We can confirm a re-brand to ‘The Wesko Equestrian Foundation’ as part of our expanding commitment to young riders wishing the sport of eventing.
The re-brand looks to not only honour a passionate connection with Christina Knudsen, whom the Foundation was founded in memory of, but of her former horse and 5* eventing champion Wesko. Now under the ownership of the Foundation, and campaigned by Tim Price (NZL), Wesko was shortlisted for both the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.
As an organisation, our bottom line has always been learning. But learning is the investment of a lifetime and a process that never stops, and although the Foundation was named in good faith after the property that Ms Knudsen owned, we have become increasingly aware of the complicated history of this name.
One of the primary lessons that aspiring professionals under the Foundation’s tutelage learn is that to progress, you have to own and accept the wrong turns made along the way. As such, we’re retiring the name of Windrush and moving forward with Wesko as our figurehead.
As we continue to expand the newly rebranded Wesko Equestrian Foundation, our plans include the furthering of the Outreach Programme, which initially will see increased collaboration with the Brixton-based Ebony Horse Club, an excellent initiative that allows children from a diverse array of backgrounds to experience the joys of riding and horse care. For many of these children, the name ‘Windrush’ doesn’t evoke pastoral scenes of upper-level equestrian opportunities, and nor should it – instead, it refers to the generation of Caribbean expatriates who arrived in Great Britain in the decade following the Second World War and played an enormous part in rebuilding their adopted country’s economic system, often facing unspeakable discrimination and racial violence along the way.
Even now, the Windrush generation faces ongoing trauma, leaving many elderly people without access to social services and, in many cases, facing deportation over the past decade. Our decision to step away from our former moniker is one made out of respect to the Windrush generation and their descendants, many of whom we hope to welcome into our programme in the coming years. Our intention has never been to detract from their stories.
The Outreach Programme’s most recent step to support The Ebony Horse Club will see the Foundation facilitate a day of lessons and interaction with world number 3, and Foundation ambassador, Tim Price. The Foundation looks to pledge further support to the true grassroots of eventing, whilst also looking abroad to those young riders from emerging nations looking to gain access to the sport of eventing.
Alongside the addition of the Outreach Programme, the Wesko Equestrian Foundation is also extending its support to young event riders with the introduction of the Young Eventers Pathway.
The Young Eventers Pathway launches 15th – 16th March where the Foundation will welcome upwards of forty young event riders (between 21 and 28 years of age) to a funded training day at the British Showjumping Training Centre, Hothorpe. Riders will benefit from expert coaching from Philip Surl, Richard Waygood and Nikki Herbert, along with gaining access to the Foundation’s wider support team.
The goal at the heart of the Foundation continues to be, bringing increased education and training to talented young event riders to support their futures, with the welfare of the horse and rider at the heart of the programme.
The Wesko Equestrian Foundation has played a key role in supporting the careers of several young riders over the past 3-years, including the recent successes of Blenheim Palace International CCI4*L winner Yasmin Ingham (GBR), and 3rd placed Susie Berry (IRL).