Jade Goes From No Jumping to Show Jumping

An equestrian career beckons for one-time horse novice, Jade. For many pupils, leaving school and deciding on a career is a daunting choice to make. For one pupil at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School the decision of what career to follow was an easy, if surprising, one after only two years of studying GCSE Horse Care.

Jade Armitage Hughes, a Year 12 boarder at the School, decided to study at an agricultural college after her GCSE studies. However, it didn’t take long for her to realise that she wanted to be back at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School and the School’s Stables. After a few weeks, Jade returned to the School to do A Levels in ICT, Business Studies, and Horse Management, for which she has a real passion.

Jade explains, “Four years ago I had never sat on a horse. I then decided to do Horse Care for GCSE and everything changed. I found what I loved and wanted to do.”

In four short years, Jade has gone from not having much knowledge or experience of horses to being fully immersed in the day-to-day running of a busy Equestrian Centre and helping younger pupils with horse riding lessons. She helps with the School’s jumping clinics for younger pupils, takes them on hacks around the site, and helps the Yard team with running competitions.

Jade’s enthusiasm for horse care and management has only grown in the few years she has been involved with horse riding, and she is now always looking for ways to help the School’s Stables.

In December, she helped organise a Christmas raffle to raise funds for the Stables. In total, she raised more than £250. This week, she is continuing with her fundraising efforts and is holding a cake sale.

With the funds from the cake sale, Jade has set her sights on giving the Stables a bit more of a “wow factor”, as she puts it. She says, “We have such a great Equestrian Centre with fantastic facilities. When visitors come in, they always comment on the friendly atmosphere but I want them to think that the Centre looks visually impressive, too.” On her wish list? Black gates or an archway for the entrance, which she is working to have installed with the proceeds from her fundraising.

She hasn’t stopped there. She is combining her Business Studies, ICT and Horse Management A Levels to create a brand new website dedicated to the Equestrian Centre. She presented her ideas to the School’s Bursar and Marketing Director, who were impressed with her initiative and knowledge.

The Stables team are equally as impressed with her quick progression from beginner to confident horsewoman. Miss Irini Economou, Stables Manager, said, “When Jade came to the School as a non-rider a few years ago, she threw herself into the Yard, helping as much as possible. Her riding has come on tremendously and when out competing she looks like she has been riding for years. Jade has a lot of enthusiasm for not only her own riding and horse knowledge but for helping other pupils with theirs.”

The easy access to the Stables has allowed Jade to develop her riding abilities. She has been actively encouraged by the Stables team to continue to improve her riding by pushing herself and taking part in a number of competitions. One such event was the Felbridge Unaffiliated Show Jumping competition, where Jade rode three of the School’s ponies and placed highly even though she hadn’t planned on participating. The day before she had taken part in a dressage competition.

The four years she has spent helping at Stables have had a big impact on Jade’s career plans. Jade says, “I want to spend my future working with horses. I would like to stay on at the School and work in the Stables full time after my A Levels. I love what they do and the vision they have for the type of Equestrian Centre they want to be. ”

Headmaster, Paul Spencer Ellis, said, “It is always a pleasure to see a student thrive in an environment that nurtures their talents and passions. Jade has proven to be a dedicated and determined young lady who has come on leaps and bounds in a field she clearly loves.”

12 March 2015

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