Our first day out for the F & I Association since the Annual course dawned warm and sunny as we made our way to Judy Harvey’s yard in Buckinghamshire.

Judy has been a long time member and supporter and is generous in allowing us to watch and learn from her own riding and coaching skills.

Covid 19 procedures were in place and we all socially distanced as you can see from the photograph, we all need wide angled lenses now!!

Mandy Luesley FBHS rode her homebred mare first as she was the closest at 2 hours away ( the others were all over 3hrs 15 mins) This mare has really strengthened up since last year and looked much more consistent. Judy had them more forward and really using the corners rather than riding circles. She reminded us that internationally there are 5 judges on the short sides and only 2 down the long side so the short sides need to be ridden correctly to set the movements up.

David Llewellyn BHSI rode his own 5yr old TB by Black Sam Bellamy. This is a very big horse with 3 correct paces and Judy made it clear that with this horse you wouldn’t ride so deep into the corners as at the moment it would affect his balance and his joints. When working towards the medium paces it was suggested that to go to “working plus” rather than full blown medium as this helps keep the hind leg in the right place.

Sam York FBHS brought 2 homebred half brothers to work. One was beautifully turned out in “sorbet pink” numnah and matching bandages which Sam’s Mum had kindly bought for her!!

With the older brother the lateral work was used to help the suppleness having less angle and more impulsion. It was made clear that it is important to keep the imp up between the movements. The leg yield was then used to help the canter and into a flying change again helping the hind leg stay in the correct place.

Sam’s younger horse had been placed at the Championships at Hartpury last week and was now moving towards more engagement and collection using shoulder fore to help the transitions after the medium paces. It was good to see the walk pirouettes and how with practise and positioning they can be improved for higher marks. So those of us with less expressive paces better get working at being able to get some higher marks.

Liz Allen BHSI rode her lovely Inter 1 horse but showed us how the Grand Prix working is coming along. The tempis were lovely and expressive but then lost some balance so Judy suggested half halting and collecting after each change so that they didn’t run out of balance. Liz showed us how she had started the passage and Judy said to think of a small trot with expression so that he learns to bend his knees and stay under with his hocks.

After a short break Judy then rode an Andulusian stallion who belongs to one of her clients. He has a fantastic temperament and competes at PSG with his owner but has some of the Grand Prix work there. Having trotted around at the start Judy then used exercises in canter to help with the cadence when coming back to the trot and then into piaffe and passage.

Discussions then followed with 2 of our coaches helping a young rider with a PSG horse.

How lucky are we to have access to such wonderful horses and trainers.

As always many thanks to Judy, her team and Richard Healey for allowing us to come to their home and yard in these strange times we find ourselves in

Report by Ann Bostock, BHSI, F&I Vice-Chair and organiser extraordinaire.