F & I Association day at Newmarket

Biddy Brasted Watts arranged a super day at Newmarket on 5th October 2015, for the F & I Association members and guests.

The morning was taken by Rachel Murray MA VetMB MS Phd MRCVS Dip ACVS Dip ECVS at the Animal Health Trust.

The subject of Surfaces and Competition Horses was covered By Rachel in depth from a huge amount of research undertaken by her and others.  The presentation was fascinating with wonderful power point  stills  and videos of damage to various parts of horses limbs and backs, which research is showing is fairly specific to the different disciplines – ( Rachel covered Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing and Endurance and Point to Pointing) and the various surfaces used in indoor schools and Arenas.  The amount of information packed into the 2 hour session was amazing. For anyone putting in a new surface or replacing one, the decisions have just got more difficult as to what surface to have! The slip – or lack of it- is liable to cause different injuries  depending  on the discipline and can contribute to a variety of injuries. Superficial flexor tendon, deep flexor tendon, suspensory ligament damage at different levels on the fore or hind limb can be partly caused by the surface as well as the level of fitness of the horse and the repetition of specific movements or work . Extended paces are more likely to cause problems than collected work.  Too much work on  repititions of piaffe, pirouettes,  jump exercises, will cause problems as once the tendons or ligaments are fatigued, they will be damaged.  The different surfaces available can contribute to this. The maintenance of the surface so that it is totally consistent is of paramount importance.  We all know that, but it is rare to find it!  Rachel spoke about what is underneath the surface (the base) which is of the greatest importance. It must be very stable so nothing changes when the arena is in use. As an example crushed concrete is not suitable. Limestone is a good base.  The different surfaces were identified with their pros and cons. Woodchip very slippery. Waxed- Sticky. No slide and uniform if well maintained. Deep harrowing needed. If shallow harrowed and rolled it becomes hard as well as having no slip. Sand and rubber can be good or very bad. The best possible sand should be used and small rubber chunks (25 mm) not large, which bruises the foot.  Rubber on top of sand is unstable when the sand dries out.  Sand /fibre /rubber can be good as the sand does not dry out as  quickly.

Horses must be used to working on a variety of surfaces including grass. Some horses prefer one type of surface to another. Endurance horses will be damaged  from trotting (or cantering ) on roads. Walking on roads is good.

The depth of information Rachel gave was mind blowing.  I have only been able to skim the surface here.

We were then shown the facilities the AHT have, with in depth information of the use of the equipment such as MRI.

We had a lovely buffet lunch then drove to the British Racing School, where Simon Somers BHSI and International Show Judge, led the group through the importance of good conformation  to maintain soundness  in  competition horses. Simon started by saying the overview of a horse must be looked at before going into individual good and faults in the conformation.   The thoroughbreds we looked at showed some good and some poor points, which were compared by Simon.  The Limbs are of paramount importance with a leg at each corner and from front and back view a vertical column of bones.  The shoulder angle is very important, as is not being tied in at the elbow. The hind quarters are the engine and Simon discussed the lengths of the gaskin and lower leg for a competition horse.     It was an interactive session . Thank you Simon.

Report by Sue Payne

Blair Castle European Championships 2015 Course Walk with Yogi Breisner FBHS

Scottish rep Erik shows his antlers at Blair
Scottish rep Erik shows he’s got antlers at Blair!

Thanks to the boundless enthusiasm and organisation of Erik MacKechnie we were treated to a course walk with British Eventing’s World Class Performance Manager and Chef d’Equipe, Yogi Breisner FBHS, on the first day of the Championships.

We met at the second fence on the course, at that point – after the completion of the first day of dressage – Team GB were in first place and Holly Woodhead in individual first place.

Yogi’s introduction gave us a brief overview of the course, a true Championship course built just over the minimum distance but with maximum jumping efforts. He felt that the time of 10 minutes 13 was achievable but would be subject to weather and ground conditions. “Yes”, he said, “rain is forecast” but was very philosophical about it – “it is an outdoor sport after all”. The Course, designed by Ian Stark MBE FBHS, had his trademark big fences. The setting, landscape and attention to detail on the fences was breath-taking but riders won’t have time to appreciate any of it on the way round. One of the most important parts of walking the course is to note how it is roped off, taking the right corners and lines between fences to avoid picking up any nasty little time penalties.

