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Young Riders Academy graduates participants of 2016 program

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Photo (c) YRA Fabio Petroni The Athenaeum Board in Geneva just graduated athletes from a third year of the Young Riders Academy program. Photo (c) YRA Fabio Petroni.

Cassandra Braeckmans (BEL), Jack Dodd (IRL) Pål Flam (NOR), Eoin McMahon (IRL), Emma O´Dwyer (GBR), Laura Klaphake (GER), Derin Demirsoy (TUR), Laetitia Du Couëdic (SUI), Michael Duffy (IRL), Giampiero Garofalo (ITA), Spencer Roe (GBR), Basile Rubio (FRA) are the riders from the Young Riders Academy team 2016 who just graduated after a full and educational program.

“To work with young people it's always a great feeling. They are passionate, they want to learn and use all the opportunities they have,” states Eleonora Ottaviani, member of the board and one of the founders of the Young Riders Academy project.

The team had been welcomed at the FEI headquarters in Lausanne, where President Ingmar De Vos and his group introduced to them key drivers for the future growth of showjumping as well as the new Invitation System; then, as a tradition, a visit to Rolex headquarters in Geneva to learn about sponsoring and partnerships, to end with the Reward Ceremony. During this last session it was also a great pleasure to have Jean-Maurice Bonneau joining the team; together with Jos Lansink and Franke Sloothaak they will form a technical training squad for the Academy in the years to come.

At the end of its third edition this project met the endorsement of federations, top riders, organizers and sponsors; thanks to the partnership with Franklin University in Switzerland, University of Uppsala in Sweden, EPFL Polytechnic of Lausanne and key experts in showjumping, it was then possible to create a link between this sport and scientific and cultural environment.

“The YRA has been an amazing experience based on people, education and sport. We need to build a strong system around us and be aware of the changes in our sport: we are the riders of tomorrow,” declared Basile Rubio immediately after the Diploma’s Ceremony.

“The Academy has not only improved my knowledge on everything to do with horses but it has also opened my mind to new ideas and concepts on running a stable, that otherwise I wouldn't have known,” stated Jack Dodd. "No doubt it has been a great journey,” continued Giampiero Garofalo “I have learned to approach horse’s management from a different angle and I am sure it will make a difference for my career.”

“Apart from training with one of the best coaches in the world, the Academy has taught me I need to be more than just a rider. I was taught the skills to be a manager, a vet, an entrepreneur, an ambassador, an accountant, to think a bit like a lawyer, a journalist and a show steward. It takes more than being a rider to complete the puzzle and becoming a champion,” concluded Emma O’Dwyer.

In few months there will be 2017 selections in Arezzo and Redefine and other riders will be designated; this does not mean that the current team will be part of the past. “The enthusiasm and passion are high from all the people involved,” commented Ottaviani. "Our plan is to continue to follow them as we are doing with groups from 2014 and 2015.”

The Young Riders Academy is a program conceived for European talented young show jumpers, under the patronage of the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), with the cooperation of the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) and the support of Rolex.

Founded in 2014 by Athenaeum, a non-profit association, the program will give European talented riders between the ages of 18 and 23 the chance to train for a long period at a well-known professional stable. In addition, professional education in communication, business and economics, veterinary and legal practice related to show jumping. The objective is to develop future champions as well as potential managers of this sport.

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Source: Press release from Young Riders Academy // Picture © YRA Fabio Petroni

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