Could your horse be the next Valegro?

  • The search is on for Britain’s next world class dressage horses, as applications are open for the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) world class equine pathway programme.

    The aim of the initiative is to identify and support the next generation of young dressage horses, who have the quality and potential to represent Britain – and ideally win medals – at the 2018 World Equestrian Games and the 2020 Olympics.

    The programme, along with those for showjumping and eventing, was introduced in 2006-2007, and is funded by the National Lottery and UK Sport.

    “Since its inception, the federation’s world class team has helped horses on the programme to reach the top level of equestrian sport and win medals at the biggest competitions,” said a BEF spokesman.

    The programme is designed to support riders, owners and “home teams” to help the selected horses realise their full potential.

    Benefits can include training with a coach chosen by the owner or rider and guidance on performance management, as well as veterinary and farriery “monitoring and support”.

    Dressage rider Sonnar Murray-Brown has benefited from the programme.

    “It has been great to have this level of support behind me as it has given me a lot more confidence,” he said.

    “The coaches have helped point me in the right direction of what competitions I should take my horse to and they are always able to offer feedback on areas to improve.

    “It gives you a lot of reassurance when coaches tell you how good they think your horse is and that drives me to keep trying to develop the performance of my horse.”

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    Applicants face a two-stage process; the application itself, followed by selection trials, which involve group sessions and test riding with international judges and coaches.

    Applications, for horses aged between six and 10, must be submitted by 13 October.

    All those hoping to be considered are required to attend both selection days, on 7 and 8 November at Addington Manor EC, Bucks.

    For more information and the application form, click here.

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