Carl Hester training day on 9th August, 2011

First of all, thank you to Andrew for organising the day and the coffee on arrival. Carl showed us five horses ranging from 7yrs to 11yrs, he told us that his first important criteria is “has the horse got the ability to go to Grand Prix” – he likes a horse to be quick in mind and body as he wants to steer through a Grand Prix .
When you are the horseman that he is, he has the natural ability to understand a nervous horse, a naughty one and a horse with pure ability. He spends time working out what life style will suit them. All of them go out in the field everyday, hack and in the winter uses the horse walker.
A schooling day would start with a hack to loosen them, half an hour schooling, another hack to cool them down – between an hour and an hour and a half depending on the level of their work. He works them four times a week, hacks for two days and a day off.

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A brief report from Hickstead. 

A good day was enjoyed by the eleven F and I members and their guests at Hickstead on Ladies day. We had use of the BHS member’s box along side the main arena next to the water jump which made excellent viewing for the Queen Elizabeth Cup….. 13 feet of water followed by a 1m 50 set of planks!! We appreciated how difficult this line was to ride as we had a very informative course walk with BS course builder Steve Fazakerley and his measuring stick. Those oxers really were square.
The scurry driving as always had us making a lot of noise but this year the course didn’t run as close to our box, I can’t think why – especially as I saw at least 6 jugs of Pimms making its way to various tables!!
A big “thank you” to Annemarie Westwood who organized the day and issued us with VIP passes. Do try and join us next year it is a very good social day and a chance to catch up for a chat.
Written by Ann Bostock.

F & I Association Training Day with Judy Harvey. 22nd July 2011 

As BHSII’s with our E and C exams looming, it was with great interest and excitement that we attended the training day at Judy Harvey’s yard.
First was Amanda Holloway who was riding a welsh X. Judy’s emphasis was to work on rhythm, keeping the tempo slow enough to improve the quality of the trot and response to the leg. The session ended with an interesting exercise on improving the flying changes. Amanda started them on a serpentine and Judy asked her to ride horseshoe shaped loops to give a straighter line to encourage a clean change.
Next was Nikki Herbert on a teenage ex event horse.

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2011 Badminton XC Course Walk – Nick Turner FBHS

Walking the course with Nick Turner (previous Badminton competitor, now Brazilian Eventing Team Coach and Snr Selector for British Eventing) was a fantastic way to learn all about the challenges of this true four-star course.
The big message of the day from Nick was how critical it is that the rider has absolute understanding and control of the speed, power and straightness of the horse. If you misjudge or get to a fence at the wrong speed, on the wrong line or in the wrong balance the consequences can be serious.
Throughout the walk Nick talked about straightness and how crucial it is that riders can stay ‘on the correct line’ and keep control of the horse’s shoulders. Horses need to be trained to ‘lock on’ to fences and hold their line and they learn to jump between the flags, which can be a real bonus through a combination if the rider isn’t always in the right place. (This is also why the flags on the open corners of fences 15AB could really confuse the horses).

Read more 2011 Badminton XC Course Walk – Nick Turner FBHS

F and I Annual Course – January 2011, Addington

As always, Kenneth Clawson delivered an informative series of coaching sessions, encouraging all participants, riders and audience alike, to think and to participate.
Emphasis was on awareness of the horses’ regular stride patterns, together with control and accuracy. The Counting of Strides, and in particular the riders being challenged to be consistent in being able to ride defined numbers of strides on circles on each rein, caused some amusement!*
Although the same basic floor pattern was used for each group each day, Kenneth varied the exercises and the degree of difficulty to match each group of horses, and a good time was had by all… even those whose horses were very jolly about being out after the recent weather interruptions.
Group discussion and Question and Answer at the end of the sessions and the end of the two days further deepened our insights into Kenneth’s coaching techniques. Discussions included topics such as the complexities of working with different personalities and preferences, where Kenneth provided fascinating insights into what we’d seen in the sessions, and also commented on the preparation work behind the scenes for team occasions internationally. Much wisdom to take home for those lucky enough to stay to the end.
Many thanks Kenneth!
[*Editor’s note : Go check it out – can you ride 20 stride circles, then 16 stride circles, then (on more advanced horses) 12 and 8 stride circles, in canter, on each rein equally? It’s a great exercise and quite revealing … try using it for dressage riders too, for teaching counting!]
Report by Mandy Luesley