Check out the videos of the six young riders who have made it on to the short-list for the Horse & Hound/Dodson & Horrell young rider bursary, plus tips from young rider bursary judge, Team GB dressage team manager Richard Davison.
The bursary winner will be revealed in 26 August issue of Horse & Hound. More information about each of the finalists is available in today’s magazine (12 August).
Olivia, 17, has produced a 15hh, who has gone on to compete successfully at Pony Club open eventing, and is now bringing on another talented youngster.
Richard Davison says: “On the flat your horse has a nice outline and makes a nice picture. With more suppleness and improved contact you could get him more ‘through’.
“Over fences I like the fact that Neo is forward going, bold and handy. But be aware that occasionally your upper body goes forward slightly too early on take-off, which in turn could encourage you to come back into the saddle before the horse has finished behind.
“Good luck, you look like a competitive partnership.”
Nineteen-year-old Becci’s best result this season is ninth in a novice section at Chatsworth.
Richard Davison says: “Your horse is charming and has lots of potential and you look a happy partnership.
“In the dressage phase, be careful about leaning back at times, especially in downward transitions, which is causing some hollowing. In fact, if you could work on your own straightness (avoid dropping inside shoulder) on the curved lines, and achieve more roundness in trot and canter, I could see you pulling in loads more marks in the dressage arena.
“A bit more suppleness over the back may even help him to use his neck more over the fences. He looks really honest and I love the way his ears are always forward when jumping.
“I’ll be watching out for you in the results.”
Jessica, 18, is competing at BE100 level and has finished fourth at Milton Keynes and Brigstock this season.
Richard Davison says: “In the dressage phase, the bay horse appeared really elegant and very nice to ride in canter. In trot, try to aim for more ground cover and more consistent regularity (loss of rhythm on the diagonals).
“On the jumping part of your video you displayed a very neat and secure seat and I especially liked your leg position and use of upper body.
“I am confident that you will achieve your ambitions.”
Oli, 17, completed Glanusk CCI* and Aston-le-Walls intermediate and was ninth at Hambleden CIC*.
Richard Davison says: “Oli, at the start of your video, the cross-country phase shows there can be no doubting your determination and competitiveness, which is great. I did wonder whether a riding a hole shorter may achieve a more secure leg and upper body position? But, I was particularly impressed with these aspects when the video came onto the show jumping phase.
“In the dressage phase, there are the makings of a good seat and effect, but be aware that in trying to sit tall you are not losing the suppleness in your hips and upper body.
“One last tip: stuff some tissue into your top hat to stop it sitting on the back of your head — one more extended and it could have ended up in the judges’ lap!
“I have no doubt you’re going places.”
Millie, 17, has four wins under her belt already this season and has represented Britain at the junior Europeans.
Richard Davison says: “Let’s put it like this, if this video is a true reflection of your riding, I would have no hesitation in you riding any of my horses — on the flat or over fences — and I am very fussy!
“In the dressage phase, you have not only a super position, but you demonstrate tact, suppleness and an awareness of a good way of going. At this point I have to say I think your horse is fantastic, too!
“In the showjumping phase, I really liked your balanced half seat in the open part of the course, your looking for the next fence, judgement of pace and control of your upper body which encouraged the horse to produce a good jump. In short I think it is an excellent video.
“So now I’m going to be super-picky — do you tend to look down the left-hand shoulder whilst over a fence occasionally?
“To sum-up I think you are really outstanding and definitely bound for the big time.”
Amber, 17, has enjoyed good runs with both her horses at Glanusk and Longleat this season.
Richard Davison says: “On the flat you have a secure seat and I particularly liked all the transitions and also the way you rode the rein back and halt. However, just be aware of the use of your upper body occasionally driving your horses down on to the forehand.
“In the cross-country phase though, I thought your balance and control of your upper body was outstanding. The chestnut horse is a big scopey jumper and appears inclined to jump too far out. This was more evident in the combination of the showjumping phase, but because of the excellent control of your upper body you are able to deal with this.
“I think you have bags of potential and believe you are right to aim for the top. I’m sure you will bring home the medals.”
The bursary winner will be revealed in 26 August issue of Horse & Hound