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

Volunteers needed for Badminton

Badminton Horse Trial’s nominated charity this year is the British Horse Society. The BHS is celebrating it’s 70th Birthday & are looking for volunteers to help during Badminton.

Volunteers with a specific area of expertise may be assigned to one of our designated areas i.e. Access, Safety, Welfare.
 Volunteers who are Accredited Professional Coaches may be assigned to helping with the mechanical horse.
Please fill in this form: Badminton-Volunteer-Form.pdf and return to Jeanette Poile at Abbey Park: jeanette.poile@bhs.org.uk

Captain Richard Waygood, BE Performance Manager, training day.

Wednesday, 14th February at Wellington Riding, Hampshire

Valentines Day. What better day to spend quality time in the presence of Richard Waygood and venue host, David Sheerin along with good friends and colleagues.
This was a fully subscribed riding day, but also offering an excellent opportunity for spectators being allowed into the arena to be close up, watch & be involved in discussion & the questioning that develops between Richard and the riders.

We had been expecting grid work, of a long line of fences stretching up the 70 m long side of the fantastic Dukes Hall indoor school, but Richard had his own ideas for gymnastic type exercises.
He had 6 exercises set out, to ‘pump’ the horses up, get them ‘weight lifting’, activating the hind legs & finding their own better form of balance to improve their way of going.

We started off using 5 trotting poles positioned off the track on the long side. At a 90* angle to be this on either end was another pole. Having familiarised the horses with the trot poles, Richard had us coming in over the right angle and then the following poles. This was a new exercise and certainly got the horses hocks flexing as they turned and in getting us to allow the horses a longer neck, they were able to find better balance themselves, even finding a ‘fifth’ leg, a theme that Richard kept coming back to through the session.

We moved on to three canter poles diagonally off an inner track towards the corners involving a change of rein. Richard was absolute in the horses arriving there totally straight. The hind legs following the front legs. Rhythm, softness & straightness throughout the exercise, to landing to the leading leg away. Letting the horses find their natural way of going, us as riders waiting for the turn, without hurrying, or us letting them fall through the turn.

The next exercise was one we’d done previously, but with a twist.
A pole, upright, pole exercise on a curved line. Except that the upright was lower to the inside and higher to the outside. The bounce placing poles being closer to the upright on the inside and with a more generous distance on the outer. Echoing Chris Bartle’s ‘ride the inner mid line’, we corrected the positioning of the horses shoulders before and after the fence and made sure we had the correct forward canter before we got there.
I found my horse was jumping across the fence and almost rotating his shoulder to the lower inside of the upright. In discussion, along with the other spectator coaches and riders, Richard & I changed the pole to be higher on the inside and lower on the outside. My horse remained more upright, without ‘cheating’ the exercise. That’s what’s best about these days, is the ability we have as coaches and riders, to discuss and trial, to see what does and can work, with informed discussion in a supportive environment.

The next exercise was three uprights, two short strides, the middle being a plank, that could all be jumped in either direction.
Richard had us cantering a 10m circle around the upright at each end, making sure that the canter was active, in front of out leg and straight. Main problems demonstrated as having too much inside rein & not riding the horse around, to losing the quality & rhythm of the canter on the circle and the falling behind the leg and us having to ‘event rider’ chase it to the plank on an angle off the circle, when the horse had ‘stalled’ on us.
On landing, we were back onto the 10m circle around the other upright, coming again to the plank at an angle off the other rein. Richard encouraged us to circle as many times as needed to get the canter really active and responsive. Again priorities were in the straightness to the fence and allowing the horse to use his neck & our maintenance of the canter that we’d created throughout the circle exercise.

Once we’d achieve this, we jumped down through the whole exercise, a treble of short two strides, but with the emphasis on the horse working over his back, in a good forward canter, on the long and short sides prior to meeting the first element.
Richard’s main aim was to enable the horses to stay in rhythm & not to gain ground down it.  Riders needed to stay upright, as excessive folding encouraged the horses to hollow, rush, or gain too much distance. The horses were allowed to ‘back themselves up’ and good jumps followed.
All the time, reminding us that a good balanced canter gave us options, to shorten, or lengthen to the first fence. We repeated it, off both reins, with Richard helping us recognise what had happened in previous exercises and what needed to happened now to improve the initial approach. Looking for the attention, focus and relaxation, so encouraging the horse to become more rideable, allowing us to put more leg on, so we could more forwards to the fence.
As a finale, we jumped the last element off the track, as a larger oxer, the emphasis in changing nothing and letting our horses come in the rhythm and balance we’d previously worked on creating.

The usual amazingly tasty Wellington Farm Shop Buffet was on offer at lunch time, where we can have some ‘down time’ together to catch up, discuss how we felt we’d ridden and our horses had gone along with a bit of banter and this year included the giving of Valentines cards and mugs to Richard and David. Immediate recycling at its best, as both declared, that they hadn’t got their partners anything in advance!

These days are time well spent on us, for our horses and also for us as coaches.
A huge thank you to David Sheerin for organising the day & Richard Waygood for great coaching and tools for us to take away. I’m looking forward to the F&I camp at Wellington Riding, in June already.
There are some fabulous video clips of the day, that David took, on the F&I Facebook page, showing all of the exercises, thoughts and reflections, as well as those attached here.

Report by Sarah Thorne.

Click here for pdf of pole work diagram

Talland Training Day with Pammy Hutton FBHS

Monday 22nd January 2018

A great day was spent in the company of Pammy and the horses at Talland. This was a wonderful opportunity to either ride or observe and discuss what was happening in front of us. The riders had a great time with a fantastic variety of horses working from novice to Grand Prix and to have Pammy’s experienced eye to help with any situations that came up.

We were able to observe how the riders connected with their horses both physically and mentally and discuss authentically what was happening, as it happened. This day also allowed riders to get the feel of different horses in a situation which would be like an assessment session in the Fellowship exam. We were also able to come away with ideas that would allow you to think about your own training and how you are able to develop as a coach.

It was good to be reminded that you sometimes have to do something wrong to get it right and to see how the horses were able to tell us how the riders were riding.

Both the riders and spectators found the discussion relevant to the horses way of going and it was great to see the riders taking on the advice given and being able to develop their techniques with the horses.

A big thank you to Pammy and the team at Talland and to Judith and Jeremy for organising the day.

Sam Goss.