Young Equestrians Scheme
If you’re aged between 13 and 18 and want to get more from your riding, or if you’re the owner of a riding school who finds it difficult to engage riders in this age group, Young Equestrians could be just what you need! Read on to find out more about some of the centres across England which play host to Young Equestrians groups and, thanks to Sport England funding, provide opportunities for young people who want to socialise and learn to ride and care for horses in an informal way.
Young Equestrians is a user-led training programme which provides participants with more choice and freedom in how they take part in equestrianism, as well as providing a focus on skill development.
Originally developed by Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s participation programme, Young Equestrians is delivered in riding schools across England through The Pony Club.
One of the first riding schools in the country to offer Young Equestrians was Ivanhoe Equestrian, Leicestershire. The group has grown in popularity since its launch event, which saw participants discussing their aims and goals, and creating mood boards to represent what they want to try out, learn and achieve.
They have since worked through these lists, and have been treated to a wealth of activities including a Horseball lesson, a Cross Country clinic and a day out at Chatsworth Horse Trials where they were delighted to meet two of the horse world’s biggest heroes, Mary King and Ben Hobday. They also held a Young Equestrians Camp where they explored various equine-related careers, looked into the qualifications needed and the routes into their desired professions.
Danielle and Lucy, aged 17, are two of Ivanhoe Equestrian’s Young Equestrians. They said: “We are really excited about Young Equestrians because it will allow us to try new things and learn about different stuff that you wouldn’t normally come across in a riding school, such as horse dentistry and care of hooves.”
“Young Equestrians has fitted in really well with our existing programme of activities at Ivanhoe” comments Emma Lebutt, Manager of Ivanhoe Equestrian. “The scheme has encouraged our helpers to think more about their involvement with horses beyond the regular riding school routine.” Emma hopes that by giving young people the chance to follow their own goals and aims, and explore the areas of equestrianism that interest them, Young Equestrians can help to produce the equine professionals of the future.
Ebony Horse Club in South London use horses to improve the education, life skills and aspirations of young people growing up in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the area. They launched their Young Equestrians group with a riding lesson and ice breaker, where they got to know each other a little better and discussed plans for the future. Ideas included tree climbing, bike riding, horse riding on the beach, hacking out and cookery to name but a few!
Linda Hinds, Ebony Horse Club Operations Manager, said: “We are really excited to structure our current youth provision through Young Equestrians in order to offer more opportunities for our teenagers.”
Young Equestrians is free for riding schools to sign up to, and those who deliver the scheme are given exclusive access to virtual tools to help them establish their group, including example session plans, marketing materials and a host of different ideas on how to retain teenagers in equestrian sport.
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