Set in 2,000 acres of North Yorkshire countryside, Ampleforth College prides itself on its outdoor curriculum and the new Equestrian Arena is the latest addition to the sporting facilities available to our students. The College has a proud history of Equestrian athletes; a number of former students have achieved great success in the Equestrian world including Michael ‘Mouse’ Morris (W66), Peter Savill (J65) and Thomas Tate (O65), all involved in the racing industry and Lissa Green (M07) and Christopher Bartle (A69) in the Eventing world.
Christopher Bartle officially opened our new waxed sand/fibre 60 x 40m Outdoor Arena in 2018, which was installed by local company Hymas Arenas. The Arena, which includes Dressage and Show Jump facilities, enhances the opportunities for day and boarding pupils to train and prepare for the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) and other events. Currently, we have riders representing the school in Eventing, Show Jumping, Dressage and Jumping with Style Competitions. Training with specialists is arranged for the students, providing them with every opportunity to succeed in their chosen discipline. Joe Whitaker (Show Jumping) and James Somerville (Eventing) are regulars in the Valley passing on their expertise to the students. The installation of the Arena demonstrates the school’s commitment to developing and nurturing the confidence and competency of our equestrian teams.
Christopher Bartle, British Eventing’s High Performance Coach also holds Masterclasses for students. Two students receive a number of lessons from Christopher each year, which are paid for by the College.
The College have a number of up and coming British Eventing stars in Lucy Barker, Issy Saxby, Jemima Fawcett and Louis Pern. Lucy, who is in her final year at Ampleforth, is juggling her academic lessons alongside producing young horses. She currently competes three horses - Inique (Dinky), Riverview Calvin Candy (Candy) and Tic Tok Teddy (Teddy). Lucy has produced Inique from a 5 year old and she is currently competing at Novice level, with the aim to move up to intermediate shortly. Dinky is a little mare who Lucy is really excited about for the future. Candy is a relatively new ride who is just gaining experience at Novice at the moment. Teddy, Lucy’s main horse who she has brought up from jumping 90 tracks to Intermediate, heads to Belsay International Horse Trials in May 2021 for the junior 2*L. Lucy is hoping Teddy (and herself of course) will be selected to represent the Northern team at the U18 National 2* Championships in July 2021. Lucy is grateful that she has the opportunity to ride her horses either at school or at home during her games and activity periods. Without these opportunities, producing her horses to this level would not be possible.
The school have a busy equestrian team who, despite the Covid pandemic and the national lockdowns, have qualified to compete at Hickstead International Horse Show, The Royal Windsor Horse Show and the NSEA National Championships in October 2021 at Addington.
Eliz Cook, Equestrian Manager, is delighted in the way the teams have worked hard around the pandemic, to keep their horses fit and ready to go once they were allowed to compete again. The Arena at the school has never been busier since they students returned to site.