We set off at a fair speed (walk – 9. You couldn’t say it lacked purpose and didn’t cover enough ground!). Yogi explained how the first few fences get the horses set up for the first question which came at fence 4, (up the first hill) the shepherds bothies, a trio of old Scottish cottages. The first two having strategically placed chimney pots encouraging the riders to opt for the inside or outside line before setting up for the final element, a narrow bothie on a downhill slope. . He said that some of the riders are very particular about numbers of strides but others aren’t, so he leaves them to sort out for themselves what is best. We were wisely kept well behind the tapes to keep the going as untouched as possible.

By this time we were heading for the second hill, passing the Olympic Diamond first fence on the way, and onto a good old fashioned upright white gate. Yogi explained how the development of frangible pins had made it possible to reintroduce these gates, apparently not that popular with the riders. He didn’t expect any of the horses to have a problem with it. There was some discussion about the FEI ruling that anyone knocking the gate and causing the frangible pin to break incurred 11 penalties. Yogi thought that any horse clever enough to knock it hard enough to cause it to drop and stay up on its feet didn’t deserve to be penalised. Much nodding in agreement.

On up the next hill. It says a lot for the fitness of members that questions and discussion – and chat – carried on regardless. We stopped at the drop – downhill, hooray – a set of fences to hanging logs into the first water jump. Instead of making too much of striding and lines Yogi talked a lot about the terrain and the effect this has. The downhill carried on to within a couple of strides out from the first element which would not give the riders much time to get the horses set up for the next question, into the water. There were a selection of fences downhill through the woods – good old-fashioned silver birch and a log – towards the second water jump where the direct line straight through was, of course, very much faster than the winding alternative.

Back on uphill to the picnic table where Yogi explained how the good horsemen use the terrain uphill to help set their horses up for the jumps, then round to perhaps one of the most spectacular jumps into the Castle Gardens over a palisade then a cannon and downhill to the giant stag heads before coming back – phew – onto the flat again. Yogi had to leave us at this point but he handed the reins over to Philip Surl his assistant and Technical Director.

We passed the two corner fences in the main arena which were to prove quite influential and after the skinny brushes came to the last water jump which was a true triumph of design and imaginative genius. Incorporating the three Forth Bridges, two complete with buses and trains and the third in construction. In over the Forth Road Bridge, the longer route over barrels ahead then double back into the water, but the quick way a left hand turn over the Railway bridge into the water and over part of the new bridge in construction in the water then out over a narrow brush.

It was lovely to see a Steeplechase fence on the flat and just when you thought you might be staying on the flat, oh look, another hill. This time up to the neeps and down a Hickstead Bank style slope over a haggis and out at the bottom over a skinny box of tatties.

These last few jumps took you past the start and the stables which could prove distracting but you are now within distance of the finish. Still a few more questions to prevent you getting too carried away. Gary Parsonage (Chairman of Selectors of the Pony Team) took over at this point. A traditional rails, ditch, rails then round to a trakhener, an enormous suspended owl hole – a trademark of the designer – then two offset hedges before the final fence, a fairly spooky line of kilted torsos and broadswords before the finish line and home.

We were very lucky and privileged to be taken round by 3 experts and given an insight into the technicalities of riding this course and needless to say we all looked forward to seeing it ridden.

A very big THANKS Erik and Jillie for your dynamism and organisation.

Report by Sandra Morrison

Burghley Horse Trials Course Walk with Eric Smiley FBHS 

Eric started by getting into our minds by making us think about being on a horse of our choice. Then asked us to think about whether the horse in question runs out left or right? There was a shout from the group “both”!!! This is when the Irish humour started.

Whilst walking the course with just one particular horse in mind, we were able to clearly decide which route we would take.

First question at the second water fence 7 double of brush bounce direct route. Fence 9 to 10 two choices of corners with both being tight angles offering runouts to the left.  Fence 13ab ditch brush looking as big as ever with no let up with b element on three strides to very narrow brush arrow head. Fence 15 abc ditch rails asking if you can hold a straight line. Fence 20 abcd 21 five jumping efforts last of the water jumps which will pose a few questions as horses start to tire. Fence 29 abc rugby World Cup theme.  Then two fences and home. I’ve only briefly mentioned some of the fences but there is no let up on the questions asked around the whole course.

Eric explained lines, terrain and fences but even though we got to see the fences close up he kept us off the riding lines, great respect!!  I found it motivational due to being off for ten months with back surgery and soon to be back in the saddle.

Thank you to Eric Smiley for the course walk and Ann Bostock for organising.

