles, I felt that we made great headway; it was good to make the most of the lovely big arena and jumps at Addington. As a rider and a coach I came away with fresh ideas and inspiration. Both my horse and I are going to be practicing straightness and precision to help our continued improvement.

Thank you Yogi and a big thank you to Ann for organizing it all, I am looking forward to next year.

by Karen Whiston BHSI


Annual F and I Course, Addington 2013

We were very privileged this year having an opportunity to receive some training from Stephen Clarke FBHS. The course was well supported and there were horses from Novice to Grand Prix, so we all got the opportunity to see Stephen’s philosophy of training horses at all levels. For all riders and spectators Stephen provided great training. He worked well with all riders and horses and there was great improvement shown especially on the second day.
I spent most of the 2 days watching these sessions and I took away certain key words from Stephen’s training “reaction, elasticity, gear changes and no limits”. These words seemed to be key to Stephens’s training philosophy.Stephen wanted reaction to the leg from all of the horses at whatever level, especially in their basic way of going as well as in all of the lateral work. This then helped to develop the horse’s paces. He seemed to be very much of the opinion that all of the above could be achieved in any horse which is trained correctly. All riders should embark on their journey with their aim being Grand Prix.
It was a very inspiring 2 days and I believe all riders and spectators are very grateful to Stephen for his time and vast experience.
By Becky Monk BHSI