On the 25 October 2016, riders from all disciplines across the British Equestrian Federation’s Excel Talent Programme came together at Moulton College for the bi-annual Cross Discipline Day where the focus was on what it takes in business to support success in sport. The two year Sport England funded programme provides selected riders with the opportunity to have access to top equestrian specialists to support their development via a series of rider high performance camps.
The morning saw World Class Programme Podium and Podium Potential athletes, Alice Openheimer (Dressage), Jake Saywell (Showjumping) and Emma Douglas (Para-Equestrian Dressage) lead a presentation on their experience in Rio 2016 after being selected for the Olympic Ambition and Paralympic Inspiration Programmes. The athletes discussed what it was like to be in a Games environment and explained what they learnt from being in Rio, visiting the venues and what they would take going forward into future competitions.
This was followed by a talk from entrepreneur and ex-Royal Marine, Ben McBean who spoke of his time in Afghanistan and how a near death experience where he stepped on a Taliban landmine, losing an arm and a leg whilst on duty, changed his life and pushed him to go on and become a motivational speaker and role model.
The athletes then split off into specified workshops in the afternoon which covered a range of areas including sponsorship and marketing, managing accounts in a small business, media tips and conflict and negotiation skills, concluding a very educative and rewarding day.
Lead Coordinator for the Excel Talent Programme, David Hamer summarising the day stated: “The purpose of the day was to give the riders guidance to support their sporting costs by being more media aware, business savvy and have better promotion and marketing skills. The day also aimed to motivate the riders, and the presentation by the athletes who had been to the Rio Games certainly did this.”
“The athletes also learnt a lot from Ben who engaged the audience with his powerful personal story, that was delivered with enthusiasm and humour , whilst being moved and humbled in equal measure.”
“We have had great feedback from the day, so it was mission accomplished!”
Supported by Sport England, the BEF England Excel Talent Programme seeks to identify, support and develop riders and horses that demonstrate talent and potential in the Olympic (dressage, eventing and Showjumping) and Paralympic (para-equestrian dressage) disciplines. The programme has been developed to extend the rider talent pathway below the UK Sport funded World Class Programme and to help support riders to go on to achieve their potential.