Report written by Alec Miles

The Royal Dublin Horse Show Ladies Day Thursday August 6th

We were a small select group this year for Ladies day at the RDS.  Once again our tickets were given to us by Ms Joan O’Connor, a client of mine, to whom we are most grateful.  F&I Association members, Grainne Sugars and Faith Ponsonby   joined Lynn Petersen (BHS CEO) me and a friend Bridget Radnedge in the Judges and Stewards box for the morning entertainment of the 4 and 5 year old Young Event Horses.  We then lunched in the Champagne Bar whilst watching some very smart Lightweight Hunters.

Lynn spent a busy afternoon shopping and networking, meeting up with the ladies who run the BHS stand – Susan Spratt (D.O. for Ireland) and Shelagh Laird (BHS Approvals officer for Ireland), Ms Linda Young of The Association of Irish Riding Schools and Declan McArdle  who is another BHS Assessor and is employed by Teagasc , Ireland’s department of agriculture.  Lynn has said she will not tell the BHS staff, who man the stands at various shows in the UK about the apparent luxury provided for Susan & Shelagh in the main shopping mall!

We then met Joan’s beautiful yearling filly who arrived ready for her class on the Friday with the other mares and foals owned by the breeder Mr Derry Rothwell of Co. Wicklow.  To get the chance to walk around the stables looking at all this magnificent horseflesh was a pleasure in its self, and I see from the Horse and Hound reports that many of the winners went home with other owners.  It is a well known fact that the majority of people showing at RDS hope to take fewer horses home at the end of the week.  It was fairly obvious who was buying what when and where.

A trip to Simmonscourt afforded us the chance to see the show jumpers warming up ready for the afternoon’s jumping classes in the main arena, always interesting.  Some light hearted demonstrations by Joel Chacon and Le Compte du Montacrue and later Clemence Faivre riding with no bridle as she performed some Haute Ecole movements around the Main Arena show jumps made sure we didn’t just watch show classes or jumping.

I always feel I want to spend every day at the show, Ireland winning the Nations Cup on the Friday was magic on the TV it must have been fantastic to be there.  However we did return on the Saturday when Fran,  Bridget and I were treated by Joan to lunch in the tiered grandstand whilst watching two jumping competitions.  Bridget was amazed as everyone stood up and stood very still whilst the Irish National Anthem was played for the winners of those two classes – Billy Twomey and Conor Swail, both Irishmen.  Now that doesn’t happen at Hickstead!

Report by Jillie Rogers BHSI

Royal International Horse Show 2015

Well the 1st August arrived with the sun high in the sky, so there were lots of dresses on show in the F&I Box at Hickstead! Numbers were up to 26 this year, and it was great to see so many of you there!

We had a super day thanks not only to the F&I Association, but also to great organising from Karen Irving, Senior Executive at the BHS and Alex Copeland the new Director of Education. Both were present to welcome and look after us. We were also honoured with the presence of our CEO Lynn Petersen who was, as always great company.

Our Chairman Jillie Rogers arrived fresh off the plane from Ireland with the lovely Fran, who took these super photos.

Alison Craig kindly picked up Sister Chiara, a lifelong BHS Member, and brought her along for an outing. She throughly enjoyed mixing with us all, old and new, and even participated in the annual course walk around the Queen Elizabeth II Cup course.

A small committee meeting was also held with Jillie, Ann Bostock and Alison Craig.

We had a lovely cold buffet lunch which included salmon, asparagus, new potatoes and various niceties, followed by a sumptuous creamy fruit pudding, strawberries and cream AND cheese and biscuits. Maybe we were meant to just choose one pudding??? All washed down with a nice glass of wine!

The course walk was this year given by 25 year old rider Harriet Nutall, who hails from Somerset. She was very generous with her time and tips. I didn’t actually manage the course walk this year, but everyone seemed to glean lots of information.

This brought us to the exciting competition and even more exciting sweep stake…which is always fiercely contested from our Box! 6 riders from 26 starters jumped clear round the 1.60m track. The winner was young rider Chloe Winchester who, at the age of just 21 was having her first ride in this class. Her 12 year old mare Avoca Valkyrie was drawn as penultimate horse and stormed home with 3.75 seconds to spare!

“My” rider was drawn last, Phillip Miller on the lovely grey Caritiar Z. I really thought I was finally going to win the sweepstake this year, but although he jumped an incredible round, he crossed the line just over 3 seconds slower.

The lucky winners of the sweepstake this year were Ann Bostock (fix!!!) and Bridget Radnedge.  Well done Ladies!

Oonagh Meyer and myself managed to finish the day off with some retail therapy, and had a go at the “electric horse’s head” game in the BHS tent, which Oonagh can be seen successfully attempting in one of the photos! Great fun and not easy after a couple of glasses of wine I can assure you!!!

