BHS International Convention 2018 – Hartpury.

This week I was fortunate enough to attend the first two days of the British Horse Society International Convention up at Hartpury.

This year the BHS celebrates its 70th Birthday, and what a fantastic job they did producing this Convention. For anyone who missed it, I do urge you to try to go the next one at Myerscough 16-18th April.

Inspiring and educational presentations were given by Chris Bartle FBHS and British Eventing Team’s High Performance Coach. He covered Grid sessions, and sessions on training horses to jump technical fences. He paid particular attention to how the rider sits, and how this influences the direction the horse goes.

Christoph Hess worked on developing the riders use of the aids to advance the training of the horse. He emphasised how important it is to really have your horse going forwards, especially when doing lateral work. Both Coaches compliment each other and its so interesting to see the follow through from Dressage to Jumping. Riding forwards into a contact was empahsized throughout with both Coaches.

Sam York our newest Fellow of the British Horse Society and a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham University, gave two outstanding demonstrations on Equestrian Coaching in the 21st Century. Sam is a great communicator and is passionate about continually learning and embracing modern Coaching techniques. She worked with a rider who wore “special glasses” that then showed us on a screen where the rider looks when they jump. A lot of research has been done on this and it was interesting to observe. On the second day Sam used different jumping exercises and some photo footage, to demonstrate how horses best read different sorts of fences. They haven’t quite invented the glasses for the horse yet!! Sam had two riders taking differing routes to XC type fences, and we were able to observe how quickly the horses locked on.

We had a fantastic ridden session given by our BHS Chairman David Sheerin coached by Christoph Hess. David was a pleasure to watch…in complete harmony with his horse. I think Christoph was very impressed that the Chairman of the BHS could ride so well! What an Ambassador for the BHS going forward into the 21st Centuary!

Dr Andrew McLean flew in from Australia to give a demonstration on “The Correct Beginnings” He had two of Jennie Loriston Clarke’s young horses to work with. He demonstrated the correct foundations of training the young horse.
There was also a talk on the launch of the new Equine Pathway which offers a modern way of assessing riders and grooms, to enable them to achieve “Industry Ready” Qualifications which are fit for purpose.

We had a super Gala Dinner at the Hatherley Manor Hotel on Monday night with Guest speaker Bob Champion. The F&I table was a great success, although we did appear to have more empty wine bottles than people!

I am so proud to be a part of the BHS and of course the F&I Association!

Report by Sam Champney-Warrener

Bits and Bitting

A study evening at Kirkley Hall (by permission of Northumberland College) led by Sandra Morrison BHSI and Alastair Parkin BHSI
19th March 2018

What a thoroughly enjoyable and thought-provoking evening with Sandra Morrison and Alistair Parkin at Kirkley Hall in the company of much knowledge, experience and enthusiasm from everyone. The evening was open to non-members which allowed for a Pony Club member to come along with her a Mum as well as local Riding Club members.

The format was friendly and encouraging with a good emphasis on discussion and acceptance of differing points of view, all leading to the same end of education and improvement of methods to produce a happy healthy horse.

The group was divided into four smaller discussion groups and four questions were circulated round them at about ten-minute intervals.  These were:

1.  What is your fundamental understanding of bits?
2.  What is your understanding of acceptance of the bit?
3.  What is the responsibility of the rider’s hand?
4.  What is your understanding of contact?

It was targeted at bits and bitting and was most helpful, including the practical interlude which produced much hilarity!  – Re assembly of a snaffle bridle while blindfold, the Pony Clubber won!

Afterwards there were a further four questions for debate which were:

5.  Choosing a bit
6.  Is the snaffle the best option for introducing the bit to the horse?
7.  How do you cut through the marketing of new bits to make the right choices?
8.  Is a bit really necessary?

A good venue, well supported and organised and producing good results. Much needed up in this part of the world.


It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the recent passing of Lynne Baldwin after a short illness in a hospital near Woodcuts near Salisbury in Wiltshire on 18th March.

Lynne and I trained together at Moat House Benenden in the 1970’s under the tutelage and watchful eye of Cherrie Hatton Hall (Sister Chiara). Lynne had a great sense of humour whilst being a very sympathetic and successful rider. Lynne then moved on to manage the BHS Examination Centre, Ridgewood Riding Centre, near Reigate in Surrey preparing BHS and Pony Club exam candidates whilst she became an Examiner for the BHS. Following her successful time at Ridgewood Lynne then owned a yard near Effingham and finally with her friend Brona Donnellan owned Partridge Stables near Dorking Surrey. Here, not only was Lynne busy with her students but she also successfully competed at British Dressage PSG level with her horse ’Tom’ and was a BD List 2 judge.

