Robert Pickles training dates are now up on the calendar, applications for training forms are sent off with your newsletter either by post or email to all members. If you are interested in training and are not a member please download a membership application form and send off to our Secretary Sally Stevenson, the forms will then be sent to you. Places fill fast after dates are released so get your forms off early. If you wish to know if spaces are available contact our Training Officer Margaret Smart. All contact details are accessible from the Home Page. Training days are held regularly at Resparveth, Grampound Road and at Nance Cottage, St Ives.
Robert Pickles FBHS
· Fellow of the British Horse Society
· British Horse Society Instructor Certificate
· International Trainers Passport
· British Dressage Judge List 3
· National Vocations Qualification Internal Verifier – TDLB34
· National Vocational Qualification Assessor – TDLB 32 & 33
· City & Guilds Youth Trainers Award
– Level 3 Certificate in Tutoring in Sport
· First Aid at Work Certificate
Robert is fascinated by and passionate about horses – he is inspired by the great riders he has trained with – he takes great pride in both the horses and riders he has influenced.
Over the years he has found himself in many different situations and yards. He has successfully competed in most disciplines and on a wide variety of different breeds and types. His flexibility has been and still is, a great strength, and because of this wide ranging background he now finds his skills are sought after by a wide ranging clientele. He enjoys the challenge of teaching people from all walks of life, at all different levels and on a wide variety of types of horse.
His current clientèle range from the ages of 7 to 70. He coaches riders from Pony Club to Grand Prix. He is as happy to get a hairy cob moving forwards and freely as he is to get an advanced dressage horse to perfect its Freestyle Test. It should not be forgotten that he evented up to Intermediate level and enjoys teaching riders to jump as much as he enjoys inspiring their flatwork.
Robert is very rider focused. As a rider, trainer and judge he is used to looking at the rider from all these aspects. He has great empathy with riders and understands how one rider can easily perfect a movement where another one will find it extremely difficult to execute. Robert will concentrate on bringing out the best in an individual rider rather than drill them with exercises which ‘should be good for them’.
He is equally horse focused. As a rider, trainer and judge he is also used to looking at horses from many different perspectives . He has worked with so many different types and breeds over the years that he has great insight into the capability of each horse. He knows which buttons to push, how much to expect from them according to their age and experience and when to reward them for doing their best.
How would you sum up Robert? He is approachable, flexible, fun, competitive, enthusiastic, dedicated – he wants to see a result and will make every effort to get it. He wants to achieve high quality work – it does not have to be high school movements – it just has to be correct. If both horse and rider are smiling at the end of the lesson he knows he has achieved his aim.
“Lauder and I progressed a lot since I trained with Robert. He not only helped me develop Lauder’s strength and way of going, but he also helped me become a more positive rider with a better understanding of how to train a horse. His help has been invaluable and it was reflected in our scores at competition. Under Robert’s tuition, Lauder and I achieved my goal of scoring +70% at Advanced Medium, not once but twice”
Lee May Foster-Wilson
“Training with Robert is always a pleasure. He works on both the horse & rider, and always has new exercises to help improve the horses way of going. I highly recommend him.”
Duncan Whitney-Groom. Equine Competitions & Events Manager. Merrist Wood Campus. Guildford College.
“Vagebond VD Withoeve Z (affectionately known as George), being ridden by Charlie Samuel-Camps, gained over 70% in both Prelim tests on their first BD outing and were placed 1st and 2nd. I have had help from Robert with various horses since 2003 and he is always an inspiration. At the end of every lesson you feel confident to put into practice his advice and guidance to hopefully make progress ready for the next lesson. Having lost some confidence from not competing for several years, Robert kindly found George for me and he could not have chosen a more suitable horse – kind, quiet and with super paces at a reasonable price. Everyone I know benefits hugely from Robert’s teaching – I am pleased to run regular clinics for him and hope to carry on riding into my dotage with his help.”
Clare Deithrick BHSII
Clare is a List 3 judge and a listed BD and BYRDS (British Young Riders Dressage) Trainer, as well as being a British Horse Society Intermediate Instructor.
She attended the famous Talland School run by Pammy Hutton where she studied for her BHS exams and became interested in dressage to music after watching Trish Hammond work with Pammy on music routines. Pammy has always been excellent at choreography and Trish has compiled music for ‘Elite” riders, a good team to study under. Clare still sends CDs she has made to Trish for her opinion before a big event.
Clare has backed and produced all her own horses two from babies to Inter.II, she currently has five horses on her yard competing from Novice to PSG.
Clare is a freelance trainer based in North Cornwall. She enjoys teaching all levels and abilities and watching combinations improve.
TESSA Thorne has competed internationally at Grand Prix until she was diagnosed with MS five years ago. Now she no longer rides, but focuses on training riders and horses up to Grand Prix, and also has pupils who ride at 4* level three day eventing.
What made you first get involved in dressage?
I got involved with dressage when I went to Robert Hall’s Fulmer School of Equitation when I left school. I went to do my BHSAI and got bitten by the dressage bug. He was hugely influential in the 60s and 70s and his wife, Yoke, had great international success with Cavasano Caprice. He was one of about five stallions Robert brought back from The Spanish Riding School where he was trained. Robert trained top riders such as Jennie Loriston-Clarke, Trish Gardiner and Diana Mason.
Which horse changed your life and why?
I think the horse that really changed my life was a thoroughbred called Agreeable. He gave me huge opportunities in dressage. Unbelievably nervous and difficult to train, I think it was through him I learnt mental toughness and how important a sense of humour is in training! He was pure thoroughbred and competed internationally at Grand Prix at a time when TBs were scorned as being unable to move well enough. Latterly, he got 8s internationally for his extended trot and passage. From a wild unhandled two year old to Grand Prix dressage horse – much learning on the way!
Have you ever scored a perfect 10, and if so what for?
Yes I got a 10 for medium trot strides on Di Spirito when he was a slightly wayward but very lovely five year old. In fact he got 80% plus for that test. A very kind judge – obviously!
What do you look for in a dressage horse?
Good walk and canter especially. The trot is hugely improvable. Forward thinking and with a good engine! They have to enjoy it but I think good trainers make the work fun. The horse has to want to do it.
Which exercise do you use most often in training?
I probably use transitions more than any other exercise as they are the key to everything.
What was your first big win?
Probably winning the Advanced Medium regional final at West Wilts many years ago on Agreeable in the days before Open and Restricted! I was so excited that I had qualified for National Championships at Goodwood where he was 5th.
Have you had any mentors?
I’ve been lucky enough to have many mentors – Ferdi Eilberg, Nicole Uphoff, Trisha Gardner, Bill Noble, Stephen Clarke, Michele Assouline. They’ve all taught me so much over the years, I quote them all the time.
What’s your next goal?
Due to being diagnosed with MS seven years ago I no longer ride so I want to train as many riders as possible to Grand Prix.
Tell us about your first pony
My first pony was a huge unbroken ,piebald 2 year old! I couldn’t ride him of course so I used to lead him everywhere like a dog. I was so excited when my father finally agreed to me having an equine I went a got the first one I could -£60 well spent I thought. Soon got fed up with not riding and swapped him for another wild 14.2 who I called Winnie the Pooh. He went on to be a good jumper and we had lots of fun bombing about the Yorkshire moors!
What has dressage taught you?
Dressage has taught me many things. I’m not a patient person until it comes to training horses and then I seem to have a huge amount. I’ve also learned that almost everything is fixable, a sense of humour, sheer persistence, routine, attention to detail without being fussy and that I’ve been very lucky to have been able to earn a living doing something I love.