Promising young British eventer Zoe Wilkinson has won this season’s Mark Todd Bridging the Gap (MTBTG) Scholarship.
Oxfordshire-based Wilkinson, 24, was chosen by the judging panel made up of Sir Mark Todd, British Eventing Accredited Coaches Lizzel Winter and Gill Watson, and representatives from MTBTG sponsors, Keyflow Feeds and the Mark Todd Collection.
A former head girl and yard rider for Australian international event rider Paul Tapner, Wilkinson began eventing at 14 with an ex-racehorse she retrained herself. The co-founder of E.Z. Equestrian in 2011, Wilkinson has gone on to have great success producing young horses, winning the Burghley Young Event Horse Finals in 2012 and 2013 with Parkfield Quintessential.
Her top horse, GHS Calvaruise, was injured from mid 2012 to mid 2013 but this year has become very competitive at Intermediate level, and has just completed his first Advanced. Wilkinson now intends to establish him at Advanced level, and if all goes to plan, next year aim for Bramham Under 25’s or the Blenheim Palace CCI3*.
After her win, Wilkinson said: “I am so surprised as I’d been watching everyone ride and the standard was really high. To be mentored by Mark Todd is an amazing opportunity; every part of the scholarship will be important to me. Getting feed and advice from Keyflow and products from the Mark Todd Collection will all prove invaluable.”
Seven finalists went forward for the final selection day on Monday and all had an anxious wait while the judges deliberated over their decision. Todd said afterwards: “The standard today was extremely high which made the selection process exceptionally difficult but after much deliberation Zoe was a unanimous choice. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bridging the Gap Training Series is really paying off for those that use it.”
Wilkinson will receive a significant support package for the 2015 competition season including three individual training sessions and mentoring from Todd. She also wins £1500 worth of Keyflow Feed plus nutritional advice, as well as clothing, tack and horse wear from the Mark Todd Collection, also to the value of £1500.
Second and third placed riders Kat Raybould and Tyler Cassells received BE training vouchers whilst all finalists were presented with a rug, jacket and saddlepad from the Mark Todd Collection and will receive feed and nutritional advice from Keyflow.