Ann Bostock was Lynne’s Head Girl/Chief Instructor at Partridge Stables and between us our memories of Lynne are of a person bursting with fun and good humour whilst being very diligent towards the horses in her care. More recently Brona and Lynne moved to Wiltshire where they had a private yard for their own horses and from where Lynne continued to coach and judge. Lynne retired from examining some years ago but those of us who worked with her were always sure of a well organised day where the candidates were the centre of our day.

Lynne’s Funeral is on 5th April at 2pm at Poole Crematorium, Gravel Hill, Broadstone, Poole, Dorset. BH14 9BQ

Jillie Rogers & Ann Bostock

A further note from Jillie Rogers: So many wonderful posts have been made for Lynne on Facebook, we really are just that – a caring Association who goes that extra mile for our own and Lynne was an original F&I member.  For anyone who wishes to send Lynne’s friend and business partner a card here is the address:
Ms Brona Donnellan
Dean Wells Farm

Equine Forum Report

Sarah Macdonald and I were fortunate to attend the 26th National Equine forum on 8th March. 

The Equine Forum hosts short talks from industry experts, on current and up to date subjects. This year the whole conference was Live streamed, and if you visit You Tube, “Equine Forum 2018” the whole day can be viewed.

Topics covered included talk from Stewart Everett on, CED- Central Equine database, and how the data from the Passport Issuing Organisations should be co-ordinated with the CED.

Caroline Spellman, the All Party Group MP for the horse, chaired a panel of experts on topics which included, Employment Initiatives for staff and staff retention, plus Health and Safety. Nick Rust, spoke on Equine Welfare in British Horseracing. BHS Alan Hiscox, gave a brilliant talk on the Road safety campaign “Dead or Dead Slow”.Michio Clark, spoke on Helmet Design and research, dealing with rotational impact. Sue Dyson spoke on the research and findings on rider to horse body weight ratios, and how it impacts on gait and behaviour. There were no surprises here, but now there is scientific confirmation on the subject, as opposed to anecdotal assumptions. Jim Green spoke on “animal Rescue” and the training for Firefighters, and partnerships with the veterinary profession for first response in emergencies.

Topical slots covered “Rural Crime” from Chief Constable Dave Jones, and “Heavy Horses” Use us or Loose us, from Nigel Oakley, from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

An informative and interesting day

Report from Mandy Luesley

Spring Newsletter

Dear F&I Member

As I sit here in the grip of Storm Emma and De Beast from De East I decided I’ve done enough snow shovelling and I would set about the Spring Newsletter.

As usual I am overwhelmed by the continued enthusiasm of our members. After another fabulous two-day Annual Course at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre where the days flew by as we flitted from one arena to the next watching and listening to those two great gurus Christoph Hess and Christopher Bartle, I felt 2018 had certainly arrived. David Sheerin had organised some really useful booklets which have made a great keepsake/memory of those two days. As a slight sideways tilt Sam York gave a very good lecture/demo on the use of technology in equestrian coaching by taking us through the dynamics of the “Equla Vert”. Also on day one David Seamark and his seven sheepdogs demonstrated working with a group of geese to show the Trust between the dog his Master and the other dogs as they worked as a team around the jumps and people in the arena, gently pushing the geese into a horse shoe shape formed by members of the audience. The dinner was well up to its usual standard and the AGM saw the retirement of our long standing Treasurer Judith Murphy. Debbie Follett has taken up the reins and we all wish her luck – big boots to fill Debbie. There were more winners for our trophies – Andrew Bennie the Achievement Award, Ruth Baxter the new Tom Searle Award and posthumously Tom Searle for Pat Smallwood Award. Mr and Mrs Searle joined us for dinner and to accept this award on Tom’s behalf and for me this was an emotional few moments as we all looked to our own memories of this young man.

