Judges of a £4,000 award organised by British Dressage to help young professionals further their training say they would like to see a wider range of entrants to the competition.

This year’s award was won by 22-year-old Laura Jarvis from Nottingham. For judges Carl Hester and Nicola Buchanan, Laura was the outstanding entrant of the six finalists.

“In the riding test, she dealt with any problems that were presented to her. She was eloquent, confident and charming,” said Carl. “Anyone would be happy to hire her.”

But while the entrants were good, Carl and Nicola were disappointed not to see more competitive riders.

“Where are the names, the under-25s, the grand prix riders and the European team members?” asked Carl. And Nicola added: “We would like to see more young riders and juniors.”

This is the second year of the competition, open to 18- to 25-year-olds. Second prize is £2,000, third £1,000 and runners-up receive £100.

From this year’s 30 entrants, 24 were chosen to take part in training days, from which six finalists were selected.

They had to demonstrate their skills on young, problem and grand prix horses, plus present a business plan and comment on the performance of other riders to the judges.

“This award has come at the end of a tricky time for me,” Laura told H&H. “I’ve just had hip surgery, so this will be a real confidence boost.”

Her early plans are to complete her United Kingdom coaching certificate level 3 and go abroad to work on a yard.

For those interested in taking part in next year’s award, a workshop has been organised to encourage applications at Stoneleigh Park on Monday, 23 May. More information about the workshop and how to apply for the award, can be found on www.britishdressage.co.uk

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (17 March, 2011).