A dozen youngsters from Britain’s Ebony Horse Club have taken part in an initiative to introduce disadvantaged children to the wide range of career opportunities within the equestrian industry.
Brixton, London-based Ebony Horse Club has a mission to use horses to raise the education, life skills, wellbeing and aspirations of young people from disadvantaged communities within Lambeth.
A group of 12 teenagers aged 13 to 18 attended the latest London International Horse Show Riding Academy, meeting top riders and equestrian officials, and receiving advice and guidance on possible career paths.
For many, the highlight of the day was a riding lesson from young international showjumping rider Jack Whitaker, the latest from the Whitaker family dynasty. Students were also given the opportunity to spend time with multiple dressage Paralympic champion Natasha Baker MBE and learn about her journey and successes, as well as viewing her many Olympic medals.
It was Whitaker’s first trip to the inner-city suburb. “To see such a great charity in the heart of the city and see the opportunities they provide young people is amazing.
“It’s brilliant that The London International Horse Show has brought everyone together and used their platform to support the local community in this way. The Show always goes above and beyond and I have really enjoyed it and learnt a lot myself too.”
The 2021 event had mental health as a central theme, both keeping in the best state for competition and the role that horses can play in improving a person’s mental health.
Participants also benefited from a talk from BEF Head of Communications, Winnie Murphy, who spoke about the various career opportunities within equestrianism, beyond riding, and the pathways available to kick-start their chosen vocations.
Show Director Simon Brooks-Ward said the academy was important to the show and hoped the initiative would widen accessibility and participation to the equestrian industry to those individuals and communities who have more barriers to the sport.
“The Academy enables a platform in which children can learn about how create a career within the industry and we hope the children were inspired from the day.”
Following the activity, Amel, a member of the Ebony Horse Club added: “I had the best time at the London International Horse Show Riding Academy. I loved having a lesson with Jack, he gave lots of useful advice on how to improve my riding.
“It was so inspiring meeting Natasha, and seeing her medals was amazing and I really learnt a lot from Winnie! I can’t wait to go to The London International Horse Show this Christmas!”
» The London International Horse Show is at ExCeL London from December 16 to 20.