An initiative aimed at introducing disadvantaged children to the wide range of career opportunities in the equestrian industry has been relaunched.
The London International Horse Show Riding Academy, first initiated in 2019 by London International (formerly Olympia) organisers with Ebony Horse Club in Brixton, returned with an event on 3 November attended by showjumper Jack Whitaker, Paralympic dressage rider Natasha Baker, and equestrian officials.
A spokesman for the academy said 12 teenagers from Ebony attended and gained “invaluable experience”.
“Attendees had the opportunity to meet top riders and equestrian officials, learn and engage, and receive advice and guidance on possible career paths,” said the spokesman “For many, the highlight of the day was a riding lesson from Jack. Students were also given the opportunity to spend time with Natasha and learn about her journey and successes, as well as viewing her many medals.
“Participants also benefited from an informative talk from Winnie Murphy [British Equestrian head of communications] who spoke about the various career opportunities within equestrianism, beyond riding, and the pathways available to kick-start their chosen vocations.”
The spokesman added that the London International recognises the importance of supporting and reaching out to less privileged local communities to inspire and advise children on how to further their passion for equestrianism. The event had mental health as a “central theme”, from keeping in the best frame of mind for competition to the role horses can play in improving a person’s mental health.
Jack said it was “amazing” to see the opportunities Ebony Horse Club provides to young people.
“It’s brilliant the London International Horse Show has brought everyone together and used their platform to support the local community in this way. The show always goes above and beyond and I have really enjoyed it and learnt a lot myself too,” he said.
London International show director Simon Brooks-Ward said the academy is “so important” to the organising team.
“With this initiative we hope to widen accessibility and participation to the equestrian industry to those individuals and communities who have more barriers to the sport,” he said.
“The academy provides a platform in which children can learn about how to create a career within the industry and we hope the children were inspired from the day.”
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