The Howden Way Spotlight Award winner for May is announced

Gloucestershire-based rider Vicky Stacey has been chosen as this month’s The Howden Way Spotlight Award winner for being a super role model and ambassador for the sport as well as showing camaraderie and support to her fellow riders. It was British Eventing UKCC Level 4 coach Marie Ryan, who put Vicky forward on behalf of the Wales & West Midlands academy. Vicky wins a uvex exxential II riding helmet, courtesy of Zebra Products alongside the title.

“From initially meeting and working with Vicky at The Howden Way Regional Academy in January at Coleg Gwent, she has shown real enthusiasm and a desire to learn,” said Marie.

“Following disappointing performances cross country in the previous 18 months at unaffiliated level, Vicky embraced many aspects from the modules around rider position, course riding and rider psychology, and her hard work was rewarded with three solid performances in all three phases at her very first BE event, the BE90 at Oxstalls in April. Alongside her learning, Vicky has been super supportive and encouraging to her fellow riders and I believe her to be a true role model and ambassador for the >sport. Vicky also volunteers at Badminton driving the buggies to and from the stables to the main arena all day.”

Laura Collett said of the winner: “Vicky’s enthusiasm and desire to learn whilst accepting the ups and downs that comes with eventing is inspiring and something we all need to embrace. She is a great role model for what The Howden Way training stands for as she has focussed on the areas which were holding her back and is now reaping rewards. I always say that the eventing family is like no other and Vicky epitomises this in the way that she also helps others as well as volunteering at events such as Badminton.”

Of her win, Vicky said: “I had no idea that someone had even suggested me! I tried one of The Howden Way training days in the winter and found Marie really encouraging and positive. I’d been doing unaffiliated eventing but the draw of Badminton Grassroots was always there, and Marie gave me the confidence to try BE, so I bit the bullet and joined.

“My Irish sport horse mare Autumn has a strong sense of self-preservation and won’t do anything
that she thinks isn’t a good idea, which made cross-country a challenge, but Marie has been brilliant at building our confidence and developing our technique. We’re trying to get qualified for either a regional event or Bicton three-day at the end of the year.

“Our first BE event was Oxstalls – we had a 31.5 dressage, one down in the show jumping and were clear cross-country, but we were so positive we incurred 9.6 time penalties for going too fast! I decided no watch until we could get round cross-country clear, because the time didn’t matter, but she felt so confident and positive that I just rode what I had. We’re having the best time ever!”

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.

Image courtesy of Indy Equine Photography