Registration open for British Equestrian’s Podium Potential Pathway 2023–2025
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The British Equestrian World Class Programme is inviting up-and-coming athletes with ambitions to compete on future senior equestrian teams to put themselves forward for consideration to join the Podium Potential Pathway (P3) squad for 2023–2025.
Now embedded into the equestrian performance pathway, the aim of the Podium Potential Pathway is to act as a transitional level to help athletes make the progression from the well-established youth and talent programmes to the next stage in their sporting careers. Funded by The National Lottery and Government Exchequer via UK Sport and Sport England, the pathway provides athletes with a process of development that delivers the essential performance foundation skills to underpin future sustained senior championship success.
The opening of applications comes in tandem with the publication of new selection policies for Podium Potential Pathway, which include the lower age limit in the Olympic disciplines increased to 21 years. This decision has been made to allow for a more flexible process of skill development in the younger athletes who are balancing the pressures of performance sport with completing their education.
Those athletes under 21 years who achieve the selection requirements are still eligible to apply, but other training opportunities will be provided to support them through discipline-specific rider performance development camps. These will be by invitation of the relevant discipline governing body, British Dressage, British Eventing or British Showjumping.
Para dressage continues to have established age stipulation but will also have a series of rider development performance camps that will be run in partnership with British Dressage.
David Hamer, Head of Performance Pathways at British Equestrian, explains: “The continued success of our senior championship teams is very much underpinned by the pathway of development that Podium Potential Pathway provides.
“The aim of the programme is to identify and develop younger athletes who demonstrate the ability to compete on the world stage and provide support to help them to reach their potential. The unique element of equestrian sport is the requirement to have an equine sporting partner with the same potential to be an elite performer. Podium Potential Pathway nurtures the human element of the partnership and provides a broader base of skill development that helps young athletes to develop a career, as well as a skill set and profile to attract the horsepower required to progress to the next step in British Equestrian’s structured performance pathway.”
Selected athletes have access to top equestrian specialists and coaches during their time on the programme. Technical skills and knowledge are supported by a human and equine sport science team, who deliver physiotherapy, sport psychology, nutrition advice, vet and farrier support, and saddle fitting advice. Athletes also receive guidance on managing themselves and their careers, as well as their finances and public profile.
“It’s been a fantastic experience over the past four years,” shares dressage rider Lewis Carrier. “Being on the pathway, having the staff available and the training opportunities, has been key to helping me to bridge the gap between Young Riders and U25, and I’m now going into Seniors. It’s been so helpful to have a such broad range of advice from so many different people, from nutrition to the way our horses are trained and kept – it’s a really amazing experience to take into Seniors and the big, wide world.
“For me, the training, the test riding and having those eyes on the ground has been vital. Having the opportunity to go through the test with a top-class judge such as Isobel Wessels, to break it down and see what we can improve on going forward, is really useful.”
What would Lewis say to someone who’s thinking of applying to the programme?
“I say, go for it. It’s such an amazing opportunity and I think you should definitely take it. The experience and the advice I’ve gained over the years is just important going forward. It can be scary if you’re not based with someone or you’re on your own, or you just need general experience in the world of dressage, eventing or jumping, but I think the advice you get through the programme is really helpful.”
Para dressage athlete Jamie Windruss agrees: “The programme has given me great advice and support, which has helped to improve my riding ability. The team provide many opportunities throughout the year to ask questions and help with setting and achieving your goals. I’m now able to use these experiences from the programme to help with my riding in the future.”
British Equestrian’s performance pathway features three distinct levels – Podium, Podium Potential and Podium Potential Pathway – which support athletes across the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and showjumping, and the Paralympic discipline of para dressage. Each stage of the pathway is designed to provide athletes with the specific support needed at that stage in their competitive career as they progress towards a place on the championship podium.
Join the Podium Potential Pathway
Registration is now open for athletes who would like to be considered for the Podium Potential Pathway squad for 2023–2025. For further details about the selection process and to download the registration form.