Young rider tips: 5 ways to impress the selectors

  • Remember, first impressions count: “To me, good turnout — of horse and rider — is the sign of a good back-up team,” says young rider eventing chairman of selectors Alex Colquhoun. “It also shows me that the rider is serious about making a good impression, which usually filters through into their riding.”

    Be a good team player: remember there’s no “I” in team. Wanting to win is an admirable trait, but, when push comes to shove, the ability to carry out team orders can mean the difference between a team gold medal and going home empty handed. “Somebody who wants to get involved by interacting with other riders and helping less experienced team members will definitely impress me,” explains Helen Boston, chef d’equipe of the young rider endurance squad

    Learn to take criticism and act on it where appropriate: real sportsmen will listen to criticism and, where appropriate, strive to remedy the fault. It’s part of the long-term learning curve

    Ride intelligently, plan your campaign carefully and have goals: “I like to see young riders use their heads and ride according to the conditions, their horse’s level of experience and fitness,” says under-18 chairman Jane Peters, while junior and young rider showjumping chef d’equipe and trainer Corinne Bracken adds: “Selectors want consistent, sound horses to take to championship shows. This doesn’t mean riding competitively to win week in, week out”

    Don’t rely on your parents: “I don’t want children who are held up by their parents on my team,” says pony dressage chief selector Jenny Ward. “Yes, parents play an important role supporting their children financially and emotionally, but we want riders who can think on their own two feet and who have a special relationship with their pony.”

    Are you a young rider or driver aged between 15-21 who would love to star in an H&H feature and be sponsored by Dodson & Horrell for a year? Then be sure to enter our amazing young rider bursary at www.horseandhound.co.uk/youngriderbursary2011 before 6 June, 2011

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