Registration open for Podium Potential Pathway 2021–2023
The British Equestrian World Class Programme is inviting up-and-coming athletes to put themselves forward to be part of the selection process to join the Podium Potential Pathway squad for 2021–2023.
The opening of applications comes in tandem with the publication of new selection policies for Podium Potential Pathway, which see the upper age limit in the Olympic disciplines extended to 28 years for the first time. This decision will provide support for younger athletes who are still developing their horsepower as they aim for the next level of the pathway. Para dressage continues to have no upper age limit.
The time scales for achieving the required minimum performance standards have been also been adjusted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent suspension of competition in 2020. Results from 1 June 2019 are being accepted as part of assessing performance standards.
Formally known as the Excel Talent Programme, the aim of the Podium Potential Pathway is to act as a transitional level to help athletes from youth squads, or those who have progressed to senior level, to make the next step on the performance pathway. It is funded by The National Lottery via UK Sport and Sport England.
David Hamer, Head of Performance Pathways at British Equestrian, explains: “The Podium Potential Pathway is the first step on the funded performance ladder for those who have already shown their capabilities on the field of play.
“The aim of the programme is to identify, support and develop riders at this stage in their performance journey, by providing them with an education designed to develop the essential foundation skills required for future performance. This process helps to maximise their opportunity to reach their potential, develop a career in sport and, in the future, progress to Podium Potential, the next step in British Equestrian’s structured performance pathway.”
Selected athletes have access to top equestrian specialists and coaches during their time on the programme. Technical skills and knowledge are supported by a human and equine sport science team, who deliver physiotherapy, sport psychology, nutrition advice, vet and farrier support, and saddler fitting advice. Athletes also receive guidance on managing themselves and their careers, as well as their finances, to do their sport.
“Supporting riders in their progression along the performance pathway is an integral part of the World Class Programme,” said the World Class Programme’s Performance Director, Richard Waygood. “The athletes who are selected to join Podium Potential Pathway will have shown that they each have the capability to be part of a senior championship team in the future, given the right guidance and support. It’s important that we carefully nurture that talent at this stage in their journey, in order to ensure we continue to have strength in depth in future Olympic and Paralympic cycles.”
British Equestrian’s performance pathway features three distinct levels – Podium, Podium Potential and Podium Potential Pathway – which support athletes across the Olympic disciplines of dressage, eventing and showjumping, and the Paralympic discipline of para dressage. Each stage of the pathway is designed to provide athletes with the specific support needed at that stage in their competitive career as they progress towards a place on the championship podium.
What the riders say
Para dressage rider Marcelle Ward: “The Podium Potential Pathway was a fantastic stepping stone for me. The opportunity to have so many professionals in one place discussing what was best for me and my horse was something money can’t buy. I was able to start making informed decisions on how I wanted my training to go, and what my horse and I needed to work on in order to gain those important extra marks. I developed an understanding of how important every aspect was, from saddle fitting to shoeing, along with having the right home team. This combination has seen my results improve in a consistent way, allowing me to progress to Podium Potential.”
Event rider Bella Innes Ker: “I feel incredibly privileged to have been part of the Podium Potential Pathway programme, which has given me access to an enormous amount of support and guidance from the very best in the industry. Being able to analysis my performance both on and off a horse has given me huge insight into focusing on my weaker areas, helping to enhance my overall performance. There has been a massive team cohesion within the squad, which makes you feel very supported.”
Dressage rider Angus Corrie-Deane: “I’ve been lucky enough to be a member of Podium Potential Pathway for the last three years, and over that time I have learnt so much. Communication between all members of the team allows you to spot patterns and correct these issues to make marginal gains, and increase your scores and levels of performance. This could be from a small tweak in shoeing to working out the best warm-up plan to maximise your horse’s musculature and performance. Podium Potential Pathway has taught me so much about horses that I will carry through the rest of my career.”
Showjumper Benjamin Clarke: “Being part of the Podium Potential Pathway has been helpful in lots of different ways, not just in terms of riding. I’ve also learnt about other important aspects such as finance and taxes, which I feel has set me up well for a career in equestrian sport. Being on the programme gives you access to a wide variety of different professionals, including physios and farriers, meaning you get additional feedback to support the work of your home team. Overall, it’s been great.”
Join the Podium Potential Pathway
Registration is now open for athletes who would like to be considered for the Podium Potential Pathway squad for 2021–2023. For further details about the selection process and to download the registration form here.