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BD Youth Foundation Academy: Sarah Gormley


My name is Sarah Gormley, I am 18 years old and a member of the BD Youth Foundation Academy and I’m delighted to have been selected for the National Academy.

My horse is called Illusion IV (Alfie), he is a 6 year old, 17.2hh KWPN by Don Tango B x Jetset-D, whom I have owned for nearly 2 years. He’s a big horse who has taken a while to mature so we only started competing in April 2019. Together we have progressed from novice to medium, have qualified for the BD Winter Regional Championship / BD Winter Championships and Petplan Area Festivals. Currently our week consists of dressage training four times a week, two days hacking or pole work and then one day off, however, Alfie will have a light day before a competition day. Before a show, Alfie will get washed the night before, especially in winter with all the mud, then plaited in the morning before we set off. He’s still quite inexperienced and can be a bit nervous at shows, so we make sure he has plenty of time to warm up and get comfortable with his surroundings. In the Novice Winter Regionals we was a little disobedient but came home with 68+% and 6th place, but I know we can do much better. Our competition aims for 2020 are to qualify for the BD Summer Nationals at Medium and compete at the BD Youth Home International.

Alfie is a very good doer so is currently fed Dengie Alfa-A Original with a high spec balancer, linseed oil alongside ad-lib hay. At the BD National Academy he weighed in at 610kg and has a BCS of 3 which is ideal. Dengie Performance Horse Nutritionist, Claire Akers, advised on adding electrolytes to Alfie’s diet, especially as (hopefully) the weather gets warmer. The advice given to me and the other academy members has made a big difference, keeping it simple and thinking fibre first ensures that Alfie is fit, healthy and ready to perform.

Alfie’s confidence is improving with every outing, his revised diet is also helping him physically and mentally with the demands of training and competing. We had only our second go at a Medium test last weekend and gained 69+% and a second place; I’m so excited for the coming season!