Equestrian

Army Equitation Association Back In Saddle After Lockdown

The British Army team has returned to training in Tidworth, as one of the first sports to return to the military calendar.

The Army Equitation Association have returned to training as the British Army welcomes sport back from an enforced break due to coronavirus.

Equitation was one of five sports that were allowed to come back, as revealed by the Army Sport Control Board.

Since then, the team have returned to training at their base in Tidworth and explained some of the changes they have made since coming back.

Captain Amy Lambert is the Army Event Team Manager and she revealed that they have been reluctant to do too much due to the squad's other commitments to fighting COVID-19.

"It has been really difficult actually," she said.

"Some people have had other taskings when it comes to COVID-19 and the response to it.

"We’ve been quite careful with jumping the horses and trying to do too much because we don’t want to put pressure on the NHS.

"There’s been a real difficulty just trying to keep on top of it all really."

Capt Lambert was expecting big things from the team this year, but has seen her plans delayed due to the break.

"We had great plans this year," she said.

Preparing the horses to return has been a big task for the Army team.

"We wanted to get the horses to an international at the end of the season.

"Unfortunately, because of what has happened, that will all be delayed by a year.

"We are able to get the riders out competing towards the end of the year to get training up and running ready to start fresh next year."

Corporal Sarah Karim is the Army Dressage Team Manager and she compared preparing a horse's return to that of an athlete.

She said:" It’s a bit like an athlete really. You have a conditioning phase which is normally about six weeks long where we reintroduce the horses quite slowly back into their baseline fitness.

"For the next four or five weeks, we start introducing the specialist training.

"It’s the same for the riders as well. We have to bring them back into conditioning and we have a PTI that helps us with that.

The Army riders are aiming to return to competition by the end of 2020.