Report from the Judy Harvey Training Day

The training day with Judy Harvey was very well attended considering the weather!!  Judy and her husband Malcolm landed back from the States on Sunday afternoon and drove straight to the yard and put up two gazeebos after listening to the weather forecast which for once was correct.

Monday morning dawned……… very wet. As we all know riding is an outdoor sport and there was not one complaint as Ann on two horses, Gemma and Nikki got wet when they rode.

Nikki’s session seemed to go on for quite a long time and when Judy came to ride the sun came out……. well planned!

It was good to see some new faces at this day with some having made a 4 hour journey to be there.

As always Judy was very clear in the basic way of going with all the riders and horses using exercises to suit the very different types .

She then carried this on in her own riding with the harmony being at the forefront.

We then had two brave people who coached Judy’s students and were given useful, constructive feedback.

Many thanks as always to Judy, her staff and Malcolm

Report by Ann Bostock BHSI

Report from a training day in Scotland with Patrick Print FBHS



Monday 11 May 2015

It is many years since the F & I Association held anything in Scotland so it is not surprising that the Scottish membership has dwindled.  It was great therefore that Erik Mackechnie in conjunction with BHS Scotland has given it a kick start to set it in motion again.

Patrick Print FBHS very kindly agreed to host the day and Gail Smith very generously offered the use of her wonderful indoor arena in order for the group to spend the day watching some great riders and horses go through their paces.  Georgia Burns on her young horse Ralph demonstrated novice level dressage work and the day progressed through the levels.  Georgia also rode an elementary horse called Rolex on which Patrick worked on her ability to develop her suppleness and position to encourage the horse to move more under her seat particularly in the canter. The spectators were encouraged to get involved and Patrick invited suggestions and comments with regard to the way the horse was going.  With our select group of coaches there was great interaction and everyone got involved discussing the issues which arose with each horse and rider.  It was great to share ideas and interesting that on the whole everyone was “singing off the same hymn sheet” when it came to trying to improve the partnerships.

Patrick’s quiet sympathetic approach was ideal for the competition horses and the riders were very generous and open minded in their willingness to join in and experiment with the suggestions offered. Our other riders were Olivia Wilmot on Sting a novice level BE horse and a 3* horse called Zebedee who was going to compete at Chatsworth this coming weekend.  It was interesting to see how Patrick worked with this latter combination giving great consideration to the fact that Olivia was about to compete and therefore did not want to do anything to upset the partnership but just offer some helpful pointers.  Deborah Christie rode her advanced medium horse Vriend which had a few old behavioural issues.  Deborah was very tactful in her handling of this horse and Patrick demonstrated how to work with more complicated horses without causing further problems.  Deborah also rode a Grand Prix horse called Leander.   Obviously riders of this calibre and experience have their own ideas and knowledge as well as their own regular coaches so it was very much appreciated that they agreed to participate and Patrick demonstrated exceptionally well how to work with higher level competition riders and develop that all important rapport.

Over lunch it was a lovely opportunity to catch up with old friends and the concensus of opinion was that the day had been a great success.  It was good to be able to attend a training day that was aimed at higher level coaches and coaching skills and was thoroughly worthwhile attending.  Future events are sure to be supported as this group left very enthusiastic and keen to do more.

Report written by Diana Zajda BHSI

Badminton Course Walk Report

Badminton for me started with David (my son) riding the Guinea Pig Test on Thursday morning. Despite wayward changes, we were very pleased with the test – and what a fantastic experience to be able to trot down THAT center line…! I was therefore already “in Badminton mode” so it was fantastic for me to have the opportunity to walk this years course with Nick Turner – already thinking ahead to next year!

Nick started off stating that he likes to walk “quickly” – but only later on, as we tried to get back to the finish by a certain time, did some of the large party of members and friends realise just how fast “quickly” can be!

Nick explained that although the course had technical questions – it is not always about walking “strides” as the inevitable always happens – but it is all about staying on a line in the right gear. Nick’s positive approach really came across and as he talked about the fences – you could feel him riding them in his head – so taking a realistic view of both what a rider would think – and what the horse could do.

As we approached one of the first difficult combinations – the little “gems” of info started. “Ride 2 strides with your legs and 3 strides with your body” was the answer for the “long 2” from log to skinny down the bank. Perfect sense. As we “galloped on” “commit and engage rather than commit and leave open” to a difficult fence certainly kept the feeling of keeping the horse together and between the leg and rein. Getting to the later part of the course “Do not let your mind take over from the feeling” certainly brought home the difficulty of the horses reactions becoming “numbed” towards the latter part of the course.

