Vote now: coach hopes to put equestrianism on the map with national award nomination

  • An equitation science coach has made the shortlist of the UK Coaching Hero Awards — and the public has three more days to decide who wins.

    Staffordshire-based Lisa Ashton is the only equestrian to feature in the shortlist of 75 coaches, from nearly 500 public nominations. The awards, which are part of UK Coaching Week (7-13 June), recognise and celebrate the innovations and achievements of coaches who “inspired the nation to keep moving” during the coronavirus lockdowns. Among the other sports nominated include football, cricket, boxing, gymnastics, cycling and swimming.

    Lisa, who holds worldwide clinics, was nominated by a number of her clients for her work during the first lockdown in April 2020 during which she created the four-week Equestrian Coach Challenge. The challenge brought together equestrian coaches virtually to explore social licence within equestrianism.

    “We dug into how we show up and advocate for horses and look at things like empathy and doing the next right thing for people and for horses. In week one the first criteria was legitimacy, the second was transparency, the third week was communication and the fourth was trust,” Lisa told H&H.

    “We looked at our own practices as coaches and we were really there for each other; I was putting this challenge on for the coaches but it also helped me through my own limitations – we were all in lockdown, I couldn’t physically be out coaching doing what I love. It was just this amazing experience.”

    Lisa said being nominated for the awards was a “career highlight”.

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    “I’m absolutely over the moon, I’m exhilarated by it because I feel like I’m now on the same playing field as other sports coaches like footballers or cricketers,” she said. “To get the recognition as an equestrian among non-equestrian sports has just been fantastic. When I got shortlisted it felt like I had won!

    “Now it feels like the time for equestrianism to be on the same stage as mainstream sports, and come out of the margins of UK sport.”

    Vote for Lisa here. The public vote closes at 12pm on Monday (14 June). The winner will be announced at a ceremony in September. Vote by Lisa here

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