Twenty two-year-old eventer Sophie Hall from Bromlow in Shropshire, has been chosen to represent the UK's leading equine bedding producer, Bedmax, through the 2017 season as the winner of their second national BEDMAX Young Rider Scholarship.
Open to riders in England, Scotland and Wales, aged 16–23, and competing in any of the three major disciplines; dressage, eventing and show jumping. The Young Rider Scholarship attracted more than 50 applications.
Olympic eventing medallist Karen Dixon was on the judging panel. “Sophie has a fantastic outgoing personality and will certainly be an excellent ambassador for BEDMAX," said Karen. "She will be competing across the disciplines and has the ambition to be a top event rider. In reverse, the BEDMAX Young Rider Scholarship is an excellent opportunity who will benefit Sophie hugely during her gap year, when she will be focusing on eventing."
As part of the Scholarship, BEDMAX will support Sophie throughout her training, education and competing this year. She'll also receive branded clothing, saddle cloths, and a rug for her leading horse, Gus, not to mention one year’s supply of BEDMAX shavings!
Sophie will also receive two free training sessions with an instructor of her choice and. in return, she'll represent BEDMAX in public, and contribute to their communication and educational programme on social media, helping to raise the awareness of the crucial part good bedding can play in horse health and well-being.
“I am absolutely over the moon to have been selected as the 2017 BEDMAX Young Rider.," said Sophie. "I began using BEDMAX back in May 2016 following recommendation from my vet, after my horse developed a cough, just weeks before the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton. I have seen first-hand the importance of bedding on horse health and I am delighted to be able to work with BEDMAX to help educate other young riders on how bedding can improve both horse health and performance.”
Commenting on the success of the Young Rider Scholarship, following its inaugural year in 2016, BEDMAX Managing Director, Tim Smalley said: “Our first Young Rider, Elspeth Jamieson, set a standard we wondered if we could match this year, but if the outstanding response we received again this year is any indication, British equestrianism undoubtedly has an extremely bright future. We're very grateful for the time and effort that so many young riders invested in applying, and we're delighted to find a candidate like Sophie. She is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about the welfare issues surrounding stabled horses, and I have no doubt she will be a fantastic ambassador for BEDMAX. We're very much looking forward to supporting her through the coming year.”
More about Sophie
A recent graduate of Durham University where she read Politics and French, Sophie began eventing Gus in 2013. Originally purchased as a 'weekend' horse she could enjoy whilst at university, Gus proved himself to be seriously capable when the pair finished 12th overall in the 2016 BE90 Mitsubishi Motors Cup, achieving a 29 dressage followed by a double clear. Sophie was also awarded the Event Horse Owners Award, which is presented to the highest placed Event Horse Owners Association member. Sophie and Gus continued their success throughout the 2016 season and are now working towards the 2017 Mitsubishi Motors Cup.
During her four years at Durham, Sophie was heavily involved with the university equine team competing nationally and in Europe. As Chairman of the GB Student Rider Squad she is currently organising the 2017 Student Riders Nations Cup which will take place in the UK for the first time in four years.