Two Hartpury students recently returned from a successful trip to Norway having both secured podium places in the 2017 Equestrian Educational Network student competition.
Degree students Sophie Hulme and Kirsten Wing, alongside Hartpury University Centre’s Senior Lecturer and equestrian coach Victoria Lewis, all came home with medals after heading to Norsk Hestesenter in Starum, Norway for the competition.
Sophie, a second year Equine Science student, landed the gold spot with her team while Sports Therapy student Kirsten picked up silver and bronze was secured by the team managed by Victoria.
The event, which is hosted in a different country every year, sees two riders from eight nations compete against each other in an individual and mixed team test.
Unlike traditional competition formats the teams, and which horse each rider competes on, is drawn from a hat! So the teams and horses the Hartpury students would be competing with were entirely luck of the draw and completely unknown.
The competition, which is now in its fifth year, is made up of three rounds; the first ridden individually and for the team while the next two rounds are just individual, with each round consisting of a dressage test and showjumping round.
The team competition also includes a theory test which requires the new team mates to complete a presentation to the judges on an unknown subject, which is again picked from a hat!
Kirsten said: “I’m not a coaching student and what topic did I pull out of the hat in front of a room full of equine coaching students? Coaching! Thankfully with Vicki’s support we nailed our theory presentations and I am now planning on completing my coaching exams.
“So many elements came together to enable us to go on an experience of a lifetime trip and celebrating knowledge on that kind of scale with so many nations in the equine world is something I haven’t seen before, it was eye opening and I have learnt more in a week than I thought possible.
“We have met so many like-minded people we can now call friends and it was a truly amazing week of riding, laughing and learning and quite a lot of freezing too! We won’t be forgetting it anytime soon and have so much personalised feedback that we can now go and work on.”
Sophie added: “It was such a brilliant opportunity and experience that I will never forget. Being able to go to Norway representing Hartpury was such an honour and it was incredible learning and watching all the other riders from other countries.”
While in away in Norway the Hartpury students also had the opportunity to share ideas on riding, horse management and learning about how practices can differ across Europe. They also completed a tour of the facility, a former military base that became the Norwegian Horse Society – now hosting 140 horses – after the war.