Report by Sam Champney-Warrener BHSI

Report from the Judy Harvey Training Day

The training day with Judy Harvey was very well attended considering the weather!!  Judy and her husband Malcolm landed back from the States on Sunday afternoon and drove straight to the yard and put up two gazeebos after listening to the weather forecast which for once was correct.

Monday morning dawned……… very wet. As we all know riding is an outdoor sport and there was not one complaint as Ann on two horses, Gemma and Nikki got wet when they rode.

Nikki’s session seemed to go on for quite a long time and when Judy came to ride the sun came out……. well planned!

It was good to see some new faces at this day with some having made a 4 hour journey to be there.

As always Judy was very clear in the basic way of going with all the riders and horses using exercises to suit the very different types .

She then carried this on in her own riding with the harmony being at the forefront.

We then had two brave people who coached Judy’s students and were given useful, constructive feedback.

Many thanks as always to Judy, her staff and Malcolm

Report by Ann Bostock BHSI

Report from a training day in Scotland with Patrick Print FBHS



Monday 11 May 2015

It is many years since the F & I Association held anything in Scotland so it is not surprising that the Scottish membership has dwindled.  It was great therefore that Erik Mackechnie in conjunction with BHS Scotland has given it a kick start to set it in motion again.

Patrick Print FBHS very kindly agreed to host the day and Gail Smith very generously offered the use of her wonderful indoor arena in order for the group to spend the day watching some great riders and horses go through their paces.  Georgia Burns on her young horse Ralph demonstrated novice level dressage work and the day progressed through the levels.  Georgia also rode an elementary horse called Rolex on which Patrick worked on her ability to develop her suppleness and position to encourage the horse to move more under her seat particularly in the canter. The spectators were encouraged to get involved and Patrick invited suggestions and comments with regard to the way the horse was going.  With our select group of coaches there was great interaction and everyone got involved discussing the issues which arose with each horse and rider.  It was great to share ideas and interesting that on the whole everyone was “singing off the same hymn sheet” when it came to trying to improve the partnerships.

Patrick’s quiet sympathetic approach was ideal for the competition horses and the riders were very generous and open minded in their willingness to join in and experiment with the suggestions offered. Our other riders were Olivia Wilmot on Sting a novice level BE horse and a 3* horse called Zebedee who was going to compete at Chatsworth this coming weekend.  It was interesting to see how Patrick worked with this latter combination giving great consideration to the fact that Olivia was about to compete and therefore did not want to do anything to upset the partnership but just offer some helpful pointers.  Deborah Christie rode her advanced medium horse Vriend which had a few old behavioural issues.  Deborah was very tactful in her handling of this horse and Patrick demonstrated how to work with more complicated horses without causing further problems.  Deborah also rode a Grand Prix horse called Leander.   Obviously riders of this calibre and experience have their own ideas and knowledge as well as their own regular coaches so it was very much appreciated that they agreed to participate and Patrick demonstrated exceptionally well how to work with higher level competition riders and develop that all important rapport.

Over lunch it was a lovely opportunity to catch up with old friends and the concensus of opinion was that the day had been a great success.  It was good to be able to attend a training day that was aimed at higher level coaches and coaching skills and was thoroughly worthwhile attending.  Future events are sure to be supported as this group left very enthusiastic and keen to do more.

Report written by Diana Zajda BHSI

Badminton Course Walk Report

Badminton for me started with David (my son) riding the Guinea Pig Test on Thursday morning. Despite wayward changes, we were very pleased with the test – and what a fantastic experience to be able to trot down THAT center line…! I was therefore already “in Badminton mode” so it was fantastic for me to have the opportunity to walk this years course with Nick Turner – already thinking ahead to next year!

Nick started off stating that he likes to walk “quickly” – but only later on, as we tried to get back to the finish by a certain time, did some of the large party of members and friends realise just how fast “quickly” can be!

Nick explained that although the course had technical questions – it is not always about walking “strides” as the inevitable always happens – but it is all about staying on a line in the right gear. Nick’s positive approach really came across and as he talked about the fences – you could feel him riding them in his head – so taking a realistic view of both what a rider would think – and what the horse could do.

As we approached one of the first difficult combinations – the little “gems” of info started. “Ride 2 strides with your legs and 3 strides with your body” was the answer for the “long 2” from log to skinny down the bank. Perfect sense. As we “galloped on” “commit and engage rather than commit and leave open” to a difficult fence certainly kept the feeling of keeping the horse together and between the leg and rein. Getting to the later part of the course “Do not let your mind take over from the feeling” certainly brought home the difficulty of the horses reactions becoming “numbed” towards the latter part of the course.

