What is the Windrush Equestrian Foundation?
Equestrian enthusiast Christina Knudsen’s wish was to create a foundation which would give young, talented riders the opportunity to achieve their dreams of becoming professional eventers. With the Windrush Young Eventers Programme we aim to seek out natural talent, support young riders in their training and education, develop their skills and increase their confidence by offering them a pathway to support themselves not only in the sport, but also in business.
The Foundation’s purpose is to offer all-round training and education to our riders with the intention of setting them up for long, successful and profitable careers in the eventing sector.
Thanks to the Young Riders Academy, based in Switzerland, our riders have unprecedented access to high quality education centring around Sports Psychology, Team Building and Management, Business and Economics, Marketing and Promotion and the Legalities of running a business.
The Windrush Equestrian Foundation was founded in April 2018 in memory of Christina Knudsen and her passion for eventing. Christina was diagnosed of a very rare form of cancer in November 2016 and passed away in July 2017. Christina’s passion for eventing and her horses was so big, as through the sport and her horses she had found great healing. This passion, together with her determination, was showed as she was still competing only 2 months before leaving us.
Tim Price – World Number One and Windrush Ambassador:
Christina was also the very proud owner of five-star winner and firm fan-favourite, the KWPN gelding Wesko. Ridden by New-Zealand eventer Tim Price, Wesko was hot favourite for a medal at 2016 Rio Olympics, but sadly had to pull out shortly before due to injury. Fortunately, Tim and Wesko returned to eventing in 2018 and the dynamic duo are now the official ambassadors for the Windrush Equestrian Foundation. Riding and competing Wesko as a tribute to Christina, Tim couldn’t love the special little gelding more.
“I don’t think I’ve had another one like him, it’s so much fun having him back and having the chance to ride at the top levels in Christina’s memory again.”
How Pippa got involved:
We are very fortunate to have Pippa Funnell, Burghley winner 2019, three-time British Olympic medallist, winner of the much-coveted Rolex Grand Slam of Eventing and three-time winner of Badminton as our programme mentor & trainer. Pippa’s involvement with the Young Eventers Programme began right at the beginning. With more than 35 years in the sport and openly sharing the same passion as is at the core of Windrush’s mission, Pippa’s main focus through the development and delivery of individual programmes, training & management is to ensure our riders understand the individuality of each horse and that the horse’s welfare is absolutely paramount.
Susie, Mary & Alex:
The 2018 riders, Susie Berry (IRL), Alex Kennedy (UK) and Mary Edmundson (UK), have been very busy this year. The 2019 world-class education programme, available to our riders through our collaboration with the Young Riders Academy, started with the incredible opportunity to visit the CHI Geneva 5* Show Jumping Show where, apart from learning about a whole host of veterinary subjects, communication and economics, they also had the opportunity to watch elite competitions such as The Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final. The following sessions in the programme took place in Lugano as well as Lausanne, where they had the opportunity of visiting the headquarters of the FEI.
Having achieved outstanding results this season our riders have all made us very proud. Susie Berry won the Intermediate class at Rockingham International with John The Bull and the pair were also 2nd in the CCI3*S at Burgham International. Susie was listed for the Irish Eventing Squad for the 2019 European Championship and is on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic team long list as well as partnering top ride Stonedge as part of Team Ireland in the CCI4*L at Aachen. Mary Edmundson has enjoyed many lower level wins along with a top 6 finish in the CCIYH2*L Tattersalls on Porridge Town and a top 20 finish with DG Maradona in the CCI 4*S at Barbury International. Alex Kennedy finished in the top 5 in the CCI3*U25L at Tattersalls & top 15 in the CC2* S at Belton International Horse Trials on Global Milchem JJ.
Class of 2020:
We are thrilled to announce that we have four new riders on the full programme and three riders on the part-time programme.
Having the unenviable job of whittling down our applicants was our selection panel of Yogi Breisner, BE World Class Performance Manager for 17 years, Alice Fox Pitt, journalist, media professional and wife to Olympic medal winning event rider William, Darrell Scaife, Team GB eventing selector, Philip Surl, Team Manager to the Eventing Nations Cup teams and Emma Chesworth (Windrush Equestrian Foundation).
“On the back of having such a fantastic weekend at Burghley, all I wanted to do was rest and soak up the win, but I was surprised at how refreshing it was to meet such a great bunch of enthusiastic and talented young riders and how much I look forward to being able to pass on much of what I’ve learned and experienced over the last 30 odd years. It makes me feel even more passionate about my role as a mentor and trainer of the Windrush Equestrian Foundation”, says Pippa Funnell.
Following a tough selection day held at Pippa and William Funnell’s Billy Stud we are thrilled to announce that the following riders will be joining us this year. On the full programme:
Connie Copestake, FR
20-year-old International event rider Connie is based in South Lincolnshire and was 2014 British National Junior Champion as well as a member of the 2015 French Young Rider European Squad. Connie has 7 horses, her top horse El Kolibri is competing at Blenheim International this week.
Will Furlong, UK
Will is based at the family farm and was 2015 Individual and Team Young Rider Europeans Gold medallist and U25 British National Champion 2017. Will convincingly stepped up to CCI5* level last year posting an impressive clear cross-country round at Badminton in the Spring.
Alicia Hawker, UK
Having successfully moved through the British Eventing Pony, Junior, Young Rider and CCI3*-S programmes, Alicia is now competing internationally at CCI5*. She rode for the first time at Burghley two weeks ago finishing 16th with her top horse Charles RR.
Max Warburton, UK
Based at the family farm, near Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, International event rider Max has an impressive string of 12 horses. He hopes to make his Team GB debut at the 2020 CCI3* European Cup with further aims of competing for this country at Senior Team Level.
On the part-time programme:
Yasmin Ingham, UK
Current 2019 U25 British Champion Yasmin has enjoyed a number of high-profile top results since her first National Title in 2013. Claiming Individual and Team Pony European Gold medals as well as National Junior U18 and Young Rider U21 Champion titles, Yasmin stepped up to CCI5* in 2018 in style finishing in 16th.
Lorenzo Monachesi, Italy
Based with FEI World Number One Tim Price and wife Jonelle, Lorenzo moved to the UK from Italy to pursue his Eventing career. With his sights firmly set on an Italian Senior Team place he is currently competing at Intermediate and CCI2* level.
India Wishart, UK
Oxfordshire based 21-year-old event rider, India represented Great Britain at the Young Rider European Championships in 2016 and posted an amazing top 10 finish. Alongside her Eventing career, India is also a 1st Class Honours Graduate from the University of Birmingham.
We are very much looking forward to seeing the progress our new team of riders make over the next 12 months.