A programme to introduce economically disadvantaged children to the range of career prospects within the equestrian industry is the latest initiative of The Tim Stockdale Foundation.
The Olympia Riding Academy is providing an opportunity for children to meet professionals who work in the sector and receive advice and inspiration on their future careers.
It was launched earlier this week by Olympia, The London International Horse Show and the Tim Stockdale Foundation, which is Olympia’s official 2019 charity. The foundation was created by Tim Stockdale’s family after his death from cancer last year, and works to continue the legacy of the showjumping star’s life and career.
Eight children from The Urban Equestrian Academy, aged from eight to 19, attended the inaugural day, with the highlight being a riding lesson from Tim’s son, rising showjumping star Joseph Stockdale. Students were given the opportunity to spend time with a nutritionist from feed company Spillers and farrier Nigel Turner, as well as the staff who run the Stockdale’s yard of 23 international horses. During the day, attendees were able to ask questions about career paths and gain a further understanding of what each job entails. Also present were employees of HPower Group, the event management company that manages Olympia, The London International Horse Show, and rEvolution, an international sports PR and marketing agency.
In December, the Olympia Riding Academy attendees’ pupils will attend the show, where representatives will have the opportunity to help with the Show’s Live Zone and learn more about how the event is run.
Olympia Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said the goal was to widen equestrian accessibility and participation, bringing it to individuals and communities who have the least access to it.
“By creating a platform where these children can learn about careers within the industry, we hope to create opportunities and open doors that haven’t been available in the past.
“Working alongside The Tim Stockdale Foundation and The Urban Equestrian Academy – who both share the same vision of making equestrian accessible to everyone – has been incredibly inspiring,” Brooks-Ward said.
Tim’s wife, Laura, said the foundation was honored to work with Olympia and The Urban Equestrian Academy to host such a special day for aspiring young riders struggling with accessibility. “Tim felt very strongly about making equestrianism, alongside other sports, available to everyone. The work of the Foundation will continue to provide opportunities to those in real need of them.”
The Urban Equestrian Academy’s mandate focuses on widening the participation of those with the least experience in the equestrian world and the individuals and communities with the least access to it. Their programmes and services are helping to change social and racial diversity in equestrian sports by creating a representative, accessible and inclusive equestrian environment for all, regardless of race, colour or background.
According to Azeezah Zampaladus, a UEA student, “I had such a great day at the Olympia Riding Academy. It was really inspiring watching Joe ride, and I really enjoyed meeting the farrier and nutritionists – they were so interesting. I can’t wait to go to Olympia this Christmas!”
Olympia runs from December 16 to 22.