“Agricultural aids” were discussed – as sometimes necessary to find the appropriate changes of gear required as the horse tires. Even riding towards the finish – making sure you do not “slow up” and start “patting” too early, when extra “seconds” taken can cost prize money when results are so close at this higher level.

As we all“trotted” towards the end of the course I really felt I had gained an insight into the benefits the Irish Teams must have from a knowledgeable Trainer with a positive approach – but also with a “keep it simple” strategy.

The general feeling was that the course was definitely not as stiff as last year – with both technical demands and size of fences being slightly lessened. This was confirmed to me when I was lucky enough to listen to Giuseppe della Chese, (course designer) talking about last years course being a bit “too tasty” and therefore this years was a little less so. He also gave reasons for not using some of the classics this year – i.e. no Vicarage Vee or Irish Bank – but said that when the course changes direction again they will probably return. He also reminded us that if we wish to have new fences – some of the old ones have to be left out.

A great Badminton – with a great course walk. I hope that Nick will be back to walk it all again with us in 2016 e walk – even if we do all have to “trot”!

Report by Maggie Doel BHSI

Report from Ballindenisk & Punchestown

Racing at PunchestownThe Fellows and Instructors Association was well represented in Ireland during April.  Ballindenisk International Horse Trials were held in County Cork by kind permission of the Fell family.  It had FEI classes from 1* to 3* including a Nations Cup team competition. Nick Turner FBHS was there as the Irish team manager, Anne Marie Taylor FBHS had a pupil in the 3* class and was seen training and supporting him.  Kylie Roddy BHSI had a successful weekend finishing 2nd in the CCI 1* with Guzzi and in the top half of the large CICO3* class.  It was very amusing that several of Kylie’s supporters can lip read because whilst she was show jumping the word which popped out certainly wasn’t fiddlesticks!!!!  Jillie Rogers BHSI our chairman, was seen to have writer’s cramp when scribing for the 52 strong CICO3* class for Ground Jury member Ann Bostock BHSI.  The event also saw Ireland’s F and I rep Faith Ponsonby BHSI grooming/helping her son in law who was competing. Jim Newsam rode Magennis, bred and produced by wife Emma, and for Faith, Kilcooley Michael, both doing lovely clears cross country.

The Tuesday after Ballindenisk was the first day of the Punchestown NH Festival.  Faith was amazing in producing a picnic for at least 30 people which was held on sloping ground before racing commenced.  Jillie made a fantastic cheesecake for which the recipe involves teaching 3 lessons and adding ingredients as pupils change over!! Ann took wine (most important) and very enjoyable evening was had with excellent racing.

It is good to see that our members are so versatile and active in the equestrian industry.

Report on ‘Cross Country Matters’ at Ballylanigan House  

A very successful evening was organised by Faith Ponsonby BHSI, Irish Representative, and Jillie Rogers BHSI Chairman of the Association of Fellows and Instructors of the British Horse Society on 7th April.

“Cross Country Matters” was the topic delivered to a full house at Ballylanigan House Mullinahone Co Tipperary by kind permission of Faith and Peter Ponsonby

The evening was delivered by William Micklem an International Coach and Fellow of the BHS.  He reminded us that simplicity and fun are key elements when coaching, and that horses are not designed to be “fenced in.” The importance of the three ‘F’s of Forward, Feel and Fifth leg training was emphasized    He explained the importance of riding across different terrains to encourage horses to develop self- carriage and learn to find this “fifth leg”, thereby  making preservation between horse and rider more instinctive,and helping to develop a safer partnership across country. The important link between dressage, show jumping and cross-country training was also highlighted. William emphasized the importance of the development of a balanced secure position with the “rider’s centre of mass being over the horse’s centre of mass” and which could be adapted over a variety of fences and terrain. This was very effectively delivered in his presentation and in the excellent handouts provided to all on the evening

After some refreshments the discussion was complimented by Peter Ponsonby FEI TD, and an authority in cross country course building.  Peter gave us valuable tips and advice on the safe construction and securing of cross country jumps and the use of frangible pins. He reminded us that we should be making the most of our local cross country facilities, that are available, but also making us aware that the cross country jump needs to be respected, as should our horses.

The evening highlighted that the coach is the strongest link in the enjoyment of our sport, and is key in improving communication between horse and rider.