As a reminder the Pat Smallwood Award is now presented by the F&I Association to “an instructor who has put exceptional effort into the Equestrian Industry in a voluntary capacity” and for the committee this was Tom. The Achievement Award just had to be presented to Andrew Bennie for all the Eventing Judging he has recently done world-wide including a recent small 4* in Rio. Finally, a new award the Tom Searle Award presented to the Association by David Sheerin as a memorial to Tom for the person “who shows all the elements of being Supportive, Involved and Inspirational” The recipient had no idea and a very surprised Ruth Baxter stepped up to receive the trophy from the BHS CEO Lynn Petersen.

Following dinner, it was straight into the entertainment which was ably produced and monitored by Sam York and Lisa Morris. Certain of our members proved just why they are at the top of their profession and also have such a successful competitive life as they “fought” to put together a double bridle blindfolded and tie a hunting stock blindfolded in record time. It was quite hard work to get back to reality as Faith and I flew home to Ireland.

Extremely good reports were written regarding the dressage sessions – Faith Ponsonby – and the jumping – Joanna Shields – thank you to those kind souls.

Then the year commenced in earnest as in mid-January came the fascinating regular study day at Talland, a super report followed from Sam Goss, and everyone was once more into the swing of the F&I calendar. Thank goodness for our Face Book page as that is the place to go for the photos as you await the reports. The Richard Waygood day at Wellington was as inspiring as ever and at this moment I’ve had a sneak preview of Sarah Thorne’s report we await some photographs to go with it.

Unfortunately, the weather has caused a cancellation of the day with Nick Turner at Hunters Gate Eventing, Cheshire, but this is rescheduled for March 27th. Also, in March Sandra Morrison is starting a series of evening lectures at Northumberland College for those in that part of the country. Then there is training at Millfield with Danny Anholt whilst the National Equine Forum in London has two delegates namely Sarah MacDonald and Mandy Luesley.

Moving swiftly on to April Sarah Simpson has offered an insight into the Leahurst Equine Unit and Ruth Baxter has an evening with Yogi Briesner for her area of the BHS and we are able to join at a very reasonable rate.

May brings Badminton Horse Trials and the annual course walk organised by Ann Bostock, don’t be late at the meeting point or you’ll be “drummed out the Brownies”. Once Ann arrives home from Badminton there’s the Judy Harvey Training day on May 8th.

June is our inaugural F&I Summer Camp – bring yourself and your pony to Wellington for a taste of summer fun! Or just bring yourself and borrow one from Wellington. David Sheerin will be in charge – watch out folks…

June also sees the visit to Ireland when Faith has again called in favours and we’re off to visit Irish show jumper Greg Broderick. Not only will we get to see the fabulous training facilities but also Greg’s breeding section and follow this with a lunch at McCarthy’s pub renowned for its good grub and onto the Horse Museum in Fethard. Meanwhile at Bramham Horse Trials Friday 8th Ruth Baxter has organised a most interesting session to watch and evaluate the Burghley Young Event Horse 4 year olds & 5 year olds.

July is our Hickstead RIHS Ladies Day social, of course. The Fellowship takes place in October and there are several training days taking place for this renowned riding and training qualification. And yet more events are in the planning stages. More details of all events can be found on the F&I website and Facebook page so please do take a careful look.

As an Association we will all be coming under the GDPR European Data Protection 2018. You should all have received a consent form by now and I hope you’ve taken the time to fill it out and return to our new Treasurer Debbie Follett. This does raise some problems with all our training days, evening lectures and course walks as the organisers need to ensure all eventualities are covered regarding guests and then storage of those forms in a safe place. But we are getting there and are being guided by Julian Campbell who as well as being a member also works at the BHS offices Abbey Park.

The Annual Course next year will move its dates but not the venue – please note in your diaries the 8th & 9th January at Addington Manor. with Corinne Bracken Show Jump training and Adam Kemp FBHS for the Dressage training. Our page in the British Horse Magazine February issue showed our Course to be exactly as it is with the heading “Sharing Inspiration”

PLEASE do consider arranging a gathering in your area, it can open up to non-members and if you first just run it past myself there’s a chance the BHS will award the training days CPD points. Members of the committee will be happy to advise and help you and Di will send on the Organisers Pack. We would prefer if it covered all expenses but not everything needs to make money – it’s the satisfaction of seeing more F&I Days being put on across the country and the wide variety we can make available.
On a sad note, we have recently lost one of our stalwart FBHS colleagues, Helen Webber. F&I were well represented at her funeral, and she will be much missed.

It just remains for me to wish each and every member the very best for 2018 and I hope to see you at some of our ventures.
Best Wishes
Jillie Rogers