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Cast your vote for the BHS Instructor of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award

6 June 2014

This year, we’re introducing a new award to recognise the long-standing achievements of some of our most gifted instructors and coaches.

The British Horse Society Instructor of the Year, Lifetime Achievement Award, will be presented to an individual who has dedicated their career to benefitting the horse and rider, consistently going the extra mile in helping riders to reach their goals.

British Horse Society qualifications are recognised and revered around the world and we are incredibly proud of the talented individuals that represent us.

From new instructors starting out in their careers through to our esteemed team of Fellows, everyone has their part to play in increasing the enjoyment that people get from riding and, most importantly, creating better lives for horses.

Our Qualifications and Training committee selected a short list of six outstanding Instructors before a public vote closed in August.

Read our shortlist, then check back regularly to see who claims this exciting new title.

Gill WatsonGill Watson FBHS 

Key achievements: trained the British Junior and Young Rider eventing teams to win 96 medals over her 30 years' tenure
Main discipline: eventing
Lessons per week: training six days per week
Where: wherever she is needed but mainly in this country. 

What’s the best thing about being an instructor?
I think the point of being an instructor is trying to get across in quite a simple way how to achieve a good result. If you’re fairly competitive and you’re ambitious for people – and you want riding education to be correct and successful – then it can be very rewarding.  

What do you feel is the biggest impact that you’ve made throughout your teaching career?
I was very lucky at quite a young age to be asked to take on training the British eventing juniors and then the young rider teams and what I hope is that I made an impact on those teams over many years - learning from them as well as teaching them to sort of up my game as the years progressed and the standard level was raised.

From what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Follow your dream, because that’s what I wanted to do aged 18. I think it’s important to go away and get an education and see another side of life, whether you go to university or whatever you do, but then if you’re still motivated stick to what you really want to do.

What would you still like to achieve?
I’m still very keen on the teaching. I still get a lot out of what I’m doing and I’m still ambitious for people, so I hope I will continue to help people from all levels up to the top level and have some little input where I can.

Yogi BreisnerYogi Breisner FBHS

Key achievements: World Class Performance Manager and Chef d'Equipe to the British Eventing team since 2000, enjoying many medal successes at Olympics, European Championships and World Equestrian Games. Recipient of the Queen’s Award for Outstanding Services to Equestrianism.
Main discipline: eventing
Lessons per week: 50-60
Where: everywhere! Yogi does 50,000 miles a year in the car and travels internationally for competitions.

What’s the best thing about being an instructor?
I think if you have the aptitude for it, it is very rewarding. Every time you see horses and riders develop and start achieving, whichever level it is at, it can be very, very satisfying.  

What do you feel is the biggest impact that you’ve made throughout your teaching career?
That’s a difficult one to answer because it’s really for other people to answer! With any of the riders, the biggest accolade that they can give to you is that they want to have help from you again. The fact that they want to have help or assistance from you again means that they must like what you do and be satisfied with what you’re doing.

From what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
To give yourself as wide a base of knowledge as possible. In other words, don’t just get stuck in your own little world or your own discipline. Study what goes on, not just in the equestrian world but outside the equestrian world, and then build a system that suits your own personality and what you are doing around the knowledge that you’ve gained from studying the things all around you.

What would you still like to achieve?
This year the aim is being successful with the eventing team at the World Equestrian Games and then over the next few years building towards the Olympics in Rio and getting together as good a team as we possibly can.

Trish GardinerTrish Gardiner FBHS 

Key achievements: a regular member of the British Dressage team for 13 years between 1977 and 1990 and a List 1 judge. She has had particular success working with the Thoroughbred breed.
Key disciplines: dressage
Lessons per week: 10-15 on average but can be up to 30
Where: anywhere in the UK.

What’s the best thing about being an instructor?
Seeing people reach their goals. Helping people to reach their goals in competition or achieve what sometimes they didn’t think was possible, like doing flying changes when they didn’t think they ever would or maybe getting their horse to piaffe, is very exciting – you share their excitement and enjoyment.  

What do you feel is the biggest impact that you’ve made throughout your teaching career?
I’ve always specialised in working with thoroughbreds and I think I’ve helped people an awful lot with difficult and sensitive horses. I feel I’ve helped people to understand how to train them.

