World-class assistance on offer as Yorkshire dressage duo are earmarked as stars of future

TWO riders from our region are a step closer to their ambition of representing Great Britain at Olympic level.

Dressage rider Emma Corbett, 18, from Huddersfield and Para dressage rider Fiona Maynard, 25, from Stillington, have been selected for the British Equestrian Federation’s England Excel Talent Programme.

They are among around 50 riders chosen because they have the potential to represent Great Britain on senior teams in the future.

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The riders from all four Olympic disciplines – dressage, show-jumping, eventing and Para equestrian – gathered at Warwickshire racecourse recently for an induction day to learn more about the programme.

This will give them access to top equestrian specialists including coaches, physiotherapists, vets and nutritionists through a series of performance camps.

They also had the opportunity to find out from world-class riders in their disciplines – Laura Collett (eventing), Simon Crippen (show-jumping), Maria Eilberg (dressage) and Natasha Baker (Para equestrian dressage) – what it takes to succeed at the top level.

Emma Corbett made her team debut at the Junior European Championships in Denmark in July, riding Furst Diamantino.

Earlier this year, she won the advanced restricted class in the British Dressage winter regional championships at Willerby.

This qualified her for the BD Winter Championships in April when she was placed second in the advanced medium restricted section. Emma also had two first places at Advanced Medium level at Somerford Premier League in May.

Recent successes for Fiona Maynard have included a first in a grade IV Para class at Bishop Burton in October last year, two second places in grade IV at the Para International Championships, which were held at Bishop Burton in July, and, in June, two first places in able-bodied medium open at Richmond Equestrian Centre and two third places at the Hickstead Premier League in grade IV classes.

Both Fiona and Emma said they were looking forward to putting the extra training and advice to good use.

MORE than 400 people from all parts of the equestrian world gathered for the Animal Health Trust UK’s Equestrian Awards evening in London.

Awards were presented in eight categories and the AHT also made a special award to Yorkshire businessman Lord Kirkham.

The former chairman and founder of the sofa chain DFS sold the business to private equity firm Advent International last year. He is the deputy president of the Animal Health Trust and the award was in recognition of his support for the charity over 25 years.

“During this time, Lord Kirkham has brought passion, commitment and drive to the trust, enabling the charity to continue its ground-breaking research and make a vital contribution to animal welfare across the world,” said a spokesman.

Other winners included:

Duralock racing award, Prince Khalid Abdullah; Dressage award, the British gold medal-winning team of Carl Hester, Laura Bechtolsheimer, Charlotte Du Jardin and Emile Faurie; British Show-jumping award, Nick Skelton; Jacksons (CI) Eventing award, Mitsubishi Motors for its sponsorship of Badminton Horse Trials; Petplan equine vet of the year, Chris Pearce from Dorset; Litovet Equine scientific achievement award, Dr Peter Clegg, Liverpool University and the South East Essex Insurance Brokers voluntary service award, Bunny Roberts.

AS preparations continue in Greenwich to welcome the world’s best equestrian competitors for London 2012 and with the debate surrounding the use of whip in racing still high on the news agenda, World Horse Welfare’s annual conference next week promises some timely contributions to the subject of horse welfare in sport.

The theme of this year’s conference, to be held on November 17, is Olympics 2012: What legacy for horse welfare?

Speakers will include the charity’s president, the Princess Royal, who is also on the board of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games; the Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson; racing journalist and broadcaster Alastair Down and equine reproduction specialist Dr Jonathan Pycock.

Among the topics that will be discussed are over-breeding in the equine industry, use of the whip in racing, the duty of care to horses in sport, the Olympic legacy and the media’s role in sport horse welfare.

Roly Owers, the charity’s chief executive, and Christopher Hall, the chairman, will also be speaking at the event about World Horse Welfare’s work helping horses in the UK and overseas.

The panel for a Question Time-style forum, chaired by Andrew Parker-Bowles, will include the Princess Royal, Olympic medallist Pippa Funnell and racehorse trainer Sir Mark Prescott.

FOLLOWING the government’s announcement earlier this year that it wanted one in five young people to take part in an apprenticeship programme by 2020, Stubbing Court Training has announced it will be creating 150 extra posts next year.

The Chesterfield-based company specialises in training people for the equestrian industry through apprenticeships.

Among the top riders to have taken on apprentices are Mark and Tanya Kyle, Vere and Clea Phillips, Stephen Whitaker, Andrew Saywell and Jeanette Brakewell.

The trainees have also gone to equestrian centres, including Parklands, near Sheffield, and Middleton Park in Leeds.

Stubbing Court Training runs a master-class programme as part of the scheme which enables apprentices and employers to have access to training from experts such as Ian Stark, Michael Whitaker, Mark Kyle and Yogi Breisner.