HORSERIDER Charlotte Stockdale from Rushden has started training alongside the Brazilian Olympic Eventing Team.
Charlotte, 24, and fellow amateur rider Sarah Hawkins, 42, were chosen from more than 80 applicants to take the two places on the Scotts of Thrapston Rider Development Programme.
The programme, which is run with the Carlton Horse Trials, aims to encourage grass-roots riders to improve their riding standards and skills by giving them expert training and advice from professional coaches, including British Eventing accredited coach Nick Turner.
Mr Turner, who has been involved in the programme since it began three years ago, also offered the two winners the chance to train with the Brazilian 2012 Eventing Team, as he is the team’s performance manager for the Olympics.
The eight-strong Brazilian team, which includes a doctor and an aeronautical engineer, is based in Bedfordshire, where the Scotts of Thrapston Rider Development Programme is run.
The training programme has been designed to give monthly clinics and workshops covering all aspects of competition preparation for Charlotte and Sarah alongside the Brazilian squad, including dressage, show jumping, cross country and looking at improving focus and mental strength with sports psychologist Charlie Unwin, and fitness sessions with personal trainer, Greg Sellers.
Charlotte and Sarah have just started training, which will end with them competing at the Carlton Horse Trials in July on the same day the Brazilian team take on the Olympic course in London.
Charlotte said: “I’m so excited to be taking part in this programme, with all the wealth of experience and knowledge it offers, I’m very much looking forward to me and my horse taking part in our first British Eventing event later this season.”