Posted on 15th November 2019

BEF Young Professionals Programme welcomes third cohort of athletes

A third cohort of riders has been inducted by British Equestrian Federation (BEF) into the Young Professionals Programme, funded by Sport England.


The 12-month programme, which launched in 2017, aims is to help young riders build a wider skill-set to support their personal and career development, enabling them to thrive and earn a living in the equestrian industry and transition out of the youth development pathway. Delivered in collaboration with British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping, the Young Professionals Programme features a series of interactive workshops, with the athletes benefiting from the expertise of specialist speakers on a broad range of topics.

Head of Performance Pathways David Hamer commented: “As we start the third cohort of Young Professionals, the programme has evolved to develop a bespoke and unique process of support and education to provide these young people transitioning into the equestrian workforce with the help they need to shape and formulate their business and competition aspirations.”

The first interactive workshop was held at Stoneleigh Park on 29 October, where the inducted riders met as a group for the first time. After a brief introduction to the programme by Georgie Wheeler, the group enjoyed a presentation from entrepreneur Tony Stone, who founded his porridge company, Stoats, at the age of 24 after spotting a gap in the market for on-the-go options.

Starting with just a mobile porridge bar at food shows and festivals, Tony and his long-time school friend and business partner, Bob Arnott, have built a thriving business and now supply the UK’s biggest supermarkets, including Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury, and export as widely as US, Dubai and Denmark.

In Tony’s presentation, he shared what he had learned from his mistakes and how he seized opportunities as they arose. He also emphasised the importance in business of building a network around you and having various income streams that ensure you are sustainable as a business. These overarching themes are applicable to the riders on the Young Professionals Programme, who are starting up their own equestrian businesses due of their love of horses.

In the afternoon, Jane Holden from the English Institute of Sport then set the scene with the first personal development planning session where the young professionals started to look at creating a development plan with a holistic approach to personal and professional goals.

The BEF Young Professionals Programme includes eight workshops in total, running until spring 2020.

Young Professionals selected on to the 2019/2020 programme are:


  • Alice Hallows
  • Emily Grace
  • Alexandra van Randwyck
  • Richard Norfolk
  • Safia Woodward
  • Alicia Wilkinson
  • Helen Bates


Natasha Adkinson, Charlotte Elliott, Freya Elliott, Jessica Parsons, Rowan Bryson


Taisie de Gruchy, Olivia Howe, Saskia Strickland, Freya Hough, Erin Cullimore, Eleanor Stevenson, Charlotte Horne,

Kate Lewis