Hartpury’s Hope Hayward has yet another reason to celebrate after being selected into a British Equestrian Federation (BEF) backed excellence programme.
The 22-year-old para dressage rider will be part of the BEF England Excel Talent Programme squad for the next two years after impressing selectors with her performances over the last 12 months, including finishing third and fourth respectively in the British Dressage Para-Dressage Winter and Summer National Championships.
Her selection follows the news that she has won a ‘mentorship’ with Great Britain Paralympian and five times European Para-Dressage champion, Natasha Baker, MBE alongside fellow Hartpury student, Ella Slowley.
Hope, who is in the final year of a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Management, is currently a grade IV para dressage rider.
The Excel programme is backed by Sport England and seeks to identify and support riders and horses that demonstrate talent and potential in Olympic and Paralympic disciplines.
It will give Hope access to top equestrian specialists including international coaches, physiotherapists, psychologists, farriers, saddlers, vets and nutritionists as part of her continued development on the programme.
Hope said: “Most exciting is the fact that the Excel programme has been set up to support riders to fulfil their potential and to potentially lead on to the World Class Programme and a career at international level. I am hoping to develop my freestyle test this year and to compete at my first CPED1* or 2* next year, so for me this opportunity couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Studying for my degree at Hartpury gives me access to fantastic equine and sporting facilities and knowledge. When I compete at Hartpury, I do really feel I am on home ground. Having stabled my horse, Lottie, here means she is familiar with the arenas as well, which gives us both more confidence.”
After an induction day later this month, Hope will have her first training days as part of the programme at the beginning of November.
Another of Hartpury’s most promising dressage talents, Lucy Pincus, has tasted competition success recently. Lucy won two Medium classes at the Affiliated Dressage at Hartpury last weekend on her young horse, Sheepcote Suncrest, with scores of 74 and 75.
Lucy said: “This year, I made a really big step up to Prix St Georges with my horse, Sheepcote Don Calisto. I was pleased to end the season winning the regionals with 70% and also getting a podium place at Hickstead CDI.
“My younger horse, Sheepcote Suncrest, has also been successful, winning the Under-25s Championship at medium level in August and qualified for the summer nationals at elementary and medium.
“We have now started qualifying for the regionals again and I did my first show towards this at Hartpury last weekend, where I was really pleased to gain two wins.”
Lucy is the Equine Academy's new dressage scholar for 2015-16 and also a student on the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence Equine – the British Eventing and British Dressage programme run exclusively at Hartpury.