EVENT rider Emily Parker is hoping a winter of training with an Olympic medalist will stand her in good stead as she prepares to start the 2012 season.
Emily, 22 from Walesby, has been training with four-time Olympic eventing silver medalist Ian Stark at his yard in Scotland over the winter months.
She has taken her top two horses with her – Treefers, her own 12-year-old bay gelding and Allstar B, a seven-year-old bay gelding owned by British Eventing’s National U-18 coach Caroline Moore – and has been making the most of lessons as well as working on the yard.
The opportunity came about through the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) World Class Development Programme which Emily is on.
The programme works with talented riders to maximize success. After Emily expressed an interest in going to work and train at a top yard over the winter, Sarah Verney, the discipline co-ordinator for eventing on the development programme, put her in touch with Ian.
“It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve learnt a huge amount,” said Emily.
“Both horses had a month or so off after the season finished in September, but since then we’ve been working hard both in the school and also out on the hills.
“I’m looking to compete Treefeers in the U25 section at the three star Bramham International Horse Trials in June with the ultimate aim of taking part in a four star event by the end of the season.
“We are targeting All Star B for the seven–year–old championships at Osberton Horse Trials in September.”
Emily added: “I’ve also recently been having world class training sessions where we’ve focused on dressage and jumping.
“Everything is looking very positive for the season ahead and I can’t wait to get started. It’s an especially exciting year because of the Olympics and I’m looking forward to cheering on Team GBR in London.”
The World Class Development Programme underpins world class performance and, together with the Equine Pathway, they comprise the Equestrian World Class Programme. It incorporates the three Olympic sports of dressage, eventing, showjumping and the Paralympic sport of para-equestrian dressage.