Training Day with Judy Harvey – 22nd June 2009

As a BHSII SM, aspiring to complete the BHSI Certificate, it was with interest and anticipation that I, as a guest observer, attended the training day at Great Horwood, Buckinghamshire.
The day provided a privileged opportunity to watch 7 training sessions, which introduced the audience to a variety of horses including; an ex  racehorse now enjoying a career change to dressage, eventers and pure dressage horses competing up to Grand Prix level. Their respective riders, who ranged from aspiring youngsters to seasoned campaigners, all desired that “competitive edge”, and sought to improve their performance under the watchful eye of Judy, who “coached” the first 6 sessions and then delighted us by riding Fitzcerraldo in the last session.
Overall the training sessions followed a structured pattern, with a segmented approach, interspersing “work periods” with “relaxation periods”, which gave the horses’ muscles a chance to stretch, whilst the riders reflected on their progression. Introductions and brief histories were provided at the start of each session, and then the riders were encouraged to continue their warming-up in their usual manner, with emphasis on looseness and relaxation, but with respect for the aids, both upwards and downwards, which must be answered by the horse. Having fully warmed up, riders were encouraged to demonstrate movements they required help with, prompting performance enhancing comments from Judy, or specific exercises designed by her to facilitate quality and accuracy. I particularly liked the use of the “medium” pace on the diagonal within a half-pass exercise. This helped to refresh the horses that had a tendency to become “shut down” within the half-pass movement.

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F & I Training Day with Nick Turner FBHS

Firstly a big thank you to Nick for spending his time with the 7 of us who attended this day. For us it was brilliant that more people were not there but a huge shame not to see more faces to take advantage of Nick’s knowledge and ideas. It was a very cold start to the day but an ongoing supply of tea and coffee made it easier.
Before the horses and riders got going we talked about the Scales of Training and whether they were always in the correct order for how we train. As the day progressed we realized that we worked out of sequence quite often.
First up was Ann and her mare to be put through their paces over a ‘roundabout’ exercise and then incorporating 2 single fences. Nick worked on getting Ann to keep a consistent rhythm to the jumps. The ‘roundabout’ really helped to focus this thought. Ann felt a big improvement and we saw a much softer, rhythmical horse.

Read more F & I Training Day with Nick Turner FBHS

Reports from Annual Course held on 7th & 8th January 2009

For the second year running Carl Hester kindly agreed to teach at the F and I course at Addington. Unfortunately last year I was unable to get a place on the clinic with Carl as the places were like gold-dust and I wasn’t quick enough off the mark to apply. That taught me a lesson! Thankfully though this year I got my application in much quicker and got a place.
A lot of the other course attendees this year were also on the course last year and had taken on board what Carl had had them do last year. This meant that this year they were showing much improvement and some horses looked completely different in their way of going from when they arrived last year.
Carl worked a lot on getting the horses to be supple and submissive in all aspects of their work, whether stretching the horse to soften it, or making sure the horse was reacting in front of the leg as and when required. These themes dominated everything he did and every horse and rider benefited.
There were a lot of useful techniques and insights to take away in all levels of training from the young horse up to the advanced horse. Some that I and others noted included:

Read more Reports from Annual Course held on 7th & 8th January 2009