Jumping report from the Annual Course

The 2007 annual F & I course took place at Addington Manor on 10 th & 11 th January – if you missed it, WHY WEREN’T YOU THERE ?!!
As a relatively new member of the association I was astounded at how few people took advantage of such a fantastic opportunity to train with 2 of the equestrian world’s most respected and admired coaches.
Pammy Hutton FBHS was busy for 2 days solid, teaching and openly discussing training methods and different approaches to many of our dilemmas and questions.
I was able to book 2 lessons each day with Eric Smiley FBHS, taking a Novice and an Intermediate horse with me, and was able to benefit from Eric’s consistent and positive approach to jump training.
Day 1 :We used individual fences and worked on the quality of canter and rider’s position.
Day 2: We used a course of fences and looked at distances in combinations and linking fences – and at the end of the session we jumped a few angled lines and tested the horses’ straightness, agility and understanding of the exercises we had covered.
I thoroughly enjoyed the logical and progressive style that Eric delivers so easily, basically if you can’t canter a straight line over the centre of a single pole without the horse changing canter lead, how can you progress to successful course jumping ?!  We all teach it, but when under the spot light the exercise revealed a lot of basic errors that, however minor, affect the overall jump, and that was just the warm up !!
Various corrections, suggestions and group discussion resulted in an improvement in horses in every group – whether it was bit changing or rider position.
A little Irish wit and dry humour ensured the experience was a memorable one – if you missed it, you missed out !!!
What a great opportunity for liked minded people to get together, bounce ideas around and learn different techniques – there are many roads that lead to Rome, through the F & I Association and the various Fellows and Coaches in attendance, we covered a lot of ground !
by Heidi Woodhead