From what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
They’ve got to be prepared to work very hard and to always want to do a little bit better. You can never stop learning. There are many different paths to follow and some are better than others – you’ve just got to find out what suits you and what suits your horse and always reward your horse when it’s done well. Find your own path!

What would you still like to achieve?
I’m still riding a little bit – I hack out Valegro, which is wonderful – and I’m still enjoying teaching and helping people of any standard from novice to Grand Prix. I thought I was sort of cutting down and retiring but I still have as much teaching as I could possibly cope with!  

Judy HarveyJudy Harvey FBHS 

Key achievements: international competition success in dressage and training Charlotte Dujardin, Ruth Edge and other international riders.
Key disciplines: dressage
Lessons per week: 30-40
Where: UK, USA, Australia and anywhere else with great weather!

What’s the best thing about being an instructor?
The rewards are seeing small amounts of progress being made, whatever the level. Post-competition texts and phone calls with triumphant reports of personal goals achieved are wonderful to receive.

What do you feel is the biggest impact that you’ve made throughout your teaching career?
Hard for me to say. I hope it is that I have given riders the confidence that they can succeed if they apply themselves with hard work and dedication and that they do not need to have come from a privileged background.

From what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
Take every opportunity that presents itself and listen and learn.

What would you still like to achieve?
I enjoy doing commentary for the BBC and I am also doing some symposiums with Charlotte Dujardin, which are great fun.

Chris BartleChris Bartle FBHS

Key achievements: National Coach to the German Olympic Three Day Event Team, leading the team to Team and Individual Gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Competed internationally in both Dressage and Three Day Eventing.
Main discipline: eventing
Lessons per week: around 70 when he’s at the Yorkshire Riding Centre doing clinics
Where: Yorkshire Riding Centre or Germany with the team. 

What’s the best thing about being an instructor?
I get satisfaction from seeing any of my pupils make progress and achieve their goals, whether they are beginners learning to ride – which I’ve trained a lot of - or whether they’re top level riders going to ride in the Olympics. Yes of course the Olympics gets a higher profile but one can also get satisfaction with a talented beginner that makes a lot of progress.

What do you feel is the biggest impact that you’ve made throughout your teaching career?
It would have to be the development of the German eventing team – I’ve been involved with them since 2001 – and the successes that I’ve had with them.

From what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I would say the satisfaction that I’ve got through coaching and training. It’s the interest in the detail, not just giving what I call the clichés of training but to try and understand the inner workings of man and beast in order to be able to solve problems that arise by thinking sometimes out of the box.

What would you still like to achieve?
Next up in terms of my role of coach to the German team is the World Equestrian Games in Normandy at the end of August. Success for my private pupils who are competing nationally – every weekend is a highlight really.

Jennie Loriston-ClarkeJennie Loriston-Clarke MBE FBHS 

Key achievements:  one of the most influential dressage riders, judges and breeders in the history of the sport in this country. MBE, a member of The British Horse Society Hall of Fame and the first ever recipient of the Queen’s Award for Outstanding Services to Equestrianism
Main discipline: dressage
Lessons per week: a few per week
Where: at home.

What’s the best thing about being an instructor?
I think the BHS system has given me a good all-round knowledge because I’ve had to read, learn and listen. Ok, I’d ridden at the Olympics but that doesn’t mean to say I could teach, and actually going to the courses on the BHS exam system taught me an awful lot.

What do you feel is the biggest impact that you’ve made throughout your teaching career?
I have been an all-round rider and experienced a lot of things. OK, I excelled in dressage but I loved eventing, showjumping, point-to-pointing, showing and things as well, so I’ve got an all-round knowledge of a lot of disciplines which has been so fascinating and I can now use that to help eventers, dressage riders, pony riders – all sorts! I like to help educate and help people not fall in to the same pitfalls I did when I was younger.

From what you know now, what advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?
I think we have to be very careful in this modern age that we don’t get people who are not sharp enough in their brains and bodies to work with horses because they’re too much tied up with computers, phones, and technology. They’re not always aware of what’s going on around them enough and they have to be really sharp in their minds and bodies to work with horses.

What would you still like to achieve?
Well, I’m retired from Dressage Judging now but I’m still continuing to be a steward for both dressage and eventing and also a technical delegate for dressage, so that keeps me involved in the sport, which is fun. 

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