2021 BYD Round-Up and Plans for this year

13 Jan 2022

by Harriet McEntee

2021 was a big year for the Young Drivers, after the lack of competitions in 2020, this year provided all the junior drivers with the opportunity to compete a lot more. The BYD year started off with the virtual Easter clinic in April, followed by Cricklands training in May. Many of the drivers went on to compete throughout the season at regional and national competitions, in preparation for team selection and aiming to qualify for the National Championships.

There was a great level of confusion regarding the 2021 European Youth Championships, with venue changes and a lingering question of whether COVID would once again disrupt the championships. However, every member of the team remained positive and in July the BYD training proved a great success. The 11 attendees enjoyed working with Sara Howe and Roger Campbell (the junior team trainers) in the days before the BYD Championships, which were held that weekend. There were many new faces at this year’s Summer Clinic.

Photo: Amy Mundell

The BYD Championships proved popular, with 13 competitors across the 4 age categories. The classes were hotly contested, and for a few of the new drivers it was their first 2-day event! This year’s National Champions were Phoebe Matthews (Class A), Harriet McEntee (Class B), Megan Wheeldon (Class C) and Amy Mundell (Class E).

A few of the team drivers attended the British National Championships at Ashfields as a last run-out before the European Youth Championships, both Phoebe Matthews (1st) and Amy Matthews (2nd) competed in the VIP class, and Harvey Clegram-Brown as Reserve Champion in the Open Horse class. The BYD selected drivers also hosted a dog show and welly-wanging to fundraise for the European Youth Championships, which was a huge success!

The drivers selected this year were: Isabelle Brunner and Phoebe Matthews (Children), Sophia Routledge, Amy Matthews and Katie Cameron (Junior) and Harriet McEntee, Harvey Clegram-Brown and Megan Wheeldon (Young Driver).

Photo: Amy Mundell

After a long build-up of preparations and fundraising, the European Youth Championships were upon us. The team travelled together from Dover, stopping over in Reims for one night before a second day of travel to Sélestat, France (near the Swiss/German border). Arriving on the 24th August the team settled in, with a day’s rest and training/preparation before the first day of dressage on Thursday, followed by Nations Night. Friday was comprised of dressage for the juniors and young drivers as well as obstacle walking.

Marathon day was enjoyed by all, with a few of the drivers getting the fastest times for their class in some obstacles, the final day of the competition was Sunday, where the team each drove impressive rounds, notably Megan Wheeldon who was 3rd in the Young Drivers class. Everyone representing the team drove to the best of their abilities throughout the competition and performed well in every phase. The team secured 4th place overall, an incredible result seeing as it was 7 out of 8 drivers first international event.

This year was Mary-Jane Campbell’s final year as the team’s Chef d’Equipe, without whom it would not have been possible to organise this years Championships, and who has been a continued support of all the junior driver’s for 14 years. We are delighted that she will remain involved in the BYD programme and thank her for all of the time and effort that she invested into the team.

Photo: Amy Mundell

Looking ahead to 2022 we have the excitement of preparing for another European Youth Championship, which will be held at Kisbér-Ászár, Hungary. Most of the team are aiming for selection again next year, with many hoping to progress with their driving at National and International events in the future. There will be another British Young Drivers Clinic in Easter, which will be a chance for the drivers to catch up and set their goals for 2022.

Harriet McEntee