Ellen absent from young rider squad

  • Britain’s top-ranked lady show jumping rider, 17-year-old Ellen Whitaker, is absent from the BSJA’s 2004 Accenture Young Rider International Squad following a disagreement over her training programme.

    Selectors choose the European under-18 and -21 teams from the squad, and Ellen was a member of last year’s silver-medal winning under-18 team.

    Ellen’s father, Steven, explains: “We had a bit of a disagreement with the BSJA regarding training. Ellen does want to be on the team, but she would have to comply with the BSJA’s plans and go to different trainers: we’ve got our own programme and she’s been doing well with it.

    “We’re not being difficult, but unless we can do it the way we want, it looks like she won’t go back on for now. The BSJA does want her on the team but it should be a little bit more flexible.”

    Jacky Knightley at the BSJA says: “It is very disappointing for any young rider who decides to come off a development squad, and in doing so deprives themselves of additional training and the ability to be selected to ride for their country. If Ellen wishes to reconsider, the BSJA would be delighted to offer her a place.”

    Places are available on the squad on an ongoing basis for riders under the age of 21 with grade A or B horses. The BSJA junior/young rider international committee
    has organised a “viewing day” at Towerlands on 4 March for prospective members to be assessed.

    • This article was originally published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (5 February).

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