New scheme to pair up
A leading breeder has launched a partnership programme to help shrink the ‘chasm’ between breeders and riders in the hope of creating a winning situation
talented riders with horses
A NEW initiative to match upand-coming riders with talented young horses is being launched by a leading stud. Future Sport Horses, which specialises in breeding quality event horses, has started a partnership programme to support British breeding and help riders make a name for themselves.
The idea works by breeders and riders sharing the opportunities and the risks in the hope of furthering the success of the horse, rider and British breeding overall.
Julia Hodkin of Future Sport Horses said she hopes this will address the “chasm” between British breeders and up-andcoming riders. The aim is to help alleviate the struggle breeders face with the cost of sending multiple horses away to be produced and competed, while also helping riders struggling to secure the horse power with which to make names for themselves.
Julia has four horses available for this year’s partnership, ranging
between three and seven years old, as well as a number of youngsters with top bloodlines.
No money is asked for riders to “buy in”, instead they will be gifted increasing shares in the horse in return for their expertise in producing them, so share the risk and reward.
Applications for this year have closed and Julia told
H&H the response has been “overwhelming”. She has received more than 60 applications and added she is very impressed by the quantity and calibre of the riders.
“It is wonderful people have such a passion for our sport,” she said. “It has been really quite humbling and made me feel very proud of our sport that it attracts these kinds of committed and talented people.”
She added the next part of the process is to ensure the attitudes and aspirations of the riders match their own, before pairing potential horses with riders over the winter.
“This is a long-term partnership — there are going to be bumps in the road, but we will ride them together,” she said.
“If we can get a model working, others can do it — we want the sport, riders and British breeding to thrive and anything we can do to help that, we are 100% behind.”
‘A GOOD PLAN’
FOUR-STAR eventer and H&H blogger Coral Keen said anything that helps the up-and-coming rider is a positive.
“Until you have made your name, nobody knows who you are to send horses to you — you are only ever as good as the horse you are sat on,” she said.
British Equestrian Federation (BEF) equine development director and vet Dr Jane Nixon, who sits on Sport Horse Breeding of Great Britain’s breeding committee, praised the idea.
“This is a very good plan,” Dr Nixon told H&H, adding that the UK is behind countries such as Germany in terms of the number of horses going to riders with the knowledge and skills to give them the best chance of fulfilling their potential.
“We have the right horses, but they aren’t always going to the right riders,” she said. “So we need a way of putting the right rider on the right horse.”
BEF head of equine development Jan Rogers said she thinks this is a good template.
“It is similar to some models that work in other countries,” she said, adding the programme of the late German breeder Friedrich Butt is a good example of this.
“A big thumbs-up for the idea and for people out there trying to find solutions like Julia has.”
Ms Rogers explained that the BEF’s Futurity and Equine Bridge programmes were successful in identifying talented young horses, but ring-fenced funding means the money is not there to fund these at the moment.
“As government funding decreases, we [as the equestrian industry] need to be creative and pull together to find solutions,” she said.
‘There are going to be bumps in the road,
but we will ride them together’
It is hoped the scheme will benefit all concerned