Some of Britain’s most promising young horses and their riders benefitted from a two-day training camp at Solihull Riding Club in the West Midlands (28-29 January) as part of their selection for The Howden Way Young Horse Academy.

The academy delivers a Young Horse Pathway programme giving support to the development and recognition of young horses competing within British Eventing (BE). The first recruits were selected last year, via two Young Horse Viewing and Development Days which took place in August and September.

Throughout the winter months the recruits have had access to remote support from some of the sport’s leading experts and they have now come together to attend the first Young Horse Academy camp. With a mixture of dressage and jumping sessions, the camp was an opportunity for riders to not only receive top coaching and advice but also to assess the progress of their horses alongside their equine peers.

“We had a look at the horses part way through the season last year [at the Young Horse Viewing and Development Days] and I think all credit is due to the riders, they’ve obviously gone away and done their homework and produced the horses really well,” said Kylie Roddy, who coached the showjumping sessions.

“The difference in them at this time of year to how we saw them last year has been massive and I think credit to the riders, credit to the programme, credit to all of the people that are attached to those horses and riders. The information that they gain from the experience that they get through The Howden Way Young Horse Academy, and how they then utilise it in the best possible way, means the horses have got the best possible chance for a good season.”

‘Brilliant scheme’

Charlotte Rowe from Devon attended the camp with seven-year-old British-bred gelding, Harthill Samba owned by Peter Appleford and John Bevan.

“It’s been a great day,” she said. “I think the jumping lessons have been invaluable. They’ve been a real kick-start for what we need in January with our season plan. It’s just helped us get going and we’re going to hit the floor running. I think we’re so lucky to be able to have access to this brilliant scheme.”

Jack Pinkney from Hampshire agreed. He attended the camp with seven-year-old gelding, Carpo Vivendi owned by Sara Brown.

“I think it’s fabulous, being able to have great trainers that you can go and work with and have lessons with,” he said. “On the jumping, I think it’s cool having horses the same age, doing the same kind of thing and having the same kind of base – it’s a fab way to go and compare and see if you’re fairly happy or need to up your game.”

As well as jumping sessions with Kylie Roddy, the group also enjoyed dressage sessions with Olympic eventing dressage coach Tracie Robinson.

“I think it’s amazing to be able to have access to a trainer like Tracie that I would never have had access to before,” said Ella Woodhead from Staffordshire, who attended with her own eightt-year-old gelding, Quarza. “She’s picked up on some faults that we’ve had for quite a while and she’s managed to correct them in 45 minutes, which no one else has ever done before. So, in that respect, it has been invaluable!”

“It was such a promising weekend,” added Justine Parker, BE head of training and development. “It is great to see such a brilliant cohort of riders and talented young horses who are all so positively engaged with the programme and thankful for the opportunities it’s providing for them.”

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