Hello everyone, my name is Constance Copestake and I am a 23 year old British based French event rider and I would ;like to introduce you to The Windrush Foundation. I have a string of horses ranging from very green three year olds to seasoned 4* eventers.
I am very lucky to be based on the family yard in Lincolnshire and will be writing to you from here on a regular basis to share all of our Windrush news over the coming year.
The Windrush Equestrian Foundation was set up in the memory of Christina Knudsen, who had a huge passion for eventing and who wanted to help young aspiring event riders in their quest to the top of the sport. This fantastic programme has a 360 degree view in that it not only focuses on riding and training for competitions, but it also encompasses all the attributes you need to run a successful equestrian business. With this programme we have the unique opportunity to work along side and be mentored by the amazing Pippa Funnell, both at Windrush training days and at events.
I first heard about the programme on social media and I was immediately attracted to all that it offered. After coming out of the French Youth Programmes at 21, it’s a big leap into the Senior world which is hugely competitive. I thought that the opportunity to have the support of somebody like Pippa and all that the Foundation offers would help ease me through that transition.
Having applied, I was thrilled that I had made the last ten. I did however think, “oh well, it was nice to be considered!” when I looked down the list and saw that I was in very good company!!
A few weeks passed and the final ten riders were asked to attend a selection day down at The Billy Stud with one of our own horses. The fact that Pippa had won her second Burghley title the day before made this particular day pretty special!
First up with The Windrush Foundation was an interview with the panel of Yogi Breisener, Alice Fox-Pitt, Darrell Scaife and a board member from the Foundation. It was pretty nerve wracking as it was my first attempt at an interview but I needn’t have worried as they were all so welcoming and friendly and instantly put me at ease. The interview lasted half an hour and I was asked an array of questions ranging from my background with horses to my future ambitions. Afterwards, we were required to ride and jump in front of the panel with our own horse. This was much less daunting than the interview and I was really pleased with how my little horse jumped. That night I knew that, regardless of the outcome, I had given it my best shot and then the anxious wait for the results started. I tried to keep myself busy preparing for my next event at Blenheim Palace but it was always in the back of my mind.
The day for the announcement arrived but we were told that the decision had been delayed by a few days, which highlights how difficult it must have been for the panel to decide as we left for Blenheim not having heard.
I kept passing Pippa in the lorry park and the stables and was never able to answer her question of “Have you heard anything?!” She was as in the dark as us!! The Thursday afternoon I had a phone call from my mum who had just seen the announcement on social media that I had made it onto the programme!! I’d missed the email telling me I was in. To start off with I thought she was winding me up! The next time I passed Pippa, I was quite pleased to be able to answer her question. Being selected gave me such a boost and was definitely a real highlight of the week.
The programme officially starts at the end of November and I can’t wait to go down to Surrey for four days and begin. This will be when we have our first training sessions with Pippa at her yard together with three full days of classroom based work.
You can hear about our first few days in next months’ magazine!