2021 BD Youth National Academy athletes selected

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 07 Jul 2021 13:37

Following the delayed completion of the 2020 BD Youth Foundation Academy programme, we are pleased to announce that 12 riders have now been selected onto the Sport England-funded National Academy for 2021.

The standard of athletes in 2020 was especially high and the riders all demonstrated huge amounts of progress between enrolment and the final training session, despite continued restrictions on competition and face-to-face training over the winter months. 

The high standard meant that this year’s National Academy places were highly contested, with riders demonstrating their dedication and commitment to development, as well as all-round athlete performance.

British Dressage would like to congratulate all 2020 Foundation Academy riders for showing such a high level of performance despite the challenging circumstances. Special congratulations of course goes to the following selected 2021 National Academy athletes:

Danielle Balsdon (S&W)
Emily Coller (S&E)
Rebecca Baybutt (N&E)
Gracie Morgan (N&E)
Sarah Gormley (S&W)
Isobel Goodwin (S&W)
India Durman-Mills (N&E)
Ellie Chilvers (N&W)
Ellie Roberts (N&E)
Alanna Clarke (N&E)
Emilia Bishop (S&E)
Caitlin Clancy (S&W)

This year’s National Academy programme will be condensed to take place over the summer, beginning with a three-day training camp at the end of the month.

The athletes will receive top-class training throughout the programme, funded by Sport England and supported by Dengie. Spencer Wilton will be the National Academy coach for the third year and other industry professionals will deliver to the National Academy athletes to further their all-round development.

Selected following her first year on the Foundation Academy, 18-year-old Alanna Clarke told us what it means for her to have been selected; “I really do feel honoured to have been selected for the National Academy. I'm looking forward to building on the great foundation I’ve started to build with the support of everyone on the Foundation Academy (it's well named!).

“Taking part in this process has helped me understand that a holistic approach to training really works. It's not just about having a great coach and a nice horse, it's about understanding and acting on their feedback, and on judge's feedback. It's recording the details right away so that you can pick things apart later. It's treating your body like an athlete and putting in the work off the horse, mentally and physically, for both you and the horse and looking at everything as a whole.

I feel like the process helped me focus on the areas that need improvement, really supporting my understanding of where those are and allowing me to progress.
Alanna Clarke

“I feel like the process helped me focus on the areas that need improvement, really supporting my understanding of where those are and allowing me to progress," she continued.

“The National Academy and the incredible training offered with Spencer Wilton and later at Talland, will help all of us take things a step further and give real insight into what it takes to ride to the very best of our ability. This isn't an everyday sort of opportunity, I'm grateful and looking forward to seizing it with both hands as I look to progress.

“Thank you for the chance to take part and to anyone thinking of applying for the Foundation Academy, I'd say 100% go for it!”

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Academy programme, there’s still time to apply for the 2021 camps. Follow the link below to this year’s application criteria, or contact for more information.

2021 Foundation Academy – Apply here