MATT Garrigan and Michal G Duffy are among the 10 young riders accepted into the prestigious Young Rider Academy (YRA) for 2017.
Both Garrigan (19) and Duffy (20) were members of the Irish young rider team that won a team gold medal at the European Championships in Millstreet last summer.
The Young Riders Academy is a programme conceived for European talented young show jumpers, under the patronage of the European Equestrian Federation (EEF), with the cooperation of the International Jumping Riders Club (IJRC) and the support of Rolex.
Founded in 2014 by Athenaeum, a non-profit association, the programme will give talented riders between the ages of 18 and 23 the chance to get six months of training and boarding at a well-known professional stable. On top of that, professional education in communication, business and economics, veterinary and legal practice related to show jumping. The objective is to develop future champions as well as potential managers of this sport.
From Co Dublin, Garrigan will take part in the full programme, which offers a long stay (about six months) of “tailor-made” training and boarding at a renowned professional stable and includes qualified education in communication, business and economics, veterinary and legal practice connected to show jumping.
Duffy, who hails from Co Mayo and is current head rider for Carl Hanley Sporthorses in Germany, will participate in the educational programme. The educational programme team will gather during the year for four or five academic sessions - on the above mentioned topics, and this group will also benefit from YRA support during jumping seasons which consists in clinics, sport training and shows invitations.
Clinics during the year will be held by JMaurice Bonneau, Jos Lansink, Irish chef d’equipe Rodrigo Pessoa and Franke Sloothaak, while the trainers for the full program are going to be Marcus Beerbaum, Rolf Goran Bengtsson, Henk Nooren, Marco Kutscher, Ben Gerco and Wim Schroder. Gianluca Bormioli will also for this edition support the group of trainers.
The riders for the full programme are Francesca Ciriesi (ITA), Matt Garrigan (IRL), Adam Grzegorzewski (POL), Guido Klatte (GER), Andrzej Oplatek (POL).
The riders for the educational programme are Kendra Brinkop (GER), Michael G Duffy (IRL), Niklas Krieg (GER), Karin Martinsen (SWE), Karen Polle (JPN).
In 2017, for first time, YRA will also introduce an official representative for non-European countries : Karen Polle. She is a very passionate and talented girl who wanted to join the team; due to the fact she is from Japan, living in US, and almost 25 years old, the panel decided to include her as a rider ambassador in this year educational program.
Both programmes will meet in Lugano in mid-June for the 2017 program kick off at Franklin University of Switzerland.
In the past Irish riders Bertram Allen, Jonathan Gordon, Eoin McMahon, Jack Dodd and Galway's Michael Duffy have benefitted from the initiative, with Duffy recently describing the experience to The Irish Field as “life changing”.