Report written by Bridgette McCarthy BHSII and Alison Handle BHSAI Grennan College Co. Kilkenny

Event date 7th April 2015

F&I Training Day at Moulton College

This day of training was planned with the concept of being interesting and informative with combined theory and practical management sessions.  The focus touched on fittening and training the athlete, both as a horse and rider, and the correct usage of 2 medical technologies that enhances recovery from injury for horse and rider with the use of pain free, non-invasive techniques.  The day was set in the Equine Unit of Moulton College and luckily, the weather, albeit a bit brisk and breezy was kind enough on the day.

The first speaker was Sophie Gent, the MD and owner of Sync Thermology who has been providing thermography screening services to veterinary practices and their clients since 2009. They have developed into a UK national service and are currently expanding throughout Europe.

Sophie provided a thorough explanation and presentation that highlighted the difference between hot and cold areas within an image and that the cold or darker colour regions can be more indicative of problematic concerns and not necessarily the “hot spots”.  Thermography is a useful tool for diagnostics but must be used in perspective in combination with other Veterinary equipment as such.  It is equally very important that the results are created and analysed by a Vet who is trained and specialises in producing these interpretations.

Liz and Charles Clare then presented on MRT – Magnetic Resonance Therapy, an innovative procedure that acts precisely on specific parts of the body, dealing with the generation of body signals that stimulate regeneration. MBST® comprises a highly sophisticated treatment unit that generates electromagnetic fields.  It works by using 3 different electro-magnetic fields to place potential energy in the hydrogen protons of the affected area. This potential energy is released by the protons and using the larmour frequency, this can ensure that this is then absorbed by surrounding tissue.  In relation to the Thermography, this treatment is a pain free technology that works predominantly on any joint damaged areas.


The day then took us on a short walk over to the Sports Therapy & Injury Rehabilitation Centre where Lee Howarth gave us a tour of the facilities and discussed the current sports treatments that are carried out in the centre and how this could also give an increased advantage to equine athletes as well.

This centre is one of the first of its kind in the UK and strives to be acknowledged by its patients, suppliers and regulators as the leader in neuromuscular rehabilitation. The Centre comprises of:

  • Whole body Cryotherapy chamber
  • Six thermal infrared saunas
  • Water therapy pool
  • Hydrotherapy pool
  • 25m swimming pool with movable floor

After lunch, Pippa Hattan and Jessica York started the afternoon with a short introduction to equine hydrotherapy, looking at the advantages and disadvantages of swimming, aqua treadmill, and cold water spa treatments.  Jessica is currently working towards her PhD in the Effects of the

Aqua Treadmill on the Movement of the Horse and so the biomechanics of the horse was discussed, along with the effects that swimming has on the equine cardio vascular and respiratory systems in reality.  It seems that there is little published evidence or research on such topics, but is results driven and this is an area that Jessica and Pippa are looking closely at gaining a more in-depth insight into.

A practical demonstration followed using two very different models; Delilah, a Welsh Section D cob mare and D’Or Win, an Ex-race Thoroughbred gelding, each showing a very different way of going on the treadmill and swimming style.   Dermott, a valued college team horse then joined in and allowed the opportunity to a few members of the group to gain a feel of swimming a horse.

The feedback from the day was very positive and there will be other opportunities to repeat the day with more guest speakers if requested.

Event date – Tuesday March 31st 2015


Jumping Report from the F & I day at Wellington with coach Richard Waygood

I must admit I went to Wellington with a tinge of disappointment having pulled out of my jumping slot, scheduled for the afternoon, only the day before but, I told myself it would still be good for me to go and watch Richard coach and how right I was!!!

With three sessions in the morning and the same in the afternoon there was a great cross section of horses and riders for Richard to work with.

Much praise was given to Wellington’s school horses used by Gemma Porter-Rawlings and Susie Seymour who, by their own admittance, were a little rusty in the jumping department! Both had super confidence boosting sessions on lovely willing horses.

Richard did a great job of involving those spectating which made things run on a little but was much appreciated. Feedback was always delivered in a very positive way and his manner put even the most anxious combinations at ease.

Throughout all his sessions, including the lunge jumping demo over lunch, he stuck to the same key principles, with improving the way of going the main aim. To achieve this, focus was centred around straightness and self carriage. This involved getting horses to “buy in” to the way of going; taking responsibility as they came round the corner to set up for the fence. He repeated at a number of points through the day, that as riders and trainers we should not be afraid to “break a few eggs in order to make an omelette”. I took this to mean that we shouldn’t be afraid of letting mistakes happen in order to improve and advance the way of going.  This was encompassed perfectly in a simple exercise all the groups did to start with. Richard set a fence up on the midline and asked riders for a neat near right angle turn to it off the long side, letting the horse come to the fence then asking for a transition to walk or halt before reaching the indoor wall on the other side and making their turn. Although some struggled to begin with, and at points didn’t look pretty, all combinations managed to master the exercise within a couple of attempts.  From here Richard moved on to jumping short courses. The preparatory exercise really seemed to help improve corner riding and control. He did point out that jumping exercises (like the one described) and gridwork tended to be ridden at a canter speed of approximately 9mph whereas courses should be ridden at a more positive pace of around 12mph.

