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Inaugural BYRDS Symposium proves a hit

last updated on March 23, 2016 17:24

Inaugural BYRDS Symposium proves a hit

Last weekend, the inaugural British Young Riders Dressage Scheme (BYRDS) Symposium was held at Reaseheath College Equestrian Centre. The schedule, which was titled ‘Two Athletes – One Performance’, was packed-full of interactive presentations from a host of industry experts with topics ranging from sports science, rider psychology and training methods.

Janet Horswill, BD’s Director of BYRDS explained that the event came to fruition after a focus group which was held during the British Dressage (BD) Under-225s Championships in 2015. “The suggestion for an annual convention aimed at BYRDS riders and their parents came from our own members,” said Janet, who also chairs the BD technical committee responsible for the future development of BYRDS. “Dressage can be seen as elitist and we are keen to break down those barriers; not all our members own ‘dressage’ horses – we see a real variety of mounts which can range from Shetland ponies to warmbloods.”

Equine Physio Rachel Greetham, BSc (Hons) MCSP, HPC, Category A member ACPAT, demonstrated pole work exercises for improving core stability in the dressage horse. Click here for a short clip.

During the Symposium, Janet teamed up with Kerry Comb (BVMS, MRCVS) from Ashbrook Equine Hospital to offer advice about sourcing potential dressage horses. Using a combined approach of discussion and demonstration, they addressed aspects such as conformation, gait analysis and the importance of temperament.

“Reaseheath Equestrian Centre is such a fantastic facility and with the valued support of our sponsors – Ashbrook Equine Hospital – I would like to hope that this will become an annual event,” said Janet.



Dr Moira Lafferty
– a sports psychologist with over 15 years of experience working with equestrian athletes – ran seminars for riders and their parents where she discussed the benefits of using sports psychology. Moira suggested some techniques to help athletes manage their environment and maximise their performance.


Team GB farrier Ian Hughes, Dip WCF, discussed foot balance and how correct shoeing can aid performance and soundness.

Other highlights included a session led by Katie Copeland, a HCPC Registered Physiotherapist, who focused on the role of the pelvis in the correct alignment and effectiveness of a competition rider.

The Symposium concluded with test riding demonstrations and a discussion with List 1 Judge, Harry Payne, who offered advice about successful test riding from a judge’s perspective.



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