What a year!

Dear All

2017 was a brilliant year for The British Horse Society. And it’s all because of you.

Each and every one of us played our part in the success we experienced. We are all inextricably connected to one another in all the things we do for the Society.

Every single one of us contributed to getting the Society over the top to 100,000 members. Whether you’re in the Finance Team or the Education Team, the Welfare Team or the Access Team, HR, IT, BRC, Marketing, the CEO’s office, the Board of Trustees, Volunteers, Instructors and Fellows, Reception, Post Room, Facilities, Development Team, Safety Team, Approvals Team…it takes all of us together to serve The British Horse Society. And thanks to our collective efforts, horses both here and abroad are happier and healthier than ever before.

So let’s take a moment to reflect on just a few of our considerable accomplishments in the 12 months of 2017:

Over 156 million people heard and read about the BHS in the media this year

A robust congratulations to the BHS on its 70th year by Dame Caroline Spelman in Parliament…as well as a mention by The Queen in series two of The Crown!

Over 156 million people heard and read about the BHS in the media this year

We’re growing and recruiting…now 140 people strong fuel the work of the BHS

We launched BHS Education and Approvals in China at the British Embassy in Beijing with British Ambassador Dame Barbara Woodward and our Vice Patron Princess Anne

Our total income stands at £11 million. Our reserves total £9 million with free reserves in excess of £3 million. We are a financially strong charity by every standard

700 horses were treated at BHS Healthcare Clinics – Forget-Me-Not seeds are lovingly sent to all horse owners helped by our Friends at the End programme

We launched Changing Lives through Horses aimed at young people excluded (and at risk of exclusion) from school – a remarkable 71% of those young people who completed the Changing Lives have returned to school

We presented our REACT Now to Beat Colic at the prestigious International Equine Colic Research Symposium in Kentucky

A bold, new approach to BHS Education – BHS Complete Horsemanship was launched in July with a whopping 33% increase in enquiries about our qualifications

500 additional routes were identified toward protecting our bridleways by 2026 – the tremendous growth to 286 access volunteers  – Ride Out UK on 5 National Trust properties, 2 of which were in Scotland.

Strong, steady improvement in our IT provision and all operating processes

Hosted by Princess Anne, we held a VIP fundraising dinner at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the start of our Platinum Year

Profile of BHS Safety reaches an all-time high with the introduction of Ride Safe and dozens of new partnerships with the police as well as cycling and driving associations. The Dead Slow campaign won the 2016 Driver Education Campaign of the Year from the Driving Instructors Association

Our national and regional managers drive BHS strategy through their 83 committees and nearly 1000 volunteers



Tomorrow (1st January) we move into our Platinum Year with boundless energy to serve horses wherever they may be.

Please share this good news with all parts of the great BHS Family!

Here’s to a wonderful 2018!



Notice of the AGM

To be held at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre, Buckinghamshire on Wednesday 3rd January 2018 at 7pm PROMPT


  1. Opening address by Jillie Rogers BHSI (Chairman)
  2. Apologies for absence
  3. Minutes of the AGM  4th January 2017 to be approved
  4. Matters arising
  5. Chairman’s Report
  6. Treasurer’s Report
  7. Meet the Committee followed by elections of Committee for 2018– Debbie Follett to be voted on to Committee as Treasurer & Membership Secretary
  8. An overview of the 2017 events
  9. Plans for 2018 and beyond
  10. AOB all items for AOB to be sent in writing to Jillie Rogers by 02/01/18  jillierogers001@gmail.com
  11. A minutes silence for Geoffrey Dorset BHSI and Tom Searle BHSI
  12. Date of next AGM
  13. Presentation of awards:

The Pat Smallwood Award presented by Mrs Lynn Petersen BHS CEO

The Achievement Award Presented by Mrs Lynn Petersen BHS CEO

The Tom Searle Award Presented by Mr David Sheerin BHSI Chairman of the BHS

Print Version of the AGM-Agenda-Jan-18




Blenheim International Course Walk Report

“We are all forecasters today and experts tomorrow!” Chris Bartle, Blenheim 15.9.17

As a guest at the course walk I had expected to be overawed by such an important and respected figure in the eventing world but when Chris pitched up on his bike he was quietly spoken and understated. He was so unintimidating, calm and easy to understand, with such a lovely approachable manner that I soon felt I would be happy to jump round the 3 star.

