Former learner Deia White fills us in on what she has been up to since completing the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence, her thoughts for the future and the valuable lessons she learnt.


 What initially made you apply for AASE?

Initially, I saw it advertised on the social media pages run by British Showjumping and I thought what an amazing opportunity, so I applied thinking I’d give it a shot, as worth a try! Not thinking I would be chosen as I’m no world-beater, but I explained I had a young horse to bring with me and thought it would be very beneficial for our training together as it was my first horse off ponies.


What have you been up to since you completed AASE?

Since completing the course I have been working hard on things that I was able to take away from Haddon Training.

Haddon Training opened my eyes to the job roles involved in the equine industry and I began to do my own research.  Since completing AASE I have worked towards the target of taking Veterinary Physiotherapy for equines and canines at Writtle University. I worked hard for my A-Levels and was offered a place starting this year. COVID-19 sadly meant I couldn’t sit my exams but I am still going and completing the 4-year course to become a Veterinary Physiotherapist.

Since lockdown, I have been working as a freelance rider, I put myself out there to gain experience and knowledge and have done a range of work from breaking youngsters, schooling 12.2 ponies, to helping exercise and school top international jumpers! Having Haddon Training’s apprenticeship experience really allowed me to gain beneficial knowledge which has helped me do this. Without the help of what I learnt during my apprenticeship with Haddon Training, I wouldn’t have been so knowledgeable about the industry.


What’s been your biggest achievement in the last twelve months?

My biggest achievements have probably not been riding achievements, but my own personal achievements in my work. I don’t come from a wealthy family which can fund me to get to the top, I have had to work for myself and in the last 12 months, I have worked hard to have some serious training put in place.

I worked as much as I could, to earn as much money as possible, to train really hard with my horses. This has meant my riding has improved immensely and I was lucky enough to have the ride of a new youngster which I have been working with over lockdown with my trainer who is based at my yard.

Now lockdown has eased we have been to our first few shows with great success and lots of double clears already; that for me is the biggest achievement. Fingers crossed for a successful future with my newly built team!


How do you think your apprenticeship has helped you achieve your goals?

AASE has helped me achieve goals in so many different ways, firstly the training with the horses widened my riding skills and Heike Holstein’s dressage lessons completely changed my outlook on flatwork for the better. This helped me achieve much better results with the flatwork knowledge.

The course itself has so many beneficial sides, the work you do involves target setting, which really helps you achieve more when you are working towards something. Then the most important part of the apprenticeship for me, which taught me the most, was the talks to coaches; vet talks, course walks, interview practise, it was all absolutely brilliant. This helped me achieve so many things. With better knowledge of the course designer’s mind, I was able to take so much of that information away and use it in the ring. The vet talk helped me realise more about our horse’s health and I took lots away from that which I still use today.  For example, how important it is to keep electrolytes and salts in the horse’s body when under extraneous exercise. The interview talk was brilliant too in showing us how they’re extremely beneficial and will help you gain followers/customers etc.!


What are your next goals and ambitions?

Future goals and ambitions are much easier to see how I goal set and target set which I learnt from my apprenticeship with Haddon Training! For the older horse, I aim for HOYS bronze league, and for the youngster, I aim to continue her education and young horse classes without rushing her.


 What are the top three lessons you learnt through AASE that have stayed with you?

One has to be target setting, which Targa Hammond really encouraged us to do and it has stayed with me, I enjoy target setting now! Then the course walk with Mark McGowan; that really taught me a lot about how they design it and why which I use in the ring all the time. Lastly probably the dressage/flatwork side of riding, its importance and actually how much of a difference it makes!


 Have you kept in touch with anyone from the AASE programme a year on? 

Yes!  I am frequently in contact with the coaches who were from my group which was Targa and Dee (David). They have been so supportive and helpful since I left Haddon Training, and Targa and I have trained with a few times since I completed my apprenticeship. Corrine Bracken and Chris Hewlett also were so kind and supportive through all of it, and have been in touch, really making it an amazing experience.


Can you sum up AASE?

Beneficial, very fun, and really exciting!

Lots of life skills learnt, many I will use for the rest of my life!


I just want to say a massive thank you to Haddon Training for the opportunity to take the apprenticeship, all the opportunities that also came with it and that I have been offered afterwards.  It has been amazing!