We are delighted to announce the winner of the inaugural Champagne Pol Roger Novice Event Rider Bursary.

Zoe Etherington was selected from a competitive pool of over 300 entrants, for her unequivocal drive, coupled with her recent successes, which marked her out as a hugely promising rider, with an exciting career ahead. Zoe responded to the news “I feel so honoured to have been chosen as the winner of the Pol Roger Bursary, from a panel of Eventers whom I idolise! It feels like a dream come true and I cannot wait to see what this season holds!”

Zoe currently balances her time between studying for an MA in Economics at the University of Edinburgh, with her lifelong passion for horse riding and Eventing.

Over the past four years, Zoe and her horse Rafnae have embarked on a mission to break into the Eventing circuit. Together they have progressed from BE80 and Preliminary dressage, to completing their first season at Novice and Elementary dressage and most recently, completing their first Novice at Tweseldown. We hope that, with our support in 2018, Zoe will be able to realise her ambition of competing in a 1* event.

As the winner of the Bursary, Zoe will receive a £2000.00 stipend from Pol Roger Ltd. which will go towards event entry, training, stabling costs and associated travel costs; an invaluable support in this extremely costly sport. She will also receive branded clothing and a rug and stable cloth for Rafnae. However, where this bursary goes above and beyond financial support is with a series of masterclasses, provided by the great and the good of the Eventing world, including Pol Roger Ambassadors and Equestrian Team GBR members Harry Meade and Laura Collett, as well as Lucinda Green MBE, former Three-Day Event rider, who includes six victories at Badminton Horse Trials amongst her successes.

Pol Roger recognises that some of the greatest equestrian athletes have risen to an elite level in the sport even with limited financial resource. It is our hope that this bursary will support Zoe, a talented, young rider, for a year on her way to a successful Eventing career. Paul Graham, Business Development Director, Pol Roger UK, has said of the announcement “We had an excellent response to the initiative launched in 2017 to find a rider committed to pushing forward at novice level to their first CIC/CCI 1*, the applications were diverse and committed, it gives me great pleasure to announce Zoe as the 2018 beneficiary of the first Champagne Pol Roger three-day event rider bursary.  Owing to the amount of entries, selection took a bit longer than expected and quality surpassed our expectations, I am delighted we are able to offer Zoe such a unique package of support.” 

Lucinda Green, Olympic gold medallist and world champion three-day event rider, said of the bursary “I am thrilled to be a part of Pol Roger’s initiative to drive some support out to an area that does not see too much support in the main.  I wish Zoe all the best in her year and look forward to offering support where I am able.”

The selection panel included:

  • Paul Graham – Pol Roger UK
  • Harry Meade – International event rider
  • Laura Collett – International event rider
  • Lucinda Green – International event rider
  • Victoria Thirlwell – Stitched equestrian, owner and event rider
  • Sarah Heseltine – Creative Director and founder, The Gaitpost
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