The London International Horse Show, set to take place at ExCeL London from 16 to 20 December, together with The Ebony Horse Club, today facilitated the return of the ‘London International Horse Show Riding Academy’. The Academy, which was initiated in 2019, aims to introduce disadvantaged children to the wide range of career opportunities within the equestrian industry.
12 teenagers from The Ebony Horse Club, aged 13 – 18, attended the event and gained invaluable experience. Attendees had the opportunity to meet top riders and equestrian officials, learn and engage, and receive advice and guidance on possible career paths.
For many, the highlight of the day was a riding lesson from top, young international Show Jumping rider Jack Whitaker, the latest star 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. Participants also benefited from an informative 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.
The London International Horse Show recognises the importance of supporting and reaching out to the less privileged local communities to inspire and advise children of how to further their passion of equestrianism. 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. The London International Horse Show along with The Ebony Horse Club strongly believe in importance of horses in improving communication, empathy and adaptability.
Speaking during the event, Whitaker said: “It’s been great to be involved in today’s event, I’ve never been to this part of London before and 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.” Baker MBE added: “It’s great to be here at the Ebony Horse Club and be a part of The London International Horse Show Riding Academy. I’ve been here to talk about my story and my experiences and hopefully educate and inspire the kids that are here today to learn more about equestrian sport.”
Show Director, Simon Brooks-Ward said: “The London International Horse Show Riding Academy is so important to us. With this initiative we hope to 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!”