Making the leap of faith into advanced level competition in the eventing world is something not to be taken lightly.

It’s an upwards step that must be heavily considered and analysed. The fences are considerably bigger in both of the jumping phases and the movements in the dressage tests a great deal trickier. There are also many more pairs of eyes watching your every move at the competitions themselves, with the larger events being more popular with the public.

For all of these reasons, the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Training Series and Scholarship has been created in partnership with British Eventing, Keyflow® (who produce super-premium horse feed) and The Mark Todd Collection.

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This innovative initiative provides training opportunities for riders aiming to move into the more serious ranks of eventing. Following application, riders are encouraged to attend training days which are conducted and run by renowned coaches Gill Watson and Lizzel Winter, where all aspects of event riding are covered.

And there is a huge incentive; riders who attend any one of these training days are invited to apply for the Mark Todd Scholarship an extension of the Bridging The Gap Training Series. The most promising rider will be picked as the winner of the scholarship, which will see them win training and mentoring from the great Sir Mark Todd, plus £3,000 worth of product sponsorship from the Mark Todd Collection and Keyflow feeds for the following season.

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British Eventing is a world leader when it comes to this equestrian discipline and it is a testament to how robust the British Eventing framework is for nurturing talent and recognising where there may be weaknesses. Breaking through the ‘glass ceiling’ to the professional heights of eventing is difficult and requires a change in mindset. This series and following scholarship provide a ‘hand to hold’ when making the big step.

Gill Watson was the mastermind behind the concept, and she was delighted when British Eventing agreed to come on board and roll it out this year. “There is a real need for training at this level since moving up into 2* and 3* competition is such a big step,” she explained. “The feedback has been very positive, especially from those that wouldn’t otherwise have the resources to access this kind of training and support. The fact that Mark has come on board is an added bonus and will ultimately present one of our riders with an amazing opportunity.”

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The training programme has proved hugely popular with all sessions being fully booked and, where possible, Gill and fellow coach, Lizzel Winter, have run extra days to accommodate numbers. Participants have described the days as “well worth it”, a “rare opportunity” and “fantastic”.

Sir Mark Todd’s involvement came along with title sponsorship from his company Keyflow and his branded products from The Mark Todd Collection. Mark said: “I’m extremely pleased to be associated with Bridging the Gap as it offers valuable support to those who are committed to progressing through the ranks in eventing. In terms of the scholarship, we will be looking for a dedicated, hardworking rider to represent our brands for the 2014 season; someone with the drive, scope and ambition to ultimately fulfil their dreams.”

The winner of the scholarship will be chosen by a judging panel made up of Sir Mark Todd, Gill Watson, Lizzel Winter and representatives from the Mark Todd Collection and Keyflow Feeds. The exact details of the selection process are yet to be released but rumour has it they could be very exciting indeed.

There is little doubt that this training series and scholarship will provide one rider with not only the dream training and support package, but it will also enable them to feed their horse on an exciting, new premium horse feed with the help of Keyflow. Keyflow has already received glowing reports from horse owners around the country of how the feed has brought out the best in their horses — both in condition and performance.

We mustn’t forget though, the structure of the Mark Todd “Bridging the Gap” Training Series will aid many event riders even if they are not victorious in securing the scholarship — it is a unique opportunity that gives riders a huge leg-up towards reaching their dreams and goals.

Further information on the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap series can be found at: http://keyflow.co/mtbtg/

Follow @Keyflow on Twitter and like Keyflow on Facebook to keep up to date with the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Training Series.

For further information on the Keyflow product range visit www.keflowfeeds.com or call us on 01672 519000