F&I Day 20th May 2019 with Judy Harvey

Ann Bostock wanted help with the canter work for her 18yr old RoR. Judy addressed this by helping the horse to become more comfortable in his surroundings and worked to get him supple around Ann’s leg. This enabled him to let go in all three paces and lessened the need to ride him so forward.

Jenny Ward brought her big, beautiful 13yr old who she is competing at Inter 1.
Judy initially worked on improving the horse’s reaction to the leg, as opposed to him offering speed, which made his hind legs participate in propelling and carrying his frame forwards.
Judy provided assistance from the ground with the piaffe and passage, asking Jenny to work with a slightly longer and lower neck for throughness.

Mandy Luesley rode Betty, her home bred 6yr old mare, with whom she had achieved 69% at Novice the day before.
Judy improved the mare’s basic way of going by finding balance in a slower tempo, developing straightness on an inner track and reaction to a lighter leg aid.

Sarah Stewart rode Polly whom she had bought as 4yr old. The mare is now 14, and they are competing at Inter 1.
Sarah wanted help with the canter pirouettes, during which the mare was rushing and losing balance.
Judy addressed control, making Sarah responsible for steering, and wanted less effort from Sarah managing the horse. This allowed the mare to find her own balance and take her own responsibility for maintaining the canter.
On the left rein mare ran onto the inside leg, turning too quickly. Judy had her taking a couple of pirouette steps left, then turning right out of it into counter canter. The mare learned to wait for instructions rather than anticipating the movement and improved her balance.
In the passage, Judy included a couple of steps of medium trot between the passage periods, to teach the mare range of movement as well as create energy.

Elizabeth Allen brought Harry, a 7yr old, who was only backed at 5.5. She had taken him to the Nationals at Novice last year, and has qualified him for the Medium Regionals with 67%, recently achieving two Advanced Mediums of 68%.

Liza rode through a serpentine with changes. Right to left was balanced and clear; left to right, the horse twisted. Judy helped create new bend by over-curving each loop, fitting 6 loops into the arena rather that 4, which helped the balance.

Harry twisted at the poll in shoulder-in right. Judy corrected this by removing the bend and putting the horse on an increased angle without bend in order to gain control of the shoulders and straighten him.

Judy said that Harry is an enthusiastic horse, who needs to learn to wait so that he doesn’t drag the rider through the movements and lose balance. He hasn’t currently got the strength to manage his own power, which creates the twisting through the crest.

Sam Champney-Warrener and Sarah Stewart both coached sessions in the afternoon with Judy’s staff and schoolmasters. These led to many good discussion points and suggested exercises in order to improve each partnership.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, and the sun shone throughout! Thank you to Judy for hosting and Ann for organising.

Report by Dan Spencer and Melissa Troup

F&I course walk – Badminton 2019

Friday morning was bright and clear with a chilly wind as 14 members and their guests set off for an insight to Eric Winters’ imposing XC course, running in a clockwise direction, with Nick Turner FBHS.

This year Nick promised us that it wouldn’t be a “route march”, but our fit group managed to overtake two other groups on the way!!

The first four fences set the horses and riders up for what was to come later, and it was at fence 10 that the first real question came. Most horses are used to going under roofs at this level, but the bank was fairly steep and short to a “coffin” ditch and then either the left or right uphill options of logs – although straight on through the gap looked easily the most inviting. 

Then it was on to the middle section of the course where questions came thick and fast and you had to be able to adjust the canter without losing the power.

Nick described the direct routes, and also where the softer routes were, if horse and or riders had lost a bit of confidence. Once the lake was behind you Nick said that Eric had really then tried to get riders home safely, providing they were sensible and didn’t try to make up time if the horse was tired. 

On Saturday the top combinations made it look like a Pony Club course and even those that had a problem or mishap didn’t look as though they had been over-faced, just a lack of control and/or communication, or simply mis-understanding the question.

As always Nick’s experience of riding and training at the level shines through, answering all of our queries and concerns and making us truly understand how much of a partnership there is at this level for horses to trust us to keep galloping and jumping for 12 minutes over 33 fences and a minimum of 48 jumping efforts.
Many thanks to Nick for a wonderful course-walk and a great insight into the minds of the course-builder, rider and horse.

Report by Ann Bostock