EQUESTRIAN: Harry’s ‘Tank’ ride one to remember
WEST Littleton’s Harry Meade celebrated his inclusion in British Equestrian Federation's World Class Development Programme for the third successive cycle by putting legendary National Hunt racehorse Denman through his paces.
Meade, 28, who has been part of the programme for four years, got the chance to take the reins of the 2008 Gold Cup winner at his Church Farm base on Sunday, testing out the jumping abilities of ‘the Tank’, who was retired from racing in December 2011. Denman, famous for his rivalry with Kauto Star, is now under the wing of Membury eventer Laura Collett.
He was brought to Meade at the request of his rider Charlotte Alexander and the Wiltshire star was delighted to get the chance to work with racing royalty.
“I was asked to do a bit of jumping work and a few exercises with him at my place,” said Meade.
“Obviously, the skills that he needs to develop are quite different to the ones he used for National Hunt racing but he was brilliant.
“For a big horse he’s very athletic and he’s got a great brain – it was very nice to get the chance to work with ‘the Tank’.”
Meade says that British riders’ achievements at last year’s Olympic Games have fuelled his ambitions to ride at Rio 2016.
“It’s always a great help and a boost to be picked and it’s a great yardstick to show that you’re still heading in the right direction,” he said.
“We did so well in London (at the Olympics) this summer and that obviously gets you thinking about the World Championships in 2014 and Rio 2016.
“There are some fantastic riders on the programme and it’s very nice to see that the local area is well represented too.
“You get to know everyone locally through going to different competitions but that’s the same as with people from across the country and also with the foreign riders who are based here.
“This will be the start of my fifth year on the programme and the aim is to try and be a part of the British team at as many competitions as I can.”
Collett is also included on the World Class programme.