01 September 2008 14:27
I am 18 years old and have owned horses since I was six. I would really like to enter the Olympics in the future for show jumping or eventing – but how do I start towards this goal? Would I need sponsorship?
By Your Horse
YRC Instructor Alison Ritchie replies:
It’s lovely to hear of your enthusiasm for the sport. Many of us dream of competing at the Olympics, and what a dream to have! It takes hard work and dedication, and the right horses.
You need to start by competing regularly at local shows, build up to affiliated shows and then qualify for the bigger competitions. In each discipline you have competitions at area, regional, national and then international levels.
You need to qualify for each level by doing certain competitions. At the higher levels, you then have team selectors who choose riders and horses they feel will perform best on the team. It may take years to get to this level.
A good place to start is your local Pony Club. They have regular competitions and team events. This would give you a real taste of competition and what it is like to be on a team.
As for sponsorship – this is difficult to get. You have to be competing successfully to be noticed by a company who feels that you will be a good advertisement for their product. Many top riders go years without sponsorship, so this is certainly something for the future.
Competing is expensive, so you will need to save hard and work hard to be in with a chance.