ABRS 63rd AGM & Conference

There was a good turn-out at Newmarket on Oct 16th and 17th for the ABRS 63rd AGM and Conference, with members coming from as far away as County Durham, the Isle of Wight and Portugal.

The three speakers on Monday morning covered animal health, riding school inspections, rural mortgages and funding possibilities and Anna Hall’s presentation from the BEF was on retaining customers and assessing their experience at your school.  This is of great interest to members and she has offered to train a couple of ABRS members who can then deliver it to more members, in regional groups.In the afternoon, we had an extremely informative and interesting tour of the Animal Health Trust facilities, which is the only veterinary facility in Europe with a high-field MRI scanner for horses, along with state-of-the-art standing MRI equipment, digital X-ray and scintigraphy. We had a talk from Sue Dyson on rider weight/ horse calculations and on whether musculoskeletal pain can be determined from facial expressions of a ridden horse, both fascinating subjects for the riding school proprietor.

After a really great day, a large party of ABRS members, and their partners, sat down to an excellent three-course dinner in the plush setting of the Bedford Lodge Hotel in Newmarket.   The Dinner offered a suitable setting for Julian Marczak, our President, to make awards that included:

Lauren Craggs – ABRS Golden Spur Winner, Finchale View Riding School
Susan Mordey – ABRS Golden Spur Award Nominating School, Finchale View Riding School
Tess Hardy MBE– Pakefield Riding School
Minette Rice-Edwards – ABRS Advanced Teaching Award

Our guest speaker for the evening was John Berry, who, after a short-lived career as an amateur jump jockey, has been training racehorses at Beverley House Stables in Newmarket since 1997.  John is also a keen journalist, writing a weekly international racing column for Australia's leading racing paper, the Winning Post, as well as being a regular guest on ‘At The Races’.  Finally, John has just completed a year as the Mayor of Newmarket.  John outlined to Dinner Guests how Newmarket has grown and developed over the last 400 years to become the home and heart of horse racing.  John was an absolutely engaging and knowledgeable speaker, who left no one in doubt of his love of town and of racing.

Tuesday saw several members forsaking a prolonged breakfast to watch the horses training on Warren Hill, followed by a visit to the Museum of Horseracing in the Town.  This is also the base for RoR and we were given a brief tour and explanation of what they do.  To finish off the second day we then moved to Old Tiger Stables where we spent some time and discussion on the principles and standards required to lunge safely and correctly and on the requirements for giving a safe lunge lesson suitable for our average weekly rider.  Our thanks go to Lorraine Webster and her staff for welcoming us and providing the guinea pigs and horses – and very welcome cup of tea before we all departed after a busy and interesting two days.

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