Autumn Newsletter October 2015

Dear Member,

In September 1819 John Keats wrote an Ode beginning ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ and yes here we are again.  British Summertime will ended on October 25th and now the days will shorten on that run down, or is it up, to Christmas.

The British Horse magazine had articles on winter care for your horse and over the past weeks Horse and Hound has majored on feeding and caring for the horse in winter.  They (who ever they are) say this is to be a ‘hard’ winter so these last weeks of warmth have been very welcome.  Governments tell us to look out for the elderly during cold weather but I’ve been thinking about the three pony mares rescued by the BHS in 2014, Faith Hope and Charity.  Whilst BH magazine and H&H preach mostly to the converted who will look out for those ponies, cobs and horses who appear to be neglected and stranded as soon as the days shorten and no-one comes to check or feed them?  I’m hoping it might be some of us, brave enough to stand up and be counted and yet aware of the plight of the novice horse owner.  Meanwhile competing continues albeit indoors and those who hunt will be ready and anxious for the Opening Meets.

This has been another busy year for the F&I Association, oh to be able to attend every day that is available to us all, so many varied and informative days have been put into place.  Thinking all was nearly over I whizz off to HOYS,  courtesy of Simon Somers, and come back to a brilliant report from Sue Payne regarding the day Biddy Brasted Watts organised at Newmarket with Dr Rachel Murray and Simon Somers.   In March 1995 Dr Rachel Murray gave a lecture at Cambridge Veterinary College to a group from the F&I Association which was equally as informative.   Just now as I check Facebook there’s a report from Judith Murphy regarding Emile’s coaching day.  Thank you everyone who has gone to such lengths to organise such a varied programme for us all, and my thanks to all the report writers without whom those of us who weren’t present at the various days could not feel included  but did feel jealous!

At the moment I’m trying to fit in a few minutes per week to compile a list of Chairpersons and Secretaries from the inauguration of the F&I Association to the present time.  Going through the archival paperwork is indeed fascinating, hence the information regarding Dr. Murray.  I hope all this will be available to view at the AGM in January.  This brings me to the final part of the newsletter.


We “kick off” with the Annual Course, AGM and Dinner, you will have already had advance notice of this.  The riding places are now full but that doesn’t stop you coming to spectate and joining us for the Dinner on Wednesday 6th January at Addington Manor EC.  Other celebrations are planned throughout the year so I hope to see you at some of them.

It just remains for me to wish you a safe winter with our good friend and servant The Horse.

Yours Sincerely


PS, I know we’re all hoping William Fox Pitt will make a full recovery as soon as possible.

The Annual Course

The Annual Course will once again be held at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre on 6th and 7th January 2016.

The Coaches are: for Flat work Jennie Loriston Clarke FBHS and Jumping Nick Turner FBHS.

Whilst the sessions with Jennie are full there are still spaces in the jumping sessions with Nick.

Applications are welcome from BHS Fellows, BHS Instructors and BHS Intermediate Instructors.

Preference will be given to members of the F&I Association.

For further information re application please contact Ann Bostock on 07889648478 or

F & I Association day at Newmarket

Biddy Brasted Watts arranged a super day at Newmarket on 5th October 2015, for the F & I Association members and guests.

The morning was taken by Rachel Murray MA VetMB MS Phd MRCVS Dip ACVS Dip ECVS at the Animal Health Trust.

The subject of Surfaces and Competition Horses was covered By Rachel in depth from a huge amount of research undertaken by her and others.  The presentation was fascinating with wonderful power point  stills  and videos of damage to various parts of horses limbs and backs, which research is showing is fairly specific to the different disciplines – ( Rachel covered Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing and Endurance and Point to Pointing) and the various surfaces used in indoor schools and Arenas.  The amount of information packed into the 2 hour session was amazing. For anyone putting in a new surface or replacing one, the decisions have just got more difficult as to what surface to have! The slip – or lack of it- is liable to cause different injuries  depending  on the discipline and can contribute to a variety of injuries. Superficial flexor tendon, deep flexor tendon, suspensory ligament damage at different levels on the fore or hind limb can be partly caused by the surface as well as the level of fitness of the horse and the repetition of specific movements or work . Extended paces are more likely to cause problems than collected work.  Too much work on  repititions of piaffe, pirouettes,  jump exercises, will cause problems as once the tendons or ligaments are fatigued, they will be damaged.  The different surfaces available can contribute to this. The maintenance of the surface so that it is totally consistent is of paramount importance.  We all know that, but it is rare to find it!  Rachel spoke about what is underneath the surface (the base) which is of the greatest importance. It must be very stable so nothing changes when the arena is in use. As an example crushed concrete is not suitable. Limestone is a good base.  The different surfaces were identified with their pros and cons. Woodchip very slippery. Waxed- Sticky. No slide and uniform if well maintained. Deep harrowing needed. If shallow harrowed and rolled it becomes hard as well as having no slip. Sand and rubber can be good or very bad. The best possible sand should be used and small rubber chunks (25 mm) not large, which bruises the foot.  Rubber on top of sand is unstable when the sand dries out.  Sand /fibre /rubber can be good as the sand does not dry out as  quickly.

Horses must be used to working on a variety of surfaces including grass. Some horses prefer one type of surface to another. Endurance horses will be damaged  from trotting (or cantering ) on roads. Walking on roads is good.

The depth of information Rachel gave was mind blowing.  I have only been able to skim the surface here.

We were then shown the facilities the AHT have, with in depth information of the use of the equipment such as MRI.

We had a lovely buffet lunch then drove to the British Racing School, where Simon Somers BHSI and International Show Judge, led the group through the importance of good conformation  to maintain soundness  in  competition horses. Simon started by saying the overview of a horse must be looked at before going into individual good and faults in the conformation.   The thoroughbreds we looked at showed some good and some poor points, which were compared by Simon.  The Limbs are of paramount importance with a leg at each corner and from front and back view a vertical column of bones.  The shoulder angle is very important, as is not being tied in at the elbow. The hind quarters are the engine and Simon discussed the lengths of the gaskin and lower leg for a competition horse.     It was an interactive session . Thank you Simon.

Report by Sue Payne