Young Dressage riders set to make their mark in 2012

PUBLISHED: 14:51 21 February 2012 | UPDATED: 21:04 20 February 2013

Leading Gloucestershire-based Dressage riders Tess Harwood and Casey Stickland put the finishing touches to their spring competition preparations

Young Dressage riders set to make their mark in 2012

Leading Gloucestershire-based Dressage riders Tess Harwood and Casey Stickland put the finishing touches to their spring competition preparations by taking part in an intensive two-day performance camp delivered by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) England Excel Talent Programme.

Cheltenham-based Tess (20) and Hartpury-based Casey (17), whose long-term aims are to represent Great Britain at senior championship level, were put through their paces by top trainers Gareth Hughes and Emile Faurie at Moulton College, Northants (February 13-14).

Both received individual assessment sessions with Luke Sweet, a human strength and conditioning coach from the English Institute of Sport, who gave them advice on the their own fitness in order that they can focus on areas that they needs to improve to ride their horses more effectively. Dr Teresa Hollands, an equine nutritionist, discussed with them about feeding and conditioning her horses in order that they are prepared in the best way possible to compete at the top level of this sport. Dr Rachel Murray, a veterinary surgeon based in Newmarket, who has particular expertise in relation to horse fitness and performance was on hand to discuss how to prevent injury during the build up and preparation for the competition season whilst improving fitness levels.

They had the opportunity to review her progress and discuss their goals and ambitions for the coming season with discipline coach Hannah Moody.

Tess comments: I came away having learnt a lot of new things about my sport, not just the riding but the psychology behind it. I have been lucky enough to train with Gareth before and every time I come away having learnt new techniques to help me improve.

Leader of the Excel Programme, David Hamer, says, We have had very positive feedback from everyone who took part and our two trainers were really pleased about the high standard of riding and professionalism shown by these riders over the course of the two days.

This training camp was the second for the discipline of Dressage. Performance camps are being held across all the Olympic disciplines and during the coming months event riders, Showjumpers and Para-Equestrian Dressage athletes will be benefiting from the same intensive tuition.

The BEF England Excel Talent Programme is targeted to deliver training to these young riders and the same opportunities will also be available to young riders in the other equestrian disciplines, through British Showjumping and British Eventing.

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