Jo Knowles FBHS presents the trophy she sculpted to Eric Smiley FBHS. Chairman Jillie Rogers (standing) and Sam Champney Warrener look on

Jo Knowles FBHS presents the trophy she sculpted to Eric Smiley FBHS. Chairman Jillie Rogers (standing) and Sam Champney Warrener look on. Photo by Fran Russell

Good evening members and honoured guests, Mrs Jo Knowles FBHS, Mrs Jennie Loriston-Clarke FBHS, Mrs Lyn Petersen BHS CEO and Mr Nick Turner FBHS.  Welcome to the 29th AGM of the BHS F&I Association.  Looking back at the proposed dates for 2014 from the minutes I noted that, with very few exceptions,  every day was acted upon whilst other events materialised during the year.  I’d like to thank all the organisers, all the presenters/coaches, all the participants and all the report writers who gave us the opportunity to enjoy those days.

I’m delighted to be able to state that our exact membership stands at 203.  This is 140 fully paid up, our 7 new BHSI’s, 36 not re-joined in 2013/14 and there are still 20 members who’ve not yet updated their banking details to the membership fee of £20.00.  Your Committee has asked Judith Murphy (treasurer and membership secretary) to send a letter by post this year – rather than an email- as each of those memberships  become due to remind them that in future they will NOT be sent any further correspondence by our secretary Di Roberts.  This may seem very harsh however as the membership rate increased approximately 9 years ago it is entirely fair to all the full fee payers.

Under the direction of Jo Winfield, our contributions continue to be published in British Horse magazine under the heading Fellows & Instructors Association.  Jo is keen that that our offerings should not always be in the form of this is what the F&I Association ‘did’ but more towards this is what the F&I Association will be doing/is doing for our members and prospective new members as well as the ‘horsey’ public who will read that column.  Sue Payne has told the public about the history of this Association and the Pat Smallwood Award, however, the magazine now tends to have a theme for each edition and we need more volunteers to write some copy for Jo to print so please contact Jo and offer to help with one of the publications for 2015 I have further information here.

Left to right, Sam Champney Warrener, David Sheerin and Sabrina Jones

Left to right, Sam Champney Warrener, David Sheerin and Sabrina Jones. Photo by Fran Russell

Sam Champney Warrener is the Facebook techno and as this is a closed page just for members then please do use it. If you’re not yet a signed up member of the page (there are 69 at present) then contact Sam or Judith Murphy and they will accept you.  Then use it for advertising or just to tell others what is happening to you and your horses or clients. Take a leaf out of Tim’s book and use Facebook as Ingestre does.  Meanwhile towards the end of 2014 Alison Craig, Judith and I took another look at the F&I website.  Sally Newcomb, who set up the site originally, has been a tower of strength and has spent a lot of time updating the site to bring it into the 21st Century.  This is a public site so if you have anything (legal) you wish to sell, organise or advertise then the MEMBERS AREA will be helpful to you AND it’s free.  Just send the details to Sally and she can post it for you.  Go and take a look I think you’ll agree this will be helpful to all of us.  May I make a plea here from Sally & Sam when you do your reports as most of us now have phones with cameras please could you take some photos and send across a good one for use on both sites, and so organisers could you pick your report writing victim early and forewarn them.

Tim Downes FBHS amuses everyone after dinner with one of his odes

Tim Downes FBHS amuses everyone after dinner with one of his odes. Photo by Fran Russell

We have already stood to remember Lady Audrey Townley and Danny Pevsner please allow me a moment to record a little more about each person.  Both Fellows of the BHS although not members of this Association Lady Audrey Townley nee Hone died aged 96 on 30th September. One of the BHS’s earliest members and a published author she gained her Fellowship in 1954 one of only 20 at the time. Lady Townley had the successful Borwick Riding School, she retired to Dalbeattie in Scotland in her late 60’s, a popular person who left a legacy of dedication and enthusiasm amongst her students.  Whilst more of us will remember that enigmatic figure Danny Pevsner who passed away in his native Israel aged 73 in the summer of 2014.  He was a former pupil of The Spanish School of Riding Vienna going on to become a Fellow in 1971. To quote the obituary penned by William Micklem FBHS ‘ Danny was an incisive, precise thinker and a man who cared deeply about both doing things well and doing things humanely’

We now have the Republic of Ireland covered by Faith Ponsonby who’s here tonight and Erik MacKechnie has offered to organise a day at Gleneagles and help those of us who wish to go to the Europeans in September to take a course walk.  I’d love to find more volunteers to take up the offers of the use of Bicton College in the West and in the East, Newton Hall to organise a gathering of like- minded people in those areas.  These do not need to be a full day and as long as they revolve around the horse they can be any subject.  However, they must be self -funding and may be opened up to non -members of the Association.  May I refer to the BRILLIANT day organised by Linda De Matteo at Ingestre where Tim, Rob and Carole kindly gave of their time as we delved into the BHSI examination.

Jennie Loriston-Clarke FBHS and Nick Turner FBHS presenting BHSI certificates to (top to bottom, left to right) Clare Chamberlayne , Alice Bell, Joanna Shields, Amy Bannister and Ross O’Hare. Photos by Fran Russell

This brings me to our new BHSI’s, here with us Clare Chamberlayne, Sarah Fitton, Joanne Shields, Heidi Reed, Amy Bannister, Alice Bell and earlier today, Ross O’Hare.  Congratulations to you all enjoy your first free year of the F&I Association and return next year. Our very own Treasurer/Membership Secretary is the new Fellow of the BHS. Well done Jude now I shall take a moment to ask you all to cheer like mad as Jude is one busy special person working her socks off for this Association. Meanwhile two more of our members Sue Pimbley and Fred Hodges became Trustees of the BHS during the elections in 2014. Tonight we are lucky to have Jo Knowles FBHS with us to present the beautiful trophy she sculpted for the winner of the Pat Smallwood Award. First presented in 1989 Jo has not seen the trophy since then. Tonight our worthy winner voted by members as a person who does a lot for this Association is Eric Smiley FBHS.

I want you all to give serious thought to 2016 as that will be the 30th anniversary of the Association and I feel we must celebrate.  We will be able to start with a BANG in January as long as our two fabulous Coaches from this year promise to return.  So let’s all practise ‘opening up more country’ ready for 2016. May I ask you to join me in thanking Jennie and Nick for an enjoyable day, educational, with just that smattering of humour to keep us all warm!! My thanks also to Sue Payne & Judith for the Fellowship discussions today, and to those stalwarts who’ve given of their time in the study groups.

Finally, I’m going to ask you to indulge me for a moment longer.  There will be no after dinner entertainment this year as there is so much chatting and catching up to do.  I was going through my Father’s quotes and snippets from his After Dinner Speech Box and found this small piece and I feel now might be an appropriate time to read it as it refers to our great friend and servant The Horse. Written by Anne Bullen who will be known to you either as an illustrator of pony books or as the co-founder of the Catherston Stud with her husband Lt.Col. Jack Bullen

“My life and health I give to your safe keeping
And when I am old
And have served you well,
Pray, Oh my master,
Do not sell me to slavery and to a cruel end.
But send me to my rest with tenderness and kindness
And my gratitude will be your reward.”


Jillie Rogers