BHS Somerset and Dorset ran their first BHS Member's Camp at Chard Equestrian from 10 - 12 June 2016 where 30 horses and riders enjoyed a weekend of mounted and dismounted instruction and fun.
At midday on the first day, the participants started to arrive and horses were passport checked and shown to the stables. There was a quick welcome briefing to all at 1.30pm, then tacking up and riding. First rides were a little tense and excitable, but gave the instructors a good opportunity to asses everyone. The day was topped off with a delicious and deserving dinner and the evening finished with a quiz. Everyone was in high spirits and one or two were even a little merry!
Day two saw groups show jumping and some went on the cross country course. With the jumps starting as poles and logs on the floor working up in height to 90cms, there really was something for everyone and small and encouraging was certainly the way forward for everyone. One group focused more on flatwork over poles, but some actually left the ground too.
Off of the horses, Jon Pitts and Gemma Barry BHSI had the groups working on their balance and core strengthening, finishing with some fall training. Quite an amusing sight, especially the first groups who perhaps hadn’t considered the fact they might be doing roly polies the next morning, when they had been having a glass or two the night before!
The Stables Equine Veterinary practice and Dengie were on site in the afternoon offering free weighbridge and nutrition advice as well as
offering and discussing worm counts with the members.
Everyone was glad of a slightly quieter night and the mood was bubbly, but a little less excitable then the first night.
Sunday definitely felt like people were getting tired and the last day had arrived. Good sessions with the instructors in the morning was followed by the chance to put everything into practice in the afternoon in a competition. Afternoon tea and cakes preceded the prize giving before everyone headed home. Everyone was really pleased with what they had accomplished and were amazed at their improvement in just a few days.
Some of the feedback from our Facebook page:
"Thank you ALL so much for letting me attend ...I had a brilliant weekend ...haven't laughed so much for a long time, what a fab group you are."
"Thank you for a fab weekend."
"Fantastic weekend thank you so much."
"Buzzing after my weekend with you all.Great experience and I want to do it all over again."
"Thank you to Charlie and everyone for organising a great, busy weekend. Hope everyone is settled back home with a glass of something cold!"
"Thanks so much for such a fab weekend. It was my first ever camp and I think I'm hooked. Can't express how grateful I am for you guys all taking the time to organise and run this and I can't wait for your next one (please let me come). Everyone was so lovely and I've learnt so much from my instructor - my stomach muscles will remember her for a long time."
"Thank you all for such a lovely weekend, Aleysha has come on so much over the three days, Ali was a fantastic instructor."
"Thank you all so much for making my first ever camp such fun and giving me the confidence to do a test. No stopping me now!"
"Thank you - thank you i had a WONDERFULL time - even though I dropped my brekky! Everything was just PERFECTO."
"Thank you for a FAB weekend. Really enjoyed it and it was great to have the expertise of Julie Hayes available to us. Roll on the next one."
"Great weekend thanks to everyone being the planning and instructing will definitely be back next year!"
"Thank you all. Lovely weekend. Learnt loads."
"Thank you all so much for a brilliant weekend, can't wait for the next one."
"Great weekend - amazed at what we achieved and lots of fun - thank you all involved."
"Thank you for a lovely weekend."
"Thank you for all your hard work. I learnt loads, laughed lots and ache in places I forgot existed."
The BHS would like to thank members of the BHS Somerset and Dorset Committees for organising this camp.
Thank you also to our instructors: Alison Meek BHSI, Lucie Sparks BHSAI, Holly Wells BHSII, Pip Bailey BHSI and Julie Hayes BHSII.
Thank you to our photographer,Tanzy Lee, who gave up his weekend to capture as many riders and horses as he could. He donated all of his photos to the BHS and the riders who took part and published over 1300 photos for everyone to access and print.