Chairman’s F&I Spring Newsletter

Dear Members, 

Wow, what can we say, we have waited to release this Spring Newsletter so we can formally congratulate our four new Fellows of the BHS: Lisa Morris, Kylie Roddy, David Sheerin, and Jayne Smart. We all know (or have at least some inkling) what it means to prepare, enter and endure the Fellowship examination and we are very proud of all the candidates that go through this process, but for those who have been successful on this occasion it is an exceptional outcome and further evidence of the high calibre of the members we have in the F & I Association. Well done to them all and we look forward to what they will bring to the table as new Fellows and ambassadors for the British Horse Society.

This news is fantastic, but I know I speak for many of you, that we all have aspects of guilt, that, while we celebrate such achievements and we carry on in our busy, enriched lives here carrying on as normal, yet less then 2000 miles away in eastern Europe there is a horrific war happening. I’m sure we have all been affected by watching this conflict unfold and seeing such disturbing images and how helpless we all feel, so it was a great decision that The F & I Association could at least do something to help and so has donated £2000 towards the combined “British Equestrians for Ukraine”.  This association spearheaded by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), the British Horse Society (BHS), The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), British Equine Vet Association (BEVA) and World Horse Welfare (WHW), is working to answer an urgent call for supplies for the horses including feed, forage, shavings and funds to ensure the support and logistics can be put into place. As always with these types of conflicts the situation is becoming more complex by the day, but all we can do is maintain our support and be ready to help where we can. 

Well, the F & I year started with the much-anticipated return of the Annual Course, held at Keysoe International, with two of our BHS Fellows who need no introductions, Richard Davison and Caroline Moore.  The two days saw masterclass after masterclass. 

As well as many riders and horses benefiting directly from the top-class coaching, the audiences were captivated, and this was complemented by thought-provoking Study Groups and Q & A sessions.  We had fantastic feedback from so many of you and it would seem that we have found another venue that will suit our needs in the future. 

Then we had a very informative zoom evening with Paralympian Sophie Wells OBE.  This was not only about Sophie and how she got to where she is now, it was also a great insight into para dressage and fantastic videos and images from Tokyo Olympics itself. Sophie is an unbelievable young lady and has achieved so much in the face of adversity; what she has now gone on to achieve, both as a rider and now also as a coach, is very humbling for us all. Please read the fabulous report by our wonderful previous chairwoman Jillie Rogers BHSI if you haven’t already done so, it makes very good reading. 

Our next event was that of the fascinating Stallion AI and Equine Law Study Day, organised by Amy Bannister -Bell.  And what a super insight it gave us, into equestrian breeding, as well the cutting-edge breeding techniques that are starting to become more commonly used by breeders. Tullis Matson, the founder of Stallion AI, also gave us an insight to some of the incredible work he is doing to save a range of species from becoming extinct. There were the moral issues to consider but when it’s preventing the loss of a species forever it sits much better in my mind. In addition to this in the afternoon we had Carrie de Silva give us a frank and direct insight into many aspects of our industry that can leave us legally vulnerable and some great examples that we could then discuss.  It was a really interactive day and again I would very much encourage you to read the full report, very well written by Becky Cooper BHSI , for a great insight to the whole day. 

Our next events were the combination of two very different days, the first being that of such great art and tradition and the second looking at the very latest research and state of the art technology. It was the first time we have combined two days in a similar location – we took into account that some people may not be able to take two days away, but we also identified that for some members from further afield, the two days made their journey worthwhile, and it did work very well with great feedback provided. We will be looking at similar combinations in the future if appropriate. Day one was our annual Talland training day with Pammy Hutton FBHS.  This day is always a real treat, for members to be able to have access to so many beautiful horses that work at the higher levels providing both great riding experiences but also giving opportunity for members to coach some very gifted riders and receive such valuable feedback from our own Pammy and Islay – such a wealth of knowledge.  We cannot thank Pammy and her team enough for these very privileged days. The second day we saw the future!  An informative day with demonstrations and presentations discussing some of the latest research within the equestrian sector as well the use of the latest horsepower on the market, a mechanical horse that not only simulates the horse’s paces it also actually jumps!  Again a very well written report form Emily Farleigh BHSI for Pammy’s day is available and the second day was documented in great detail by Anne Bondi BHSI. Not a bad start, and its only March… 

So, what’s next….  We have a Badminton course walk with our own Vice Chair Nick Turner FBHS,  this is on the 5th May 2022, kindly organised by Ann Bostock BHSI. Another event organised by Ann is the Judy Harvey FBHS training day in Buckinghamshire, 9th May 2022.  A great opportunity to have coaching from such a highly respected judge, coach and chief dressage selector, this day is always relaxed and informative, giving the chance for riders to bring their own horses for training and spectators being able to watch, listen and learn as well as have a go at coaching and receive feedback.

The next big event is the F & I Ireland double on the 28th June 2022 organised by Faith Ponsonby BHSI.  There is a morning with De Bromhead racing and meeting the super talented Rachel Blackmore and an afternoon with Frances Connors showjumping. This event was booked up very quickly, even the new F&I Chair has missed out on going! 

The next event organised by our wonderful Jillie Rogers is a packed day in Newmarket, 11th July 2022, with visits to Godolphin’s international Headquarters, Dalham Hall Stud, as well as a tour of the Peter O’Sullevan  House – Injured Jockeys Fund.  Not to be missed!

And then don’t forget the course walk at Burghley with Eric Smiley FBHS on 2nd September 2022.

I know we have some more events being organised by our wonderful members very soon and some for “up north” and we await more details and dates.

What a line up, what an Association and what a great platform to reflect and learn, share good practice and support each other. Please provide us with any feedback and also any further ideas of events you would like to organise or would like us to organise. We have already booked the Annual Course at Keysoe International and the two coaches again for 4th /5th January 2023 so ensure your get those dates in the diary.  

Finally, don’t forget the F&I clothing and accessories available, which is all super quality and gives you a clear identity and branding – have a look at the website

Sam York FBHS