Junior and Pony riders benefit from Talent Academy training camp

Despite freezing temperatures and gusty winds, Junior and Pony riders enjoyed their first British Eventing training camp of 2024 last weekend (20-21 January) at the National Training Centre, Hothorpe. Coaches Mike Winter, Christie Wright, Philip Surl, Nikki Herbert and Tim Rogers gave flatwork and jumping sessions over two days.

Tabitha Taylor (right) and coach Mike Winter

Riders were also given saddle-fitting sessions with Ruth Wyatt, and strength and conditioning sessions with Neil Lewis.

Justine Parker, British Eventing’s Head of Training, said of the two-day camp: “It was brilliant to be able to get the Junior and Pony riders together early in the year and provide them with a wealth of learning opportunities to help assist in their development. They all took a huge amount away from the camp and we look forward to them being able to build on this at the next camp in February.”

The Talent Pathway is kindly supported by Sport England, The Howden Way, the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and the British Equestrian Federation, and provides riders with pre-season training in January and February as well as training during the season ahead of key events along with on-event support at targeted events.

Coco Lanni

Coach Christie Wright commented: “It’s nice for us as coaches to get to know the riders better, and at this time of year, to give them things to work on so they can be ready at the start of the season. It’s nice to build relationships with them before the season so that when we see them at the events, it’s easier to provide support for them. It’s useful having an idea of their level of training with a view to what they will be doing this year. The great thing about these two-day camps is that they get an opportunity to meet other riders and make friends, so that when they see them at events, they feel part of a team and it makes it more fun for them. Parents also have an opportunity to meet other parents.”

Rider Ella Howard said: “It was a really good weekend. I took my pony and a new horse with me and it was really good to get out with them both after the winter. The strength and conditioning session was really eye-opening as it showed me where my weaknesses are and how they impact my riding, and the saddle-fitting was useful too. I took lots away from the ridden sessions and have plenty of things to work on and change. I haven’t ridden under those coaches before, so it was good to get a different insight from different trainers. I’m hopefully doing the camp in February, too.”

Arabella Henderson

Mother of rider Arabella Henderson, Hannah Henderson, also commented: “For the children to be in small, targeted groups was very advantageous because they have similar aims and goals and get on very well. The coaching was fantastic – our own coach, Sarah Way, came up to watch and was really impressed with how the coaches’ training ran parallel with her own values. It’s a great opportunity for the children to ride in front of that calibre of coach and selectors, as it takes the pressure off them when they ride in front of them at events. Everyone was very happy and accommodating and we had a wonderful time.”

To find out more about the Talent Pathway, please click here

Thank you to Benjamin Clark Photography.

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