Eight aspiring young riders between the ages of eight and 19 enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime on Tuesday (10 September) when they received a riding lesson with showjumping star Joe Stockdale at his home in Northamptonshire.
As part of an initiative between Olympia and its official charity, the Tim Stockdale Foundation, youngsters from the Leicester-based Urban Equestrian Academy (UEA) were invited to join the Olympia Riding Academy, which aims to introduce economically disadvantaged children to a range of career prospects within the equestrian industry.
As well as receiving tuition from Joe, son of Olympic showjumper Tim Stockdale who passed away last year, students had the opportunity to spend time with a Spillers nutritionist and farrier Nigel Turner, as well as staff from the Stockdales’ yard.
In December the pupils of the Olympia Riding Academy have been invited to attend the show itself and will be helping in the Live Zone as well as learning how the event is run.
“I had such a great day at the Olympia Riding Academy,” said Azeezah Zampaladus, one of the students. “It was really inspiring watching Joe ride, and I really enjoyed meeting the farrier and nutritionists — they were so interesting. I can’t wait to go to Olympia this Christmas!”
Olympia Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward said: “Our goal is to widen equestrian accessibility and participation, bringing it to individuals and communities who have least access to it. By creating a platform where these children can learn about careers within the industry, we hope to create opportunities and open doors that haven’t been available in the past.
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“Working alongside the Tim Stockdale Foundation and The Urban Equestrian Academy — who both share the same vision of making equestrian accessible to everyone — has been incredibly inspiring.”
The Tim Stockdale Foundation was founded by his family after the showjumper’s death last year.
“We are honoured to work with Olympia and The Urban Equestrian Academy to host such a special day for aspiring young riders struggling with accessibility,”said Laura Stockdale. “Tim felt very strongly about making equestrianism, alongside other sports, available to everyone. The work of the foundation will continue to provide opportunities to those in real need of them.”
Read more about the day and this exciting new initiative in next week’s issue of H&H, out Thursday 19 September.