It was the young horses who took centre stage at the latest British Eventing Training Camp, held at The National Training Centre, Hothorpe on 23-24 January 2024.
The training camp was held for promising up-and-coming horses on The Howden Way Young Horse Academy, and saw coaches Emma Winter, Kylie Roddy and Nick Gauntlett 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.
The Howden Way Young Horse Academy delivers a Young Horse Pathway programme giving valuable support to the development and recognition of young horses competing within British Eventing. Horses are identified via Young Horse Viewing and Young Horse Development Days from which combinations are then invited onto The Howden Way Young Horse Academy. This provides access to educational camps with leading expertise in addition to remote support.
Head of Training at British Eventing, Justine Parker, said: “This week saw the first camp for the 2024 intake of The Howden Way Young Horse Academy. It’s fantastic to be able to offer this level of expertise, and calibre of coach, to these riders who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity. The atmosphere created by the riders, coaches and practitioners over the two days was inspiring, with Academy members relishing every learning opportunity provided to them. It is a brilliant group of riders with very talented young horses. With help from The Young Horse Academy, we hope to enable them to reach their full potential. It is a very exciting year ahead!”
Nick Gauntlett: “I was really impressed with the open-mindedness of the riders to try what I was suggesting and their ability to put into practice what I was suggesting. I find that really rewarding as a coach. They were grouped together really well – being an event rider can be quite a lonely business, so to have like-minded people bouncing ideas off each other and supporting each other is great. They got involved in each other’s feedback and it was really inclusive. It’s a great opportunity for these riders who have got lovely young horses, to get the exposure and support that they deserve and may not otherwise have access to.”
Rider Lucy Sugden said: “The camp was very informative and all the training was top class. Kylie and Nick are both hugely knowledgeable and great coaches and they made me feel totally at ease. They gave out such good advice based on a depth of experience, not just about how to ride and train my horses but also about my future progression within the horse world. Thanks again, I feel so fortunate to be part of the academy and I’m truly grateful.”
Rider Holly Richardson took two of her young horses with her. She said: “It was amazing and I really enjoyed it. I thought the trainers were really knowledgeable, and it was great to train with 5* riders and be able to get coaching from actual eventers. It was also great to focus purely on those two young horses for a couple of days. When you’re riding a lot of horses at home, it’s hard to focus on the young ones, so this was a great opportunity. The sport psychology and strength and conditioning sessions were really useful, too. I liked that we were in groups for our sessions as you can learn a lot from watching others ride and the feedback they give and get from the coaches.”
Rider Danielle Frost said: “I really enjoyed it, especially the psychology session which is something I’ve never done before. Thinking in a different way will hopefully be really beneficial for me this year. The coaches were amazing because they adapted everything to suit you and your horse so you could really get the most out of every session. To have people who have competed at the top of the sport coach us is second to none. I took two horses – an eight-year-old and a seven-year-old. They both really benefitted from it, but also really enjoyed it too. They both came out on the second day and jumped significantly better than the first day, so had clearly taken lots on!”
Rider Tyler Cassells commented: “It was two brilliant days with the team. I took away top tips to manage early event spooks and freshness as well as making sure the basics are in place before training new moves in the dressage. It was a real sharpen up for me as a rider before the season starts. We also assessed my body off the horse with a strength and conditioning session, leaving with some eventing-specific exercises, even with a broom on the yard! I’m looking forward to being part of the team this year with all the extra support and advice, as well as putting into practise the psychology tips to get the best out of my horses and team.”
To find out more about The Howden Way Young Horse Academy, click here