The Howden Way September Spotlight Award winner is announced

Former Olympic rower Rachel Stanhope has been chosen as September’s The Howden Way Spotlight Award winner for representing the core values of The Howden Way. As part of her award, Rachel wins a uvex exxential II  riding helmet, courtesy Zebra Products. – the first person to do so. She owns nine-year-old gelding Sky Jack by Z Wellie 72, and a seven-year-old mare by Negro, Roni.

Coach Carl Benson put Rachel forward for the award on behalf of the South East academy. He said: “Rachel has worked really hard over a short period of time to zoom through her The Howden Way Academy Passport to Stage 2, embracing it along the way and loving the experience.”

Laura Collett, who has the pleasure of selecting the winning candidate, said: “It is great to see Rachel returning to Eventing after having competed at Olympic level within another sport. It is also incredibly inspiring to witness an extremely successful former Olympic athlete and silver world medallist apply themselves to our The Howden Way training framework in the way that she has. Rachel’s approach to competitive riding is one that we can all learn from as she is fully aware of the importance that training should play in all of our lives and I applaud her for embracing our national training programme in the way that she has.”

Of her Stage 1 & 2 passport achievements, Rachel commented: “I’ve really enjoyed The Howden Way Academy and Passport. They’re great, especially for people who haven’t had a grounding early on in horses. I was really keen to do the Passport stages alongside the Academy training. For the Passport, a lot of the things I do already, so it was just about formalising it and talking through it with my trainer Carl Belson. It’s meant I’ve had a much closer relationship with him.

“I’ve had Jack for four years and he’s been amazing. I’ve taken him up to 2*. Sadly, he picked up an injury towards the end of last year and damaged his sesamoid ligament and I was rehabbing him and hoping I could get him back. We did a couple of BE100’s this year and he loved it but I decided to retire him from eventing and he is now with a friend who is enjoying hacking him. I owe a lot to him - he’s the coolest dude and the easiest horse to do. He’s only nine so I was devastated, but that’s horses for you.

“I have since bought another horse, a seven-year-old mare by Negro called Roni with lots of potential, but she has big shoes to fill. She is dressage-bred and hasn’t done much other than a bit of show jumping, but she is brave and has a great attitude.

“Having just bought Roni, I will use my The Howden Way training more than ever, because I will want to catch something in the bud before it becomes a problem, and having that extra set of eyes on the ground is really useful.”

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.