F&I Training Day at Wellington Riding with Darrell Scaife FBHS, 4th October 2013

We are so lucky to have these training days at our disposal and I know we all found Darrell very clear and easy to understand and he produced amazing consistency in his methods throughout the day. His main ethos is ‘to give the horse a better ridden experience’ and as a trainer ‘to say the right thing at the right time’ – his Badminton tale ( too much would be lost in translation to repeat here ) had me chuckling for days.

Controlled forward movement with rhythm and bend in all paces was how we began the mornings jumping session. Using the rhythm to allow the horse to remain in balance and stay calm.

We had a collection of green horses, David Sheerin on a barely jumped 4 yr old, Ann Bostock on a unshown jumped point2pointer, Cheryl Bezants on an explosive bay 5yr old and Tasha De Grave on a coloured mare.  They began jumping by walking to a low upright with just a trot stride on the way in. Darrell was very careful to allow the horses to find their own balance and pat the ground and jump. All the horses quickly improved in their technique. They progressed to putting some dog legs and curved fences together and some lines were quite challenging! By using less rein and more guidance through looking, all the horses jumped exceptionally well and really did start to find their own balance. Read more F&I Training Day at Wellington Riding with Darrell Scaife FBHS, 4th October 2013

Report on visit to Emile Faurie’s Yard 

On Monday September 30th, Cherry Elvin kindly organised a morning for Members (and friends) to visit Emile Faurie’s Yard.

It was an action packed morning with Emile giving us the opportunity to observe the training of six different horses ranging for a lovely 3 year old to Topolino, his GP horse.

The first horse was a 3 year old that he bought as a foal and had been backed approximately 8 weeks.  It was great to see the confidence that this horse had whilst being handled, lunged and then ridden for a short time.

Emile then rode a six year old – Duke Ellington, in a double bridle and explained how he likes horses to start to work in these from this sort of age.  He worked on transitions especially to quicken this horse’s hindlegs and then through some lateral work towards canter pirouettes. Read more Report on visit to Emile Faurie’s Yard 

Blenheim Horse Trials Course Walk – September, 2013

A Small group attended a course walk at Blenheim CCI3* organised by the BHS F&I Association with course designer Eric Winters, who kindly gave his time free of charge. The money collected has been donated to the Kenneth Clawson Memorial Fund.

The aim was to walk the course and understand the philosophy behind designing a course of this level at this time in the eventing calendar coupled with  the constraints of running in a parkland environment catering for a commercially run venture.

Eric explained that before he thinks about the course he considers at what time of year the competition is taking place as this would reflect on the complexity of the questions asked, offering a slightly softer course at the beginning of the season compared to one at the latter.  Another is the issue of terrain and the ability to encompass the distance of the course explaining that although the site looks big the available land is quite restricted, citing to extend the course it would have to go through a wood and that has major cost implications. Read more Blenheim Horse Trials Course Walk – September, 2013

F & I Association, Burghley Course Walk: 6th August, 2013 

It’s a number of years since I have been to Burghley Horse Trials and the early start on a wet, dark Friday morning was not the most inspiring start to the day!! However, as we arrived the atmosphere was building and  as we waited by fence 2 in front of the beautiful Burghley House we all began to feel part of this special 4* event. This year the F&I Association were lucky enough to secure Eric Smiley (Irish Team rider and trainer of the Belgian team) for the course walk and we knew from the start we were in for an exceptional insight into the course from a rider, course designers and trainers perspective.

Eric began by describing the importance of mentality when walking the course and placed the riders into 3 categories…either as a rider who wants to enjoy the occasion, those who want to complete or those who want to be competitive and be in the top 30 finishers, this was very much the theme throughout the walk.

Eric clearly explained the relevance of the first five fences being a test for the horse and rider combination and ensuring that both were ready, both physically and mentally,  for the challenges which lay ahead over the 31 fences…how any mistake or a decision to take a long route early means less commitment for the rest of the course. Read more F & I Association, Burghley Course Walk: 6th August, 2013 

Report from Ladies Day at Hickstead written by Liz Eaton BHSI

The sun shone for Ladies day at the Royal International horse show, giving us the opportunity to get our posh frocks (and our legs!) out for an airing.

About twenty of us enjoyed the facilities of a box with a great view of the main arena. The group included our chairman Jillie Rogers and her guests, Tessa Martin–Bird FBHS and.Alison Le Fevre, head of the BHS training department.

Coffee was available during the morning although most people headed for the Pimms bar. A delicious lunch was served offering plenty of choice and ensuring we would be fuelled up for the lengthy (well it felt like it after an unnecessary second helping) course walk.

We were guided around the track for the Queen Elizabeth cup by Lucy Cabrita one of the team of course designers. She explained how and why the fences were built and the challenges they posed for the horses and riders. Many of us were surprised by how undulating the ground was and were in awe of the size of the fences.

Some super photos of the party and the fences have appeared on the F and I Facebook page and worth a giggle to see who forgot they were in a dress and not sat on a horse! (Err, that would be me)

The competition itself was really exciting culminating in a very tightly contested jump off. Shane Breen rode brilliantly to claim the victory giving Sam Champney-Warrener’s guest his second win in the sweepstake in three years. He asked not to be named in case of match fixing allegations.

The speed class which followed was no less entertaining as the final fence was right in front of our box.

A spot of retail therapy and a nice cup of tea provided a perfect end to the day.

If you didn’t come this time make it a priority next year. It’s a great opportunity for socialising with other members and a very good value day out.

Liz Eaton BHSI