Each year we’ve run our Young Sponsored Rider programme since 2014, the number of entries has gone up, and we’ve found it harder to narrow down the immense selection to first a short-list, and then 3 winners to be our sponsees for the year ahead.
Last year was no exception, and when the pile of over 100 entries came in late 2018, we knew we had our work cut out!
Sometimes though, an entry really stands out, and this was definitely the case with Laura and her event pony Lyon. At the time, Laura was 14 years old and was competing Lyon at BE100. Not only had she written a really good, detailed entry, showing just how passionate she was about her riding and her sport, she had also hand written her entry (as well as submitting online), and printed a set of photographs to accompany it, then delivered it to us in the post. This was a first, and when it landed on our doormat pretty soon after the competition opened, we were really impressed! Here was someone who was committed, talented and also willing to go the extra mile to win a sponsorship!
She then made the final shortlist, and among the top ten entries we chose, we then selected her as one of our 3 Young Sponsored Riders for 2019!
We asked Laura to share her experience of her year with us, here is what she wrote:
“Having submitted my entry a few months prior, with my fingers firmly crossed, when I found out that I was one of the lucky three sponsored riders for Jo Hansford Photography in 2019, I was beyond excited, as the sponsorship package boasted so many benefits as a rider!
We were lucky enough to not only meet Natasha Baker MBE but also have mentoring sessions with her, as well as gain the friendship and support from Jo and Nic. In late September, we spent an extremely fun afternoon doing our photoshoot, which I will hold so many happy memories from as the photos perfectly encapsulate the cheeky but loving personality of my event pony Lyon, who I have owned since a 4-year-old. He holds a very special place in my heart!
The mentoring with Natasha was very useful and it definitely helped me a lot, out competing last season. I feel that I especially benefited from her advice about pre-competition nerves and pressure, as you can imagine she has lots of experience with these having competed at the Paralympic Games in dressage, and consequently, I learnt how to handle my nerves in events to come, which definitely paid off and showed in our results.
Having never done a photoshoot I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but the information sent before the shoot was really helpful in knowing which outfits to pick out etc, and made me feel a lot more at ease. However, on the afternoon of the shoot I realised that I had nothing to worry about as Jo and Nic were so good at making the whole thing feel so natural and also had many tricks up their sleeve to ensure Lyon always had his ears forward for the photos!
They also have lots of very cool kit to make the lighting perfect for every photo. I loved the way that despite the fact it was quite a grey day, they were able to replicate the sun coming through the trees in one of our settings, and the results were exactly as I had envisioned.
A few weeks later when my mum and I went to look through the photos, I was so happy as the photos were so special, and I found it very very hard to narrow it down to just a few for the prints and the framed image which was a part of my sponsorship prize. It was really great to be able to see them all projected onto a large screen to help inform our all-important decisions, i think we could have spent hours just scrolling through the photos though, as they are all so lovely.
I am so grateful to have been part of the Young Sponsored Rider Programme for 2019, and to have met so many amazing people in the process, not only was it just awesome to have the photoshoot, the mentoring and not to mention the super smart branded kit, but I really value the support that Jo and Nic constantly show for myself and Lyon, throughout the bad and good days.
I would definitely urge anyone to enter the future sponsorship searches as it is such a fantastic opportunity!”
Thank you for your write up Laura, we absolutely loved having you as a part of the team last year as a Sponsored Rider!
If you’re interested in becoming one of our Young Sponsored Riders for 2021, we’re planning on launching our competition later this year. If you’d like to go on our list of young riders interested in applying, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, we also ask that you like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram so that you can follow our updates.
You can also read more information on our Sponsorship programme here.
To enquire about a photoshoot with your horse, you can contact us here.