What a fantastic year so far for the Fellow & Instructors Association. Di (our secretary) recently sent me a list of all days organised this year and it makes very good reading. We are a diverse group of people with that common interest – the horse. To just precis the dates, days have been organised for dressage training, show jump training and cross country schooling, and, put alongside those the social days out, visits to studs and racing yards, if one were able to attend them all then I don’t think a great deal of time would be spent actually earning a living! Then there has been another Olympic year with all that those competitions bring with them, fantastic dressage to watch, and we must have all been biting our nails to the quick as Nick jumped that fabulous round, whilst the Para riders are just awesome. What better year to award Carl an Honorary Fellowship.
The various Representatives who put together all these functions need a mention. Faith Ponsonby (Ireland), Sue Ricketts (Northern England) and Erik Mackechnie (Scotland), however across England and Wales are those other stalwarts who plan and campaign our training days. PLEASE don’t stop, any of you. Anyone can present a day for the Association and it can be anything which involves the horse. We have even played polo, thanks to Jona, but there must be more areas we as a club can venture into for a day, so put your thinking caps on for 2017 and let Di, Ann Bostock or myself know so we can help with advertising and advice on fees etc.
In this part of the newsletter I usually allow myself a short period on my soap box so here goes: for me this association is a club for elite professionals within the horse world. Whether you regard yourself as an instructor or coach, it seems when I speak with many of you, you are teaching/helping others with their horses or indeed the horse himself. The British Horse Society is our ‘mother ship’ and as such highly valued for all the help and advice we may seek. It is good that we have a more open and friendly liaison with the BHS compared to how I remember it when I first joined the F&I Association in the 1980’s. However, we are us and we need to encourage more young and vibrant BHSI’s to join us. Our membership is healthy but those not in ‘our club’ are missing out on the wealth of knowledge given by the presenters of the training days, not to mention the social activities. A BHS Assessor once said to me “cut me and I bleed BHS” and that’s where I come from regarding this club – “cut me and I bleed F&I Association”.
On a sadder note as you all will by now be aware Jo Knowles FBHS and sculptress died earlier this summer whilst more recently Pippa Francis succumbed to cancer at the early age of 58. For those wishing to, there is an address where donations may be sent for Cancer Research or Macmillan Nurses on Donn Collins’ obituary for Pippa.
2017 Annual Course, it’s FULL and all riders are, once again, members of the Association. So for anyone who’s missed out on a riding place hurry up and book your spectator spot and the Dinner through Ann Bostock. I look forward to seeing as many as possible of you at the Annual Course and am hoping for a plethora of new members to swell the ranks.