Selection boost moves Katy towards a European dream
CAISTOR rider Katy Hurst is one step closer to achieving her dream of representing Europe at a Concours International Combiné (CIC) event this year.
The 30-year-old has been training with the European team since passing her initial assessments last year.
She has now made it through to the last 16 of a selection process that will eventually whittle riders down to a final team of six, which will compete at the CIC event, in Austria in July.
But to make it onto that squad, Hurst needs to impress at a series of further assessment days and competitions over the coming months.
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"The experience of training with the European team has been fantastic," said the former Franklin College student. "Last year, there were a few assessment days that we had to attend and then from that they picked who they wanted to continue training.
"There were around 60 horses and riders at the assessments and they've now cut that down to 16 this year and thankfully, we've got down to the 16 that will carry on training, so that's really good news.
"We'll begin training again in February and then they will pick the team of six riders and horses to go over to compete in Austria in July.
"We've got a few training days and competitions for us to be assessed at that are coming up so it's going to be quite full-on, but we're looking forward to it.
"It would be a dream come true to make it into that team. It would mean that I would be representing my country at European level.
"The training will be once a month initially and then, as the selection date approaches, it will become twice a month so it could be a busy period.
"The experience that I've had already has been fantastic – the training and coaching has been fantastic.
"The coaches are all at the very top of their game and everything that I've picked up already will prove invaluable, whatever happens. It would be a huge achievement to make it into the team, but we'll have to wait and see."
She added: "One of the guys that is training was the Chef D'equipe of the Dressage team at the Olympics.
"He's got fantastic status in the sport, so to train alongside him and to get his experience has been fantastic.
As well as gearing up for her European assessments, Hurst has also been busy relocating 13 horses to new facilities at Market Rasen.
One of the stars of the stable has recently qualified for the British Dressage regional finals in February.
Hurst added: "There are indoor schools there, so riding has continued through all of the recent wintry weather, which has been a real help.
"The horse that has qualified for British Dressage is one of our younger horses so that's a really good achievement for him."
Catch Katy Hurst's column every month in the Grimsby Telegraph's Journal publication.