Witherslack Hall Equestrian Centre Team up with Young Equestrians
Teenagers at Witherslack Hall Equestrian Centre, Cumbria, are the latest to form a Young Equestrians group; designed to provide informal social and training opportunities for people aged 13-18 to connect and re-engage with equestrian sport.
The session kicked off in the centre’s social room so that the young people could get to know each other and as the group quickly felt at ease conversations moved on to discussing what the Young Equestrians would like to get out of their new club. A variety of ideas were brought up, including workshops on equine feeding, clipping, plaiting and biomechanics. The group also hopes to explore different aspects of the equestrian industry through having a go at different disciplines such as polocrosse and vaulting.
Deana Tarr, Proprietor, was impressed with the young people’s enthusiasm for the scheme: “I felt the session went really well! Once we did our ice breaker games they were all more willing to give us ideas of what they wanted to get out of the club. It’s definitely been a hit with the group and they can’t wait for the next one.”
For the hands on part of the afternoon, Deana and volunteer at the centre, Honor Fenton, 21, introduced lunging to the Young Equestrians as this was a chance to learn a skill that the group hadn’t tried before. All participants enjoyed having the opportunity to work with the horses on the ground, and plan to start to develop their coaching skills through helping each other with their riding lessons as part of their next session.
Ella Wadsworth, who was one of the eleven participants who took part in the first session, said: “Young Equestrians was fantastic it gave us an opportunity to try things we may not get to learn in a normal riding lesson. It felt free and easy and based around what we wanted to learn, I loved it!”
The Witherslack Young Equestrians are interested in working towards their Young Equestrian Leaders Awards; an award scheme for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) designed to recognise the time and effort young volunteers give to equestrianism.. As well as trying new things and developing skills, social events are equally important! Trips to shows such as Your Horse Live are already being booked in for later in the year. Parent, Lynn Proctor, commented: “Young Equestrians is brilliant for my daughter’s confidence; she loved it and is looking forward to the next meeting and all at a low cost!”
Originally developed by Hoof, the BEF’s participation programme, the Young Equestrians scheme is being delivered through The Pony Club and targets riding schools across England. Thanks to Sport England funding, Young Equestrians provides participants with more choice and freedom in how they take part in equestrianism, as well as providing a focus on skill development.
Riding schools who deliver the programme will be given access to virtual tools to help them establish their Young Equestrians club that includes example session plans, marketing materials and a host of different ideas on how to retain teenagers in equestrian sport.
If you are a riding school or young person and want more information on how to get involved in the programme please visit www.youngequestrians.club.
About Young Equestrians
Young Equestrians is a project created by Hoof, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) legacy programme, in collaboration with The Pony Club. The Sport England Funded programme has been developed to deliver social, informal clubs for young people that provide riding and training opportunities through their local riding school.