The British Horse Society and Hickstead are introducing a scheme to produce a new generation of showing stewards capable of assisting judges at the highest level, including at the Royal International Horse Show (23-27 July).

The Apprentice Steward Scheme has been developed in response to concerns by event organisers, including Hickstead show secretary Lizzie Bunn, about the falling numbers of stewards.

“Most stewards have been involved with horses and showing their entire lives, but are often of advancing years, and there is no new blood coming through,” explains BHS spokesperson Wendy Peckham.

“The scheme is designed to produce young stewards with the necessary knowledge and skills to manage a class in a professional manner at top level.”

The scheme is the brainchild of RIHS chief steward Roger Stack. “The whole showing structure in this country relies on volunteers, and not enough new ones are coming forward. We hope this scheme will encourage young people who can benefit from working with the experienced stewards they will ultimately replace.”

The BHS plans to hold training and assessment days where adult showing enthusiasts can learn all about the role and responsibilities of the position. Individuals selected to help at the RIHS will also need to attend a pre-show briefing and will receive a certificate.

BHS chief executive Kay Driver says: “I believe this opportunity may appeal to our younger adult members. The society will create a certificate to be presented in recognition of their basic training and competence.”

Individuals interested in taking part in the scheme should contact Anne-Marie Westwood by email: a.westwood@bhs.org.uk