Young drivers work with the BEF
21 May 2011

Alice Pritchard (left) and Alice Stables

Hi, I'm Alice Stables, I'm 16 and I drive a 14.2 Hackney-x cob at club level and hoping to compete at nationals this year. On the 12th May Alice Pritchard and I attended the launch of the Young Equestrian Leaders Award (YELA) and the first meeting of the BEF Youth Action Group (YAG) at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

YELA is run by the RDA and its aim is to encourage young people to get involved and volunteer to help at riding schools, local RDA centres or any BEF registered centre. You log your hours and get awarded first a bronze, then silver and finally gold for completing a certain number of hours of voluntary work. This award is recognized by universities and is an equestrian version of DofE.

The BEF Youth Action Group is a new project, also run by the RDA. The aim is to get together a group of young people from many different Equestrian disciplines to come up with ideas of cross discipline training and to provide a voice for young people so they will be heard by the BEF.

Alice and I had a wonderful day, meeting other juniors from different disciplines including a show jumper for England and a number of eventers. The day started with tea and biscuits in the British Horse Society hospitality tent, where we were split into groups and had to come up with a solution to a problem: two people were attached by a rope, one wanted to play horse ball, the other wanted to vault. How can we keep both people happy without cutting the rope? We then present our solution to the rest of the group and three judges watched our performances. The winner was a group that invented a new game called vault-ball !

This was followed by a delicious lunch in the member?s enclosure, giving us all a chance to get to know each other better, followed by a tour of the show ground. The day finished with the official launch of the two programmes. Unfortunately Tim Stockdale, a keen supporter of both YELA and YAG, got caught up and couldn't make it! But we all had a wonderful day non-the less.

Alice Stables

BEF Youth Action Group

The BEF Youth Action Group is being set up to allow the BEF Member Bodies to engage with young people from a variety of different Equestrian sports and backgrounds. It will be a sounding board for new initiatives as well as improving current procedures. The group will be given specific objectives and will need to work together as a team to meet them.

A member of the Youth Action Group needs to be:

  • Under 25.
  • Able to work as part of a team.
  • Be able to look objectively at all equestrian sports
  • Be able to attend two meetings per year in Warwickshire, for which there is help towards travelling expenses.
  • Good at listening to other people?s views and be able to give their own.
  • Be able to work logically and methodically through problems
  • Good time management skills.


If you are aged 13-25 you can now get official recognition for doing the thing you LOVE.

The Young Equestrian Leader Award recognises people like you who volunteer in equestrian sports. Whether you help at your local riding school, or give your time to a horsey charity like RDA, you can join the YELA Programme to get your volunteering officially recognised and rewarded by the BEF and Sport England.

YELA is a new and exciting award that has been developed by Riding for the Disabled (RDA) for the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) in consultation with many of its Member Bodies to increase and encourage the number of young people volunteering in the Equestrian industry.

The award runs over three progressive levels increasing from 20 hours to achieve the Bronze standard up to 120 hours to achieve the Gold Standard. The award is open to all young people between the ages of 13 and 25.

They must fully complete an application form and send it back to head office and their log book will be issued to them. No hours may be back dated. Hours may be counted from volunteering with any BEF Member Body ? Please see the BEF website for a full list.

For more information, application forms or centre registration please contact Katy Downing at RDA on 01926 405977 or email

YELA is a BEF programme administered by RDA

Commonly Asked Questions

Does the award cost anything?

All applications received in the YELA office by Tuesday 3rd May 2011 will be free of charge. ALL applications received after this date will be chargeable.

Do I have to be a competent rider?

No, any young person 13-25 can take part in the award and they do not have to ride. I would encourage you to really make the most of volunteering and finding out about all the different opportunities there are available within your centre.

Can I count my riding lesson towards my hours?

No, you can?t count your lesson but if you are volunteering as a guinea pig for a lecture or demo then you may be able to count that. You must notify the office before the event or else we will be unable to except it.

What is the aim of the award?

The award is aimed at encouraging more young people to volunteer across Equestrian disciplines. With all equestrian sports relying on large numbers of volunteers each year it is important we get young people involved, as without them the sports will not be able to continue. By the time a young person reaches their Gold award we would be expecting them to be a competent and skilled volunteer and have some experience of what needs other member bodies have for volunteers.

What do I have to do to complete the award?

To complete the Bronze award you must complete 20 hours of volunteering (evidenced in your Bronze award log book) with a BEF member body. Once completed you will be asked to submit answers to the Bronze level questions, these are questions about your volunteering experience. The questions will reflect the places and activities that you have completed your volunteering with.

What will I receive for completing this award?

The candidate will receive a certificate, a bronze level pin badge and the opportunity to purchase a specially made YELA polo shirt. You will also be able to progress onto the silver award.

I?ve been volunteering for ages can I count previous hours?

No, you may only count hours once you have your log book, an electronic copy can be sent to you if you let the office know that you need it quicker than it will arrive in the post. You are highly advised to phone the office to request this.

Where do the volunteering hours have to take place?

In the first instance you should begin your Bronze award within an environment that you already volunteer in. Voluntary hours may be made up from volunteering with any BEF member body and we actively encourage you to volunteer with several member bodies, although for completion of the Bronze award this is not essential at this time.

Is there an exam?

There is no formal exam but to complete the award we do ask each candidate to submit answers to a range of questions relating to their volunteering experience. These questions may be answered by using whatever means the candidate and/or centre deem suitable.

I am currently volunteering for my Duke of Edinburgh Award, can I use those hours of volunteering to count towards my Bronze award?

Yes, although no hours can be back dated you can use future DofE voluntary hours taking place at the centre or with another BEF member body towards your Bronze award.

Are you on Facebook?

Yes, search for Young Equestrian Leader Award and you will find us.

So what do I do now?

Please fill out a candidate application form and post it back to K Downing YELA Pilot, 1a Tournament Court, Edgehill Drive, Warwick CV34 6LG or alternatively please email who will send the form out to you.

If you have any more questions please do not hesitate to contact the award team on 01926 405977.