TOM McEwen may train at the complex run by perhaps the greatest eventer of all time, but he still sees selection onto the World Class Development Programme as integral in the development of his fledgling career.
The 21-year-old, who is based at Sir Mark Todd’s Badgerstown stables near Foxhill, was announced last week as one of 45 riders included on the British Equine Federation’s elite development list for the next two years.
While he may get the chance to watch Todd, the FEI Rider of the 20th Century and multiple Olympic gold medallist, in action on a regular basis, McEwen stressed that the benefits of the specialist coaching and facilities available to him as part of the WCDP cannot be scoffed at.
“Staying on the programme was a big thing for me because there are a lot of good riders there – luckily, I’ve managed it,” he said. “The programme is important because it’s a lot to do with us and not just our horses.
“With a lot of things, you’re always worrying about your ride and making sure that things don’t go wrong with them but the programme teaches you about things that you may not usually think about.
“We’re not really professional athletes like someone like Mo Farah and we’re made to think about things like nutrition and physiotherapy.”
Having completed his young rider career, McEwen will be focusing solely on senior eventing in 2013 and he cannot wait to involve himself in the larger occasions on the sport’s calendar.
“Last year was a really good one for me and it was important because I’m now stepping up a level,” he said. “It was my last year as a young rider and it’s all about the senior level now. It’s going to be tougher but I’m looking forward to it too.
“I’m aiming to try and do well at the big competitions this year – that’s what my focus is on. Badminton is always one to think about and then there’s Burleigh too.”