The Young Riders Academy has recently launched its 9th edition with the Selection 2023, which was held in the Netherlands. The event saw the participation of twenty-five talented riders, hailing from fourteen different nations, who congregated at Peelbergen equestrian centre. The riders participated in four classes, exclusively for YRA candidates, over the course of two days, and competed with a young horse and an experienced one, following a new format that ensured the same conditions for assessment.
After a meticulous evaluation of the candidates’ attitude, motivation, and technical abilities, the Selection Panel, consisting of Otto Becker, Emile Hendrix, and Thierry Pomel, along with the YRA Board, announced the official Young Riders Academy Team 2023.
Of the twenty-five participants, six were nominated for the Full Program team, including Thibeau Spits from Belgium,Hannes Ahlmann from Germany, Sean Monaghan from Ireland, Lars Kersten from the Netherlands, Mira Oliva Hoeidal from Norway, and Robert Murphy from the UK.
Meanwhile, five other riders were selected for the Educational Program team, namely Thibault Philippaerts from Belgium, Tereza Svobodova from the Czech Republic, Niamh McEvoy from Ireland, Egor Shchibrik from Palestine (selected in 2022) and Lily Attwood from the UK.
“ The level of candidates is higher every year, and the cultural mindset should grow accordingly “ stated President of YRA, Eleonora Ottaviani, who emphasized the importance of supporting riders not only in their technical skills but also in the management of the sport. She firmly expressed her desire to see these athletes assuming leadership roles in equestrian institutions due to their knowledge and experiences.
Emile Hendrix, a member of the Selection Panel since the inception of the program, explained that the YRA is looking for riders who will make a difference in the future. “The level of applicants has been continuously rising, and being a good rider is not enough anymore. The new young riders have serious goals and are willing to work hard to achieve them. The Selection Panel is searching for qualities that set the candidates apart, including talent, determination, feeling, and organization”.
Otto Becker, another member of the Selection Panel, emphasized that riding properly with good distances is no longer sufficient. He stressed the importance of being special and “having that x-factor that distinguishes the top rider from the rest”.
Finally, Thierry Pomel, who recently joined the selection group, expressed his admiration for the candidates‘ great level and highlighted the unique opportunity they would have to train with different professionals and among the best in the world. “This would undoubtedly provide them with a significant competitive advantage”.
Words from just appointed YRA team ’23:
“I want to learn from the best. I want to take all the know-how and experience from their books and develop it with my own ability and make something special”, Sean Monaghan.
“Many riders I have followed over the years involved in the Academy have gone on to make it to the top of the sport, which is something I am determined to achieve” Robert Murphy.
“I have followed the YRA for some time now and I have always been intrigued by the Academy” Lars Kersten.
“Once in a lifetime experience” Hannes Ahlmann.
The Professionals training group for 2023, coordinated by Sven Holmberg and Jean Maurice Bonneau, will involve Olympic riders and Olympic medallists Jos Lansink, Franke Sloothaak, Marco Kutscher, Schröder’s brothers, Rob Ehrens, Laura Kraut with Nick Skelton, and Jens Fredricson.
The YRA team’23 will gather for the first sport clinic, led by Sloothaak, on April 17th in Peelbergen.
The education program, coordinated by Valentina Ottaviani, will be launched in June at Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, followed by additional sessions at Uppsala University in Sweden, Cadre Noir de Saumur in France, FEI in Lausanne and Rolex Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Young Riders Academy is a program intended for talented young European show jumpers, in collaboration with the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) and supported by Rolex since its establishment in 2014. This program offers riders between the ages of 18 and 23 the opportunity to train for several months at a professional stable, while also receiving education in communication, business and economics, veterinary practice, and legal matters related to show jumping. The ultimate goal of the program is to develop future champions and leaders in the sport.