A very successful evening was organised by Faith Ponsonby BHSI, Irish Representative, and Jillie Rogers BHSI Chairman of the Association of Fellows and Instructors of the British Horse Society on 7th April.

“Cross Country Matters” was the topic delivered to a full house at Ballylanigan House Mullinahone Co Tipperary by kind permission of Faith and Peter Ponsonby

The evening was delivered by William Micklem an International Coach and Fellow of the BHS.  He reminded us that simplicity and fun are key elements when coaching, and that horses are not designed to be “fenced in.” The importance of the three ‘F’s of Forward, Feel and Fifth leg training was emphasized    He explained the importance of riding across different terrains to encourage horses to develop self- carriage and learn to find this “fifth leg”, thereby  making preservation between horse and rider more instinctive,and helping to develop a safer partnership across country. The important link between dressage, show jumping and cross-country training was also highlighted. William emphasized the importance of the development of a balanced secure position with the “rider’s centre of mass being over the horse’s centre of mass” and which could be adapted over a variety of fences and terrain. This was very effectively delivered in his presentation and in the excellent handouts provided to all on the evening

After some refreshments the discussion was complimented by Peter Ponsonby FEI TD, and an authority in cross country course building.  Peter gave us valuable tips and advice on the safe construction and securing of cross country jumps and the use of frangible pins. He reminded us that we should be making the most of our local cross country facilities, that are available, but also making us aware that the cross country jump needs to be respected, as should our horses.

The evening highlighted that the coach is the strongest link in the enjoyment of our sport, and is key in improving communication between horse and rider.

Report written by Bridgette McCarthy BHSII and Alison Handle BHSAI Grennan College Co. Kilkenny

Event date 7th April 2015