‘I lived in a caravan for years and nothing was going to stop me’: What drives today’s young riders? *H&H Plus*

  • As we look to move into the “new normal” following Covid-19, will the appeal of financial stability overtake the lure of team selection for young professional riders, or can the two go hand in hand? Lucy Higginson investigates

    OF 2020’s many ghastly legacies, one has been the brutal reminder of what it takes to be financially stable in Britain. With unemployment rocketing, house prices still bonkers, and the economy thrust into reverse, suddenly no one takes a comfortable home and secure income for granted any more.

    How does this affect professional riders, whose financial stability often rests on a knife edge at the best of times? Are there plenty still willing to risk everything in the pursuit of Olympic selection, or are today’s young riders increasingly focused on financial stability – building a business and a string of good horses, which are probably open to offers?

    Balancing the books is a topic I’ve discussed repeatedly over the years with a range of world-class riders and their connections. One multiple Olympian admitted to spending all their teaching income helping their talented child pursue the same path. I’ve heard eventing owners such as Trevor Dickens complain that even owning a Badminton winner (in his case Vanir Kamira) doesn’t make you money, and parents like Andy Rawlin (father of eventer Will Rawlin) admit: “Everybody is questioning how you can make a living out of this job and the answer is, you can’t.”

    This feature is also available to read in this Thursday’s H&H magazine (8 April, 2021)

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