“Agricultural aids” were discussed – as sometimes necessary to find the appropriate changes of gear required as the horse tires. Even riding towards the finish – making sure you do not “slow up” and start “patting” too early, when extra “seconds” taken can cost prize money when results are so close at this higher level.

As we all“trotted” towards the end of the course I really felt I had gained an insight into the benefits the Irish Teams must have from a knowledgeable Trainer with a positive approach – but also with a “keep it simple” strategy.

The general feeling was that the course was definitely not as stiff as last year – with both technical demands and size of fences being slightly lessened. This was confirmed to me when I was lucky enough to listen to Giuseppe della Chese, (course designer) talking about last years course being a bit “too tasty” and therefore this years was a little less so. He also gave reasons for not using some of the classics this year – i.e. no Vicarage Vee or Irish Bank – but said that when the course changes direction again they will probably return. He also reminded us that if we wish to have new fences – some of the old ones have to be left out.

A great Badminton – with a great course walk. I hope that Nick will be back to walk it all again with us in 2016 e walk – even if we do all have to “trot”!

Report by Maggie Doel BHSI

Report from Ballindenisk & Punchestown

Racing at PunchestownThe Fellows and Instructors Association was well represented in Ireland during April.  Ballindenisk International Horse Trials were held in County Cork by kind permission of the Fell family.  It had FEI classes from 1* to 3* including a Nations Cup team competition. Nick Turner FBHS was there as the Irish team manager, Anne Marie Taylor FBHS had a pupil in the 3* class and was seen training and supporting him.  Kylie Roddy BHSI had a successful weekend finishing 2nd in the CCI 1* with Guzzi and in the top half of the large CICO3* class.  It was very amusing that several of Kylie’s supporters can lip read because whilst she was show jumping the word which popped out certainly wasn’t fiddlesticks!!!!  Jillie Rogers BHSI our chairman, was seen to have writer’s cramp when scribing for the 52 strong CICO3* class for Ground Jury member Ann Bostock BHSI.  The event also saw Ireland’s F and I rep Faith Ponsonby BHSI grooming/helping her son in law who was competing. Jim Newsam rode Magennis, bred and produced by wife Emma, and for Faith, Kilcooley Michael, both doing lovely clears cross country.

The Tuesday after Ballindenisk was the first day of the Punchestown NH Festival.  Faith was amazing in producing a picnic for at least 30 people which was held on sloping ground before racing commenced.  Jillie made a fantastic cheesecake for which the recipe involves teaching 3 lessons and adding ingredients as pupils change over!! Ann took wine (most important) and very enjoyable evening was had with excellent racing.

It is good to see that our members are so versatile and active in the equestrian industry.

Report on ‘Cross Country Matters’ at Ballylanigan House  

A very successful evening was organised by Faith Ponsonby BHSI, Irish Representative, and Jillie Rogers BHSI Chairman of the Association of Fellows and Instructors of the British Horse Society on 7th April.

“Cross Country Matters” was the topic delivered to a full house at Ballylanigan House Mullinahone Co Tipperary by kind permission of Faith and Peter Ponsonby

The evening was delivered by William Micklem an International Coach and Fellow of the BHS.  He reminded us that simplicity and fun are key elements when coaching, and that horses are not designed to be “fenced in.” The importance of the three ‘F’s of Forward, Feel and Fifth leg training was emphasized    He explained the importance of riding across different terrains to encourage horses to develop self- carriage and learn to find this “fifth leg”, thereby  making preservation between horse and rider more instinctive,and helping to develop a safer partnership across country. The important link between dressage, show jumping and cross-country training was also highlighted. William emphasized the importance of the development of a balanced secure position with the “rider’s centre of mass being over the horse’s centre of mass” and which could be adapted over a variety of fences and terrain. This was very effectively delivered in his presentation and in the excellent handouts provided to all on the evening

After some refreshments the discussion was complimented by Peter Ponsonby FEI TD, and an authority in cross country course building.  Peter gave us valuable tips and advice on the safe construction and securing of cross country jumps and the use of frangible pins. He reminded us that we should be making the most of our local cross country facilities, that are available, but also making us aware that the cross country jump needs to be respected, as should our horses.

The evening highlighted that the coach is the strongest link in the enjoyment of our sport, and is key in improving communication between horse and rider.

Report written by Bridgette McCarthy BHSII and Alison Handle BHSAI Grennan College Co. Kilkenny

Event date 7th April 2015