We all arrived to the beautiful Talland at 10am [Tuesday 1st March 2022], some with a skip in their step, some thinking what have I let myself in for and some with a strong coffee in hand. I’m sure everyone who was there will agree we all left feeling confident and making plans to make this dream of being a Fellow a reality – or at least riding and coaching better into our older years.
Pammy started the day filling us in on lots of relevant issues that got us all thinking and looking at the bigger picture, both for the equine industry and for all of us as coaches and horse lovers. Topics included: the image of the industry and of the BHS, and appeal to the under 30s; supporting each other in the horse world including reaching out through social media or private messages to support fellow trainers /coaches; and focussing on horse welfare in everything we do – including through the current challenges in the war zone that is Ukraine. We then returned to nearer home, discussing direct entry to higher level exams, the roles of Fellowship horses, “Ride and Coach” or “Performer and Educator”, and emphasising that the Assessors are looking for Empathy, Purpose and Effectiveness.
The first 4 riders were called to step up, Nikki Herbert, Debbie Wilson, Dianne Roberts and myself (wondering what I had let myself in for, being the newbie). We had 4 novice horses first who were all very different which gave us lots to feel and discover. It was super listening to everyone give feedback on their horses with Pammy and Islay giving us all tips to get our feedback polished.
We then were brought out 4 advanced schoolmasters who were sussing us out as we approached them thinking I had better be good Pammy is still in charge of the sugar lumps. I was given the sensitive power-house called Enjoy who was trying to show me how clever he was as soon as I got on, we had a quiet conversation about letting me in and being a part of his show. Wow what a super horse. Then Pammy popped me on DUI otherwise know as her secret weapon. I hopped aboard thinking I was getting in my little 1 litre Fiat to soon realise I was getting in the driving seat of a Ferrari when he trusted me with his keys. DUI is the true meaning of never judge a book by its cover.
Then it was the turn of the next 4 riders, Jayne Smart, Debbie Morgan, David Llewellyn and Dan Spencer. It was great to now be in on all the discussions looking at the horses and riders with Fellows with a wealth of knowledge. If only we could bottle up that knowledge.
Pammy and her stunning horse Magnum put on their dancing shoes and showed us some super work at GP. I loved how she talked about us showing our horses the light – let’s teach them by showing them what they can do. If your horse doesn’t know the answer then you’re not asking the right question or your question wasn’t clear.
After a quick lunch we were given two young riders. Julian aged 22 and Faye aged 16. We discussed both riders, talking about nurturing talented young riders and what we look for in them as potential top riders of the future. We all know raw talent alone doesn’t make a top rider. Passion, ability, determination, empathy, dedication, feel, the love for horses, hard work and unfortunately money. These are a few things we spoke about. Pammy asked how much do you think it would cost to get a young rider to compete at an international level? What effect could this amount of pressure have on their mental health? A diamond is a chunk of coal that did very well under pressure!
Sam York said that to be a good coach we must display our skills and knowledge – and we must be a Performer and an Educator. Believing in ourselves and trust our knowledge to educate the future Equestrians.
In the afternoon, Nicky, David, Dan and Jayne all came forward to coach. They gave fantastic lessons, getting super tips and knowledge from Pammy and Sam. We talked about dress code whilst coaching, about getting to the brief quickly to give yourself adequate time to deliver, make sure you face your assessor whilst coaching, be heard, and own the arena.
This day gave us all a huge step in the right direction towards making our dream of becoming Fellows a reality.
Thank you to all involved in organising this super day and to the wonderful staff at Talland who turned the horses out beautifully and made us all feel so welcome.
Report by Emily Farleigh BHSI