Huge Turnout for HSI Coaching and Breeding Conference 2014

  • 30 October 2014, 19:15

INTERNATIONAL show jumping legend Michel Robert was the principal speaker at a packed house at Cavan Equestrian Centre for the Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) National Coaching and Breeding Conference yesterday (Wednesday). Over 400 people were present to watch presentations from some of the industry’s top equestrian professionals.

Breeding specialist and former KWPN inspector Jacques Verkerk kicked off the day with an in depth analysis of the conformation of the performance horse. He explained the relationship between the conformation of the horse and its ability to perform at the highest level. He identified the conformational traits favourable to a show jumper and demonstrated linear profiling which is used during mare and stallion inspections.

France’s Michel Robert educated and entertained the crowd with three informative and enlightening practical sessions throughout the day. His message and coaching philosophy highlights the significance of the training scale and the establishment of the initial three elements as the foundation for all further work.

Working with Greg Broderick, Sophie Dalm and Capt. Michael Kelly, Michel worked the riders through simple exercises to establish rhythm, relaxation and contact in the horses’ way of going. This highlighted each rider’s different style of riding and the importance of balanced weight distribution.

British Equestrian Federation Lead Physiotherapist Andy Thomas worked with the riders off the horse and identified and discussed the various types of imbalance typically found in riders. He explained the importance of rider asymmetry and described the various exercises off the horse which can make a huge difference to riders.

Dr Emmeline Hill of Equinome gave a presentation on the genetics of equine performance, with particular reference to her world leading research on identification of the speed gene (myostatin) in TB race horses. She outlined how the identification of this gene has a very practical implication for breeders and producers to genetically test the young horse and devise a suitable training programme tailored to suit the particulate horse and maximise their genetic potential.

The newly qualified Level 2 coaches were presented with their certificates by Prof. Pat Wall as well as the Team coaches involved with all of the medal winners in 2014. Joan Keogh received an award for her lifelong contribution to the development of coaching. Ian Fearon was presented with the prestigious Coach of the Year Award for 2014 and received the perpetual Iris Kellet Memorial Plate.

Speaking about the conference, HSI Director of Breeding and Programmes Alison Corbally said:
“We were very lucky to have such high profile speakers with us at Cavan Equestrian Centre yesterday. Their huge knowledge and years of experience has made for a very informative and educational day for all. The huge turnout today highlights the thirst for knowledge in the industry. Congratulations to all who received awards today and a huge thank you must go to the demo riders, Sophie, Greg and Michael who were super throughout the day”.

Michel Robert (centre) with Suzanne Macken and Greg Broderick

Michel Robert (centre) with Suzanne Macken and Greg Broderick