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Inspirational YPA final 2016

last updated on March 23, 2016 18:25

Inspirational YPA final 2016

Six of the brightest lights in the sport gathered on Monday 21 March for the biggest day of their lives to take part in the seventh annual Young Professionals Award final. Held as ever at Talland School of Equitation, it was an intense, highly emotional but intriguing day where they were put through their paces by judges Jennie Loriston-Clarke and Paul Fielder.

This year’s finalists were:
  • Keri Bates (25) from Warwickshire
  • Melissa Beer (24) from West Sussex
  • Jessica Thompson (25) from Essex
  • Fiona Brennan (22) from East Yorkshire (based in Buckinghamshire)
  • Stena Hoerner (23) from Conwy, N Wales
  • Levi Hunt (24) from Gloucestershire
The final six had been whittled down from an original pool of 40 applicants who were then narrowed down to 24 to go forward to one of three selection days with Richard Davison, Daniel Sherriff or Becky & Hannah Moody.
On the day itself, all six rode some of Talland’s amazing selection of young, problem and advanced horses in front of Jennie and Paul, giving feedback along the way as well as being given some helpful pointers from the judges. In the morning, they also had a 1-2-1 interview with Dr Moira Lafferty and Penny Pollard on their business plan, future aspirations and professional goals.
In the afternoon, it was all about their future career path with two strands – coaching or stable management – and again under the judges’ watchful eye.
All six were of the highest calibre but there could only be one winner…or could there? The judging panel just couldn’t separate two candidates so Levi Hunt and Keri Bates were declared joint winners. They both will receive £3000 to help them achieve their goals through kind sponsorship by Core Context Consulting and support from the BEF Excel Talent Programme which is funded by the National Lottery through Sport England. They’ll also both receive a bespoke double bridle from the Worshipful Company of Saddlers. Their Prime Warden, Charles Barclay, (pictured with our winners) was on hand to present – the bridle was quickly snaffled by Levi as he felt it would suit his horse perfectly! Sorry Keri, yours will be on its way when CoH Sam Belasco LG from the Household Cavalry can make another.
Third spot went to Jessica Thompson and she received a £1000 bursary.
Keri said, “I’m a bit overwhelmed and can’t quite believe I’ve won! It’s been a really good day; so helpful.  It’s helped put the focus on difference areas of my career, not just riding and competing. The main thing I’ll take away is to believe in myself a bit more as I know I can do it!”
Levi added; “Phew…I can breathe now! The help we’ve had today is amazing; you just can’t buy that sort of thing. The bursary will help me towards my UKCC Level 3 training, judge training and help with some work I want to do to improve the yard – thank you so much.”
BYRDS Director Janet Horswill closed the day by thanking the sponsors, judges, riders for being such a great bunch and of course Brian and Pammy Hutton and the amazing team at Talland for such a huge effort.