F & I Seminar – Hartpury Equine Veterinary and Therapy Centre

Well can I start by saying on behalf of everyone who attended WHAT A FANTASTIC DAY! It was great to see some new faces and also some new BHSI’s who had travelled a long way (across the water) to be with us.
The day started promptly even though the weather was not in favour of anyone who had a long journey to Hartpury. The turnout was excellent so we split into 2 groups for the first sessions. I joined a group with Tim Galer in the Treatment room where we talked about Strangles and observed him scoping a horse with a history of respiratory problems. It was interesting to hear that the Strangles vaccine is not as good as had been hoped; it was found that injections needed to be redone frequently if in a high risk area. However, the Animal Health Trust is working on a blood test for this highly contagious disease. Tim talked about how he would or wouldn’t treat diagnosed animals and the reasons behind this. The scoping was fascinating with the images clearly shown to everyone. There were questions from all of us throughout this session.
We then joined Kathryn Lankervis, to watch her put a horse through its paces on a treadmill. There was an ECG readout on the computer whilst another piece of equipment showed the speed and tilt of the treadmill. At 4.4 metres per second the horse was traveling as fast as Paula Radcliffe in a marathon, its fastest was 6 metres per second. The treadmill is great for repeated work as every variable can be kept the same as the last time it was used. Towards the end of this session a discussion took place within our group on Lactic Acid and on the use of Nasal Strips.

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F and I Annual Convention – Jumping with Di Lampard

We were all exceptionally lucky to have the chance to receive some expert coaching
from Di Lampard over the two days at Addington.
Each day consisted of five groups of the same horse and rider combinations to encourage continuity. Although each group was of a different level of horse experience the same message came across – improvement of the basics.
Di used a very useful warm up routine highlighting straightness and balance. Within the trot and the canter we worked on changing the gears up and down through the different stride lengths whilst maintaining the discipline of holding a line on the inside track, softness through our seats but an effective and influential upper body.
Di then talked a little about using pole work to improve the quality of the canter, rhythm and the rider’s ability to ride correct lines. The pole work exercise Di then used (quite forward related distances on straight and curving lines) showed up weaknesses in some of the horses’ canter work. This did improve over the course of the session along with the rider’s ability to ride positive and straight approaches.

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Annual Course – Dressage with Carl Hester 

Britain’s number one rider and trainer, Carl Hester, honoured us at our Annual Course at Addington this January.  What a treat it was for us all to have two days to gain an insight into Carl’s training methods and system. First on was myself riding Billy the stallion.  Suppleness was the main theme and Carl’s take was that a rider should be able to position the neck almost anywhere; this proved difficult for a number of us throughout the day.
Day two gave me a much more supple horse and we progressed to straightening exercises using shoulder-in and then changes. That was a laugh, as being a rather laid-back person my flying changes generally happen at some point within the next 10 seconds and Carl expected them within 1.  (And being male I find it difficult to concentrate on more than one thing at a time, therefore becoming rather challenged when faced with multiple instructions! Still I’m told it made entertaining viewing.) Summarising, my experience was inspirational with excellent training.

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