The concept of the horse “buying in” was carried on through the fantastic loose jumping demo we were treated to over lunch. We watched three very different young horses get to grips with the concept and quickly grow in confidence. Richard stressed the importance of clear instruction to both the horse and to those assisting him (of which there were a further two or three helpers).

The 20x40m indoor was continuously taped at eye level about five metres in from the track. Richard went on to use two fences (approx. 23 feet apart). For all three horses; he built up the first fence from poles on the ground to an upright with groundline and then built a second upright, and made it into a spread to finish.

All horses showed an aptitude for jumping and were rewarded with food each time they were halted. The final horse (supplied by Helen Cole), responded particularly well to the loose jumping, benefitting from firm encouragement through the corner before the fence and the positive reinforcement of the food afterwards.

It was nice to hear Richard stress the importance of not doing too much and that regular repetition was the key to improvement and progression.

The afternoon sessions, with more advanced combinations, also introduced the idea of turning horses into “weightlifters”, especially those with quite open frames. This entailed getting the horses to push off their hocks more.

Tom Searle had a very busy day, admitting in his fifth of six lessons that he was beginning to feel a little tired. Personally, I would have happily put his lovely young grey and Kylie Roddy’s super coloured in my boot and taken them home with me! Much praise was also bestowed on Nette Christey’s beautiful grey campaigner who was a delight to see put through his paces.

Lastly, the final group of the day, Tom, David and Helen Cole were a treat to watch. There was a friendly level of banter both between Richard and the riders and from the stands, which made for a very open, relaxed and interactive atmosphere. Clearly all three had trained with Richard before on these horses. Still, the same principles were upheld and reinforced with the result being three combinations that showed real skill and effortless style. I’m sure they all have very exciting event seasons ahead of them this year and I wish them all well.

Report by Bryony Wilson

Event date 10th March 2015

Flatwork Report from the Wellington training day with coach Jude Murphy FBHS

Jude showed her stamina with a full days teaching at Wellington Riding on 10/3/15.  There was a real variety of types of horses at various stages in training and Jude showed her wealth of experience and versatility in coaching us all through exercises and work that produced results.  It is always interesting to watch and listen to someone you respect and pick up on their eye for detail and ways in which they work.  All horse and rider combinations showed improvements in their overall way of going.

Work on improving the feel and movement in canter with the analogy of imagining you are sitting on an egg and it is rolling along may sound odd but was effective in improving the canter!  An emphasis on incorporating the inside leg in half pass ensured that the movement became stronger with a more secure bend and travel.  It is very easy for that leg to just hang off rather than on during half pass I find.. The exercise turning down the centre line with leg yield towards the track then changing the bend and aids to half pass was particularly effective on one of my boys; creating an improved bend, rhythm and correctness in form.  Flying changes also improved with a much more active presentation and follow through.  The following week my horse scored 68.82% in a Medium his highest mark at that level to date..thanks Jude! ☺

Often difficult, as a trainer, to coach new riders that are established in their work and routine.  But, fresh eyes can be so effective in picking up on areas that need development or rerouting.  This Jude did so well with her calm and approachable style, listening to each rider and then encouraging positive results through a clear and developed eye.

Thank you David for such a well organised day and for providing stabling that ensured we could be there all day.

Report by Lucy Gavrilovic

Event date 10th March 2015

National Equine Forum Report

Lord De Mauley opened proceedings on the Defra View to develop a data base by the end of the year mainly aimed at preventing unsafe meat getting into the food chain. He spoke of the current bill now going through which will enable local authorities to go on to private land to retrieve fly grazing animals and the ability to destroy them after 96 hours.  He talked of the need for a quick response to bio-security measures which will be helped by the data base, the tripartite review and the china export protocol.

Questions were raised about the equine export trade, barefoot shoeing and the difficulty of owners updating passports. How was this to be enforced?  Should it be the owner or keeper who is responsible for this?  The racing world would like the latter but that would be difficult for the rest of the horse world. A question was also raised about riding school rates and it is hoped that their rates can be assessed on the percentage of education / commercial usage to bring them more in line with colleges.

