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by Josie Ratter

This year Harry Ingram and I went to the Young Riders Training Camp at the ILPH Headquarters in Thetford. I have to say it was an experience and a half, not only the camping which is sleep depriving to say the least, and the weather which was tempremental, to the people who were nearly as sleep depriving as the tent!! On the first night there, the fish and chips arrived (as usual) ... late!! Sue had got lost en route to the fish and chip shop, but they were consumed greedily in the dark.

The facilities the ILPH have up at Hall Farm are tremendous, the indoor school (although incredibly scary for my horse, amongst others) was brilliant also the outdoor arena, and tracks around all the outside of the many fields. The stables were fantastic and had sliding doors, which as you can imagine took a while for some horses to get used to. There was rubber matting, shavings and haylage, and plenty of equipment.

We all had a lesson in which we were told our weaknesses and strengths, and many extremely informative talks on heart rate monitors, gps, rider fitness, training principles, rhythm and pace, a memorable talk on sports psychology and team work in which we literally tied ourselves in knots!

Our tack was checked and our horses had a full vetting including flexion tests. We will receive a training plan and results of the tests this week (a week or so after returning home - CPT). Our horses were looked over by the physio and had Bowen practised on them and us. We also had a person who could talk to horses on hand all week, which was truly fascinating.

On the last day we managed to get onto the gallops to test our horses paces and the speed they travelled in walk, trot and canter. I was lucky enough to have borrowed a Garmin, which had both a gps and a heart rate monitor, making it incredibly useful.

Unusually the food was actually very nice with plenty of ice cream. And on the last day we went Go-karting, our team came third much to Harry’s disappointment. As the ILPH had an open day, and we had to disappear for the day, we headed off to the Darley stud, where we were introduced to some of the most prominent stallions in the world, including Singspiel and Helling. The facilities they have there are mind blowing, and the tour around them was an eye opener we got lots of freebies.

All in all, it was a brilliant week and well worth the long journey down as I made so many new freinds and had such a brilliant time, and learned such a lot. I have new goals and targets to aim for, and a new respect for my little horse, who compared well with all the others.

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