The Howden Way August Spotlight Award winner is announced

Darlington-based Bronagh Daly has been chosen as August’s The Howden Way Spotlight Award winner for creating a welcoming and nurturing environment, showing camaraderie and mutual support, and celebrating development of skills and knowledge over outcome. As part of her award, Bronagh wins a uvex exxential II riding helmet, courtesy of Zebra Products.

Coach Jane Graham put Bronagh forward for the award on behalf of the Northern academy. She said: “Bronagh is a really positive person and when she attended the last Academy, she had not jumped for a very long time. Bronagh has attended a few of The Howden Way academy sessions now, however she struggles with her health. She contracted Long Covid which has changed her life, and she has to really manage her energy levels which means she sometimes does not have the strength to ride. This can be frustrating for her but she stays positive and has the best relationship with her horse who brings her so much joy. She is grateful that she can still ride, take part in The Howden Way, and pursue her love of the sport. Bronagh is an inspiration as she has never given up even though some days are really tough. Life has really changed for her, but she is so positive and always smiling, especially when going cross country schooling, and she is a joy to coach.”

Laura Collett, who has the pleasure of selecting the winning candidate, said: “Despite Bronagh’s health issues, she is always motivated at training sessions and willing to learn, while encouraging her fellow riders. It must be difficult for her to find the energy some days, but her passion pulls her through and that is very inspirational. Staying positive for others while you’re struggling yourself perfectly aligns with our fabulous sport – we are all here to support each other whatever someone is going through, and Bronagh epitomises that.Of her win, Bronagh commented: “It’s not been an easy time for either of us.

‘Sonny’, my 13-year-old gelding by Cevin Z who I’ve owned for three years, had most of last year off having aggravated an old injury in February which then flared up again in June, and we thought he would have to retire. I was intermittently unwell at the start of this year and Sonny liveried with my trainer for several weeks during this time and when he came back into work. Along with some great input from the vet and physio, he was encouraged to work differently and his way of going changed significantly. I am so grateful to physio Nicky Moore and event rider and trainer Charlie Donald. “Sonny is the ultimate amateur’s dream horse in being so straightforward and easy to do in every way. Eventing is a wonderful sport; a great day out and such a social activity. I love it. The Howden Way training sessions have been great fun. Jane Graham, the coach, has an innate ability to increase your confidence and self-belief while providing the information needed to best ride fences, combinations and courses all the while making the sessions wholly enjoyable and inclusive. Michelle Clough put on great >sessions and was very involved, always supportive and happily enthusiastic. I enjoyed the group training aspect – they’re great fun and very social. “After a rocky start this year, I am having the time of my life training with and riding Sonny. I feel very lucky to have the horse I have, to have the support (and patience!) of so many people: a super family, some brilliant trainers and vet and physio. Winning the Spotlight award was such a lovely bonus when, with this super horse and team, I’m >having the time of my life!”

Each month, coaches delivering The Howden Way Regional Academies are invited to nominate a member who has championed the core values of the Academies whether it be welfare, driving for inclusivity, creating camaraderie and supporting others, celebrating development of skills and knowledge over outcomes and developing true ambassadors for the sport. The winner is then selected by Olympic Gold Medallist, Laura Collett, from a shortlist of contenders who have been nominated as deserving. Each month, a Spotlight award will be given to the most outstanding rider.

A Spotlight award is given every month to the most outstanding rider. Non-members >can attend up to two of any of The Howden Way training academies. For more information on The Howden Way training, visit here. For those wishing to join, there is a 40% discount for new Pony Club and Riding Club members.