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Friday, 27 October 2017

British Showjumping Academy Training

How many of us are fortunate enough to have access to true high quality, experienced coaching?

For me, quality coaching is a given as part of my training routine, and is one of the higher monthly costs I have to owning a horse.

How many of us use an accredited coach, who is insured & regularly takes check on developing their coaching techniques?

But I see so many people opting for non-qualified, inexperienced and crucially, uninsured coaches... We take part in an already dangerous enough sport, so do we need the added complexity of someone on the ground trying to "add value" to our efforts which in reality cause longer term issues or put both the horse & rider in potential danger...

Often, cost can be the issue. Highly experienced trainers come at a cost, however I feel, you need to perceive cost vs value. A 40-45 minute session at £40-45 with a coach seems high against someone offer 1-hour sessions at £20, right? But I look at there qualification, experience AND their accreditation - to which coaching or sporting governing body are have they been put through their paces to develop both their coaching skills and their technical skills...

So, on that note, I have a solution for you... I think it's a good one too (or at least if you like to jump!)

Access to the sports top coaches, in an accredited venue, with other like-minded riders of similar ability, does NOT have to come at a high price.

Take a look at British Showjumping's Academy training in your local area

✔️ You do NOT need to affiliate to British Showjumping 
✔️ Just sign up as a FREE web member
✔️ Check out your local British Showjumping area
✔️ Take a look at the list of trainers available & when they run their Academy training

Did you know...Academy training is aimed at ALL levels of riders? So whether you're just starting out or are jumping 1.20m+, British Showjumping Academies can offer you a solution for all your training needs. 

So, the question that most of use think of straight away... Cost!

Well, in my area (area 12 - Northumbria) Academy training starts at just £25 per rider. Lessons are shared and depending on the venue seems to depend on the number in the group - I guess this must be to balance costs as well as managing the space.

What's my experience?

I attended Academy training with Thomas when the concept was first introduced back in 2013. With Louie's 'individual' needs, I've not ventured back into it and instead opted for the route of private tuition. However, two weeks ago, we headed up to the AMAZING Alnwick Ford venue for some indoor showjumping training.

The coach was my regular showjumping coach, Philippa, but for me it was about being able to go to training in a social environment (there were 4 in my group, including me) and being able to see the different areas of strength and weakness, and how we can each develop as a combination. 

There's actually A LOT you can learn from watching other people's coaching sessions, so that in itself is worthwhile going for. My opinion of course...

From the session, I took away that I needed to remember to keep my hands low and still when I wasn't so certain on the stride, as well as keeping my lower back and pelvis upright but soft when coming to a fence that I anticipate a spooky reaction.

But here's some of the other principles that I saw and learnt from the other riders in my session:
👉 Keep your eye line up - there is ZERO information on the floor!
      It was interesting to see the transition of one rider from looking at the floor to up and how much          more fluid her jumping became!
👉 Handling a horse that becomes keen but long, and how to re-balance and ensure you regain a              punchy canter before the next fence
👉 Seeing the difference between looking early at your fence coming round the corner, particularly          tighter turns, and how that impacts the line you end up taking and the stride you see

Here's a quick clip of us enjoying the Academy training - thanks as always to Andrew for his filming skills!

A post shared by Sophie Tunnah (@sophietunnah) on

For me, like I started off saying, quality coaching is key, no matter what your level. If you're looking to meet similar minded, same level people in equestrian and value the learning you can take from watching others being coached, you should definitely give the British Showjumping Academy a go!

* Disclaimer - I have NOT been paid/sponsored/endorsed for this post. I have genuinely attended an Academy session, and think that the concept of gaining access to high level coaching is highly valuable. 


  1. I am intrigued by the British system of accreditation. Here in the US any random person can hang a sign on a barn and be a "trainer." It's crazy to me. Obviously, people who have resumes with things like Pony Club and winning certain big name shows, etc. can be viewed with more authority.

    1. I think it is slightly different here as you can't easily just get accreditation to a centre through putting a sign up. Coaches over here need recent CPD and insurance in my opinion to have authority...


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