British Eventing’s first Talent Pathway training camp of the year, held at Home Farm, Hothorpe on 13-14 January 2024, was hailed a success by both the riders and trainers who attended.
The training camp was aimed at Tier 1 riders (athletes aged U28 who are transitioning out of Young Riders and capable of achieving a Nations Cup selection), Tier 2 riders (athletes aged 12-21 who sit in the medal zone) and Tier 3 riders (Youth Riders transitioning out of age groups along with supporting Pony, Junior and Young Rider combinations aiming for European Championships). The camp saw coaches Tracie Robinson, Emma Winter and Philip Surl give flatwork and jumping sessions over two days.
Riders were also given sport psychology sessions with Sally McGinn, and strength and conditioning sessions with Hannah Clarke, alongside evening talks.
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.
Justine Parker, British Eventing’s Head of Training said of the two-day camp: “The weekend encompassed everything we are trying to achieve via the Talent Pathway – it provided a fantastic learning opportunity with access to expert coaches and practitioners across a range of topics and skill sets required to help these athletes achieve their aims.
“Furthermore, it provided a brilliant environment through which athletes could share their learning and experiences amongst the cohort. It was very exciting to see the calibre of young talent, and we look forward to working with this fantastic cohort throughout the year.”
British Eventing coach Emma Winter said: “It was a brilliant two days with a great group of riders who had been matched well into groups. The whole thing ran exceptionally smoothly; the riders each had 45mins slots and that was a good amount of time to get to know them. Having them for the two days was great as I was able to carry on from the first day into the second day. It is nice to work with up-and-coming riders who are proven but still young and not got tonnes of experience, and give them feedback about the longevity of the production of their horses. They had a really positive attitude and it was great to see a showcase of the talent coming through. It’s fantastic that we have young riders of that standard riding horses of that quality.”
The camp was well-received by riders and parents, too.
“It was brilliant and I really enjoyed it,” commented Tier 1 rider Mollie Summerland. “Being able to take a number of horses who each got so much out of it, made the long journey to get there worthwhile. I took a 4* horse, a new stallion, a novice-level horse and a dressage horse and they all benefitted from great sessions. We had a talk one evening about bridging the gap between young riders and seniors, and how to make the move less daunting, which was brilliant. The whole idea behind the Talent Pathway is fantastic because it gives riders so much support during what can be quite an overwhelming period for young riders moving into seniors. It was a great opportunity to work horses in a different environment under great coaches. We’re going to the February camp and will be taking nine horses.”
“I thought it was fantastic,” said rider Alice Casburn who took her top horse Topspin alongside two up and coming younger horses. “The atmosphere was brilliant and everyone was very sociable. Sometimes, camps can be quite pressurised, but this was well-organised and relaxed so we were all able to have a great time as well as learn lots. It was great that we could bring as many horses as we wanted. All my sessions were really beneficial – my flat lesson with Tracie [Robinson] was incredible and Philip [Surl] was brilliant with the young horses. With Topspin, I worked on suppleness and his flying changes, and with my young horses we worked on the lateral work.”
Janey Marson, parent of Tier 3 rider Ada Marson, said: “This weekend gone was superb; the atmosphere was relaxed, helpful, informative and very enjoyable. Ada loved it and loved being around some of the older riders. She watched a lot, particularly Mollie [Summerland] on the flat. She got on particularly well with Emma [Winter]on the flat and always enjoys sessions with Philip [Surl]– his explanations are so ‘to the point’ which suits her well. I just wanted to say what a wonderful opportunity it was and excellent timing as it has given her focus at a difficult time of year when working at home in the cold. We are so thrilled with how her mare has come back after a good rest – stronger and so much more supple on the flat, so hopefully we have a great season ahead. Thanks again for giving this great opportunity to these young riders.”
Rider Josie Proctor commented: “I just wanted to say thank you for this weekend. I’m sure it took a tonne of organising and I really enjoyed it and felt I learnt massive amounts. I look forward to the next one!”
To find out more about the Talent Pathway, please click here
Images courtesy of Ben Clark Photography