EEF launch Equestrian Young Leaders Europe Project

28. Sep 2022 / Category: Press Release

The EEF is delighted to announce the launch of the Equestrian Young Leaders Europe Project (EYLE) following a successful bid for funding from the EU Erasmus+.
The EYLE is based on existing programmes in the Netherlands and Sweden in which children develop personal and leadership skills through work with horses. The role of animals, and particularly horses, in aiding interpersonal skill development, such as communication, assertiveness, problem-solving, and empathy, has been well researched. Recognising the power of the horse to create this social progression, the aim of the EYLE is to provide a structured programme that can be used across Europe, providing a clear pathway for children and young adults to develop themselves.
The programme consists of 4 levels of activities to build a child’s personal development and skills progression. Young children start their program locally at riding schools, focusing on communication, self-reliance, and operational skills. As they age the program will challenge them to expand their activities to regional and ultimately national levels, all completed with a focus on volunteering to additionally build a sustainable talent pool for the voluntary sector. Thanks to the support of Erasmus+ the EYLE participants will also gain international experience and the opportunity to utilise their leadership skills in a range of organisations, ultimately creating a complete progression for our sports future leaders.
The programme will initially focus on a rollout in Hungary, Norway and Bulgaria and be delivered in partnership with their National Federations alongside Sweden, the Netherlands, and the Open University in the Netherlands.
Speaking on the launch, EEF President Theo Ploegmakers said; “This is a fantastic new programme that thanks to the EU Erasmus+ funding, we are now able to deliver across Europe. The EYLE embodies all that we know about the ability of the horse to develop us as people, and the role this plays in wider society. Through the EYLE we are truly able to enrich the experience children have with horses, and create a lasting impact on the next generation of leaders”
KNHS President Cees Roozemond: “The Equestrian Young Leaders Program is a unique program based on a successful concept from Sweden, in which young people are given responsible roles within the equestrian sport and are guided to become independent, reliable, and future leaders with operational and communication skills. The program is a great success in the Netherlands. It is wonderful that thanks to the EU Erasmus+ funding the program can teach many more young people across Europe the skills and qualities needed in life. Especially because the program is around the animal they love so much: the horse”.

Ulf Brömster, President of the Swedish Equestrian Federation: “We are immensely proud of our youth leader programmes which are incredibly important to Swedish equestrian sports. Not only do these programmes help young people gain increased influence, grow and develop, the programmes also really benefit our organisation and our operations. We are thrilled to now get the opportunity to spread this knowledge to other European nations and really look forward to the increased collaboration on youth issues this new initiative will bring”