We were lucky that Kitty King joined us so this was a “real” course walk focusing on her specific horse as well as the more general points and so adding an extra interesting dimension. Several other British riders approached him for advice as we walked, including Pippa Funnell and he took time to advise them all.

His approach centred as you would expect, on rhythm, balance and good lines but most importantly, consideration for the horse, both physically and through understanding the horse`s brain. A repeated theme was to make sure the horse kept a sense of where it was going, to remember that the horse hadn`t walked the course and so to give it time to see which fence was next. He suggested a lot of curved lines “A curving line says to your horse,  `we are jumping that` ”. He encouraged Kitty to change her planned line through some trees to avoid a right then left turn reducing possible confusion for the horse and giving it more time to see and understand the fence into the water.

At the coffin, he pointed out that to the horse the fence after the ditch might look like just another tree.   The line had to be chosen carefully so the horse did not think it had to follow the track between the jump and the trees.  A number of useful comparisons were made to dressage tests. For example, stay inside the “centre line” between fences on a turn and medium canter on the 20-metre circle to help the balance cross country. In general, the closer the preparation point to the fence the more time saved but it depends on the horse and type of fence

A big oxer off a curve at the top of a galloping stretch was the course builder`s way of giving the rider reason and opportunity to rebalance the horse. “Balance, turn, ride.”. In particular towards the end of the course the approach to related fences might depend on the horses` response to fatigue. For some keeping the forwardness by taking the longer curved line would lose little time but others might be becoming too flat in the stride and be better if set up on a shorter line and bouncier stride.

Chris` advice to riders could be summed up as “Think, feel but don`t count.” He does not believe in counting strides in detail and at home builds training fences on suitable lines but without measuring the distances. He feels that too often riders become fixated on a specific stride and interfere too much.  If a rider pushes him with regard to the number of strides he is likely to reply, “Oh it`s about three and a half.” Jane Holderness-Roddam voiced support for this approach saying Lorna Clarke had told her that you can`t be more than half a stride wrong and if you can`t adjust that then you shouldn`t be riding! “Hold them on the outside rein” was repeated often and for one tight turn, weight on the inside stirrup and turn like a motorbike with outside flexion.

He emphasised using upper body position to help with control and balance. It could be summed up with, “Always keep the horse in front of you. Sit up and ride with your position, don`t fight with the horse`s mouth.”  Some comments were traditional: Sit up, hands down, look into the distance not down at the bottom.  Find a reference point beyond a single fence or on part of the next   element to help you see the line. A clear pattern emerged of a trainer wanting both horse and rider to be fully effective with neither hindering the other. Other comments were to stay back in the “what if” position ready in case the horse “sucks back” when it sees the water Look for the generosity or otherwise of the ground lines and sit up and stay away from a very upright skinny.

“Let the neck a little away from you,” was how Chris described the slightly longer rein he prefers into fences especially when there is more than one element and many riders would tend to over organise with the hand. This is partly to allow the horse more freedom to see, judge and jump and just as importantly so that the rider stays in balance on landing avoiding being pulled forward by a too short and tight rein creating the “head bob” which stops them keeping their eyes up “on the ball” and the horse`s focus on the next element.

I would like to thank all the F and I members for being so friendly and welcoming and especially Ann for organising the course walk. It was a great experience and I went away remembering,

Make it Happen. You are here to win it!”

Report by Emily Firminger with thanks to Mum for taking notes.