Not everyone makes the jump from young riders to elite level. Eleanor Jones finds out just what it takes to step up to the highest echelons of the sport
What does it take to reach the top? A good rider and good horses, of course. But what else does a young rider need to become one of those at the elite levels of our sport?
“There’s so much more to the job than just being a good rider,” says Pippa Funnell. “You could go and get the best trainer in the world and spend a fortune on lessons, but it’s not just about being in the saddle; it’s about all-round horsemanship and learning how to climb into a horse’s mind to work out how the individual ticks. Horses are not tools for a trade, they need to be your best buddy so that the partnership is absolutely harmonious.”
This is what Pippa is working hard towards with the Windrush Equestrian Foundation (pictured below), which supports young event riders. It aims to help provide the best possible all-round grounding, taking in management, working with owners, equine soundness, feeding – “living and breathing” the job, Pippa says.