Continuing the welfare theme Jeanette Allen and Louise Kemble talked of the need for higher passport standards. They introduced the Election Equine Manifesto covering improved welfare, British trade and increased participation [see link on BHS website] which has been sent to all government departments. Please ensure your PM know about this and look at the Equine Sector Health and Welfare Strategy website.

Steve Gale, an animal welfare officer talked of the difficulties of implementation and enforcement of the animal welfare act.  It is not a statuary obligation and the 1971 act is not fit for purpose, the new act should improve local authorities’ powers as discussed earlier.  He outlined how the North East Equine Group was dealing with the problems in a coordinated manner, maybe this model could be run out over the rest of the country.

Hopefully the new bill with improved micro chipping and data base will make it easier to trace owners.

The panel discussion continued the theme of ID,location and traceability of horses, that this should be made a statuary requirement. There is an EU requirement that an equine data base must be in place by 2016, but how is this to be done? Passports need to be more owner friendly and vets encouraged to see passports on all visits and record when horses are destroyed, possibly by an app on their phones.  The question of a register of where horses are kept is a difficult one, but is needed as a location indicator, if attached to a license it would be expensive, there were no suggestions as to how this will be achieved.

HRH The Princess Royal concluded the morning session acknowledging the work of the forum. She was struck by the Equine Manifesto. She commented on the difficulties of off road riding provision due to the insurance problems for landowners and the EU regulations which do not allow riding on field margins. She suggested the equine data base should learn lessons from how the agricultural industry deals with animal movements. She posed the questions of whether horse owners should be licensed then went on to talk of the extraordinary successes of the British Equestrians over the last year in such a variety of disciplines. She concluded by presenting the Sir Colin Spedding Award to Paul Richard Grieves for his contribution to the racing industry.

The afternoon session started with two presentations on the topic of young person’s [under 18] education and the complexity of courses, awarding bodies and the terms linked to education. They talked of how the majority of college students were not intending to go into the equine industry, only doing courses to gain points to enter higher education.

Employers are not doing well as these courses do not provide what is required by the industry. It is hoped that the new Equestrian Trailblazer Apprenticeship being led by Trent Park will help resolve this issue. There was discussion why the colleges do not help students find jobs as is done by the racing schools and other college courses.

Then followed short presentations on a variety of topics.

Lyn Peterson talked of the success of the BHS Horse Accident Log, which was set up in 2010 as a new way of capturing data for accidents and incidents from RTA’s to low flying aircraft and was providing useful information to police and other organisations.  .Although only a small number of events are being logged it’s a good beginning. So encourage all to use www.horseaccident.org.uk.

Jane Nixon introduced the British Breeders Network which will be set up by the end of March to cover non racing horses. Visit www.britishbreedersnetwork.org.

Will Lambe talked of the economic impact of British racing which is the second highest attended sport in the UK. He talked of the change from the Levy to the Betting Right which will provide a more sustainable funding mechanism for the industry.

Clare Williams talked of the BETA national Survey, how in store shopping is still popular in the equine world, that the number of riders has declined due to costs access and time, there are about half a million horse owners.

From a safety point of view one in two riders will have an accident at some point and one in seven will have had one in the last year.

Finally,  Andrew Finding talked about the website www. hoof ride.co.uk to encourage increasing participation through social media and the Sport England campaign “This Girl Can”.

It was very much a horse welfare day with a lot of problems to be solved as to how the equine industry can run an effective data base in this economic climate

Ann Bostock and Margie Craib

Rider’s report from the Talland Training Day

On the 26th January 2015 we were privileged to be able to ride at The Talland School of Equitation, Under the watchful eye of Pammy Hutton FBHS.  The morning. Was split into Two groups both of which were able to ride in two sessions with a variety of horses ranging from youngsters to horses working advanced /Grand Prix.

In my group we were lucky enough to have Webster who was bought as a PSG schoolmaster, I found him an interesting ride , as you had to get him on side, but he was generous with his education and gave me a good feel for the movements required at that level.  I was also lucky to ride the lovely 16.3hh Tommy who had competed small tour and gave a super feel for the changes.  The next horse I had was Ash who originally jumped at 1.40 also competed advanced medium ,
A tall horse, who took a lot to connect but an enjoyable ride nevertheless, lastly I had Amo who works at Inter1 and started one time changes again a great schoolmistress who could offer such  education.

Also in the group horse wise were Apollo generously loaned by yard manager Claire, and Abira  who belongs to Pammy.
It was an interesting day with Top Tips thrown in by Pammy at the end of each ride, her directions being clear and concise.

A most interesting day thank you Pammy and the Talland Team, also to Jude and Jeremy for organising it .

Sally Williams