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Nearly a thousand delegates attended The British Horse Society’s International Conventions, held across two venues, for six days in total. With top speakers, including: Christoph Hess, Chris Bartle FBHS, Dr Andrew McLean, Michael Peace, Sam York FBHS, Russell McKechnie-Guire and Charlie Unwin. 

The Conventions celebrated 70 years of the BHS, joining the Coaching Convention with the Safety and Welfare Conferences for a bigger convention. 

The International Conventions were held from the 26 – 28 March at Hartpury College and 16 – 18 April at Myerscough College. Keep your eyes out for news on the 2019 Conventions. 

Alex Copeland, Director of Education at The British Horse Society, said: “Both conventions were a huge success and it has been fantastic to gather so many riders, coaches, industry experts and horse-owners to share best practice and the latest research. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and it has been fantastic to be able to join together our work in education, welfare, safety and access!”

 Each day focused on a different theme: coaching the rider, training the horse and welfare of the horse and safety of the rider: 

 Christoph Hess demonstrated ‘training the rider into the contact’ and using aids to advance the training of the horse. He said: “to help the balance of the horse and rider, I recommend you regularly train with a loose contact and light”. 

 Chris Bartle FBHS discussed the introduction of the use of grids for training the rider and the horse and a group session focused on training horses to jump technical fences. Chris recommends that to help the balance of the horse and rider, you regularly train with a loose contact and light seat. 

 Sam York FBHS revealed how latest developments in technology can aid the rider to achieve the best performance for the horse. Sam used eye tracking equipment, which found that if you look at the bottom of the fence, it is more likely that you will end up there!

 Dr Andrew Mclean a specialist in equine learning and training psychology spoke about the first principles of horse training. Andrew said: “I have been totally blown away and impressed to hear what The British Horse Society is doing to improve the welfare of horses.” 

 Sports psychologist Charlie Unwin explored solutions for calming rider’s nerves, he said: “it’s not surprise that confidence is the biggest predicator in a competition environment”. Speaking at the convention, Charlie said: “This is a new and exciting era for the BHS and it’s great to be a part of it”. 

 Michael Peace discussed desensitation, he said: “Remember horses are flight animals. Get the horse to stop, consider and think through the problem. Don’t rush them”. 

 Russell McKechnie-Guire spoke about the facts which can affect the welfare and performance of the horse

 Catherine Morris, The Society of Master Saddlers “This has been a fantastic opportunity to discuss the importance of correct tack fit with so many BHS Coaches and Horse owners. By working together we can all make a difference to equine welfare.”