Degree student Jessica Parsons will have the opportunity to learn from the best after winning an exciting mentorship with a Great Britain Paralympian.
Jess, who is in the second year of her Equine Business Management degree at Hartpury, will be working with Natasha Baker, MBE – the Para Dressage rider who has won five gold medals for Britain over the last two Paralympic Games and numerous European Para-Dressage titles.
The mentorship opportunity came about through a competition run by Jo Hansford Photography which offers three young riders from the South West mentoring sessions with Natasha, a personalised photo shoot with their horse, branded horse goodies and ongoing support during 2017.
Parsons, the dressage rider from Wotton under Edge, said: “I feel incredibly lucky and still can't quite believe that I won the sponsorship.
“It was a great honour to have received mentoring from Natasha when we met at Whatley Manor hotel. I found my one-to-one session with Natasha truly inspiring and she had lots of advice on how to prepare for success at competitions.”
Jo, from Jo Hansford Photography, will be including a special photoshoot with her horse Tilly and said: “This was the first meeting of our three new Young Sponsored Riders. Natasha spoke about her childhood ambition to get to the Olympics, her experience of becoming a dressage rider, and then of winning two Gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympics and three at the Rio games last year - as well as numerous European titles. She also brought along one of her Rio gold medals for the girls to see.
“We love the idea of sponsoring young equestrian talent and are excited about what this year will bring for each of our riders as they set out on a new year of competitions. Our 2017 young sponsored riders are so impressive and we can’t wait to support them and to capture some brilliant shots of them in action.”
Jo is no stranger to working with Hartpury students as two winners of last year’s sponsorship competition both studied at Hartpury; showjumper Ella Slowley and Para Dressage Rider Hope Hayward. She also sponsors Hartpury Equine Sport Science graduate Dee Holdsworth’s company, Dynamic Sports Therapy.