Chairman’s Report, AGM 2014

Welcome, we now have 206 paid up members this is all due to Judith Murphy.  2013 continued to be a busy year with the great unwashed British Public having a better idea of what horses and their riders can achieve following London 2012.

Meanwhile the F&I Association has been equally as busy, especially a small group within the committee. Without these good ladies, Ann, Jude and Di, I would be very lost.  Taking over in January last year from Jeremy and Jo, I had some large boots to fill.  However, my typing and PC skills have improved!  I must reiterate Jeremy’s thanks of last year to Sally Newcomb for the much easier to navigate website.  This is a public site and we need to use it to sell ourselves.

I must also thank Sam Champney-Warrener for setting up the Facebook page.  Welcome to all those of you who use it – and use it we must.  It’s there for members only so put out what you’re doing – others may benefit from your ideas. Don’t treat this page or the web page as only for reports.  None of us who’ve gained these qualifications are shrinking violets because those people don’t usually become Fellows or I’s, so use these tools.

Following last year’s Annual Course, it occurred to me that as an Association, we did not have our own insurance.  So, if there were to be a serious accident we were relying on the insurances of the Coach and/or venue.  In these days of litigation I have put in place insurance for the F&I Association under the umbrella of the BHS.

My British Horse Magazine was late in January 2013, as usual, so I called the editor David Price and had a rant and then said this Association needed more press. Bingo! We now have our own page in the B.H. Magazine edited by Jo Winfield.  Sue Payne kindly prepared two articles for B.H. – the first on the history of the F&I Association and the second on the Pat Smallwood Award.  This article was instrumental in Susie Pilbeam being presented with the Pat Smallwood Award as I was bombarded by emails from her clients and friends.  There was another contender, however, Susie unanimously won the committee’s vote, but to keep this page alive in B.H. Jo needs copy, she and I can’t keep putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboards.

This is the second year we have been lucky enough to have Stephen and Yogi as coaches for the Annual Course. Thank you gentlemen, fantastic! Mega! Brill! Ace!  Now as we think of the training days and course walks successfully organised during 2013 we must also think ahead and outside the box for 2014.  There are areas of the UK where nothing happens for the F&I Association. The south west have offered coaches and Bicton College, we must venture there.  East Anglia has had Newton hall offered as a venue, the membership needs to be proactive and I need volunteers to organise lectures/seminars/training days.  Let’s use these venues at least once this year.

F&I Association made deeper inroads to Ireland and whilst the number of F&I members hasn’t increased by much, our 3 ventures – visits to Coolmore Stud, The Royal Dublin Horse Show and our course walk at Ballendenisk H.T. were all successful under the guidance of Faith Ponsonby.

During this year we lost Molly Sivewright, a truly revered FBHS much loved by those who knew and trained with her and respected by all others.  A donation was made by F&I to her chosen charity the RDA.   William Miflin BHSI was a young man with two small children.  I’d like to thank everyone who donated towards his iPad and then the fund for his children’s riding lessons; these donations were sent by Jude to Mrs Miflin.  As a measure of your affection for this talented man and his family a cheque was written for £3,500.00+

More recently in December John Hall FBHS passed away in Spain.  I was lucky enough to meet John when he was married to the Great Iris Kellet.  He was a charming man with many talents.  Although not a member of the F&I Association he was mentored towards his Fellowship by Pat Smallwood.

Congratulations are now due to Darrell Scaife who moved across on our membership list to the Fellows page.  Very well done Darrell and thank you for your presence here today encouraging others along that route.  To David Sheerin who was voted onto the BHS Trustees early last year.  Well done David, please keep working for your fellow Coaches and Instructors.  Finally, welcome to the new BHSI’s of 2013, Adrian Thomas (Wales), Alec Miles (Hants), Alexandra Hulm (Staffs), Kirsten Own (Lancs) and Bee Sai Kin Chan (Hong Kong).

Looking back over past Chairman’s reports, I note the regular plea to put on and organise F&I days.  Please keep your thoughts coming and BE ACTIVE in setting up those days opening them up to other people as it is this money, not just your membership fees which keep us afloat.  The F&I Association needs to sell itself and promote itself far more than is happening at the moment.  We are a unique group of professionals within the ‘Horse’ industry and as such a stepping stone to other organisations BHS, BEF, BD, BS, BE and the Welfare Charities.

So, ‘Come on Lads’ enjoy dinner tonight and the wealth of knowledge we’ll be given tomorrow and keep supporting your F&I Association.

Jillie Rogers BHSI.