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

Jillie