BEF boosts its World Class performance team

5th May 2017

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is delighted to announce the appointment of two new team members for its UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Programme team - Georgina Sharples and Caroline Griffith.

With these appointments, the team is now close to completion and is well-placed to build its fresh approach to delivering international success, with plans already underway for this summer’s European championships and the 2018 World championships.

Georgina, who is currently Head of Performance with the British Paralympic Association (BPA) will take up the role of Head of Performance Support. This is a newly created position, supported by the English Institute of Sport (EIS), with the specific remit of ensuring we give our equestrian athletes, both human and equine, access to the best vets, medical support and leading-edge scientific developments to give them the best chance of winning.

Georgina brings with her extensive experience, having previously worked with British Gymnastics as Trampoline Programme Director in 2009, and with the BPA since the Beijing cycle, first as Performance Manager and more recently as Deputy Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016.

On the appointment Georgina says; “I’ve been involved in high performance sport for more than twenty years as an elite athlete and in a variety of Performance related roles and am passionate about the challenge of continuously improving performance. It is an extreme privilege to have the opportunity to combine my experience with the vast array of knowledge currently within the BEF.

“My involvement over the years with the BEF and the para-dressage squad in particular, leaves no doubt about the talent and determination of the equestrian disciplines to deliver world leading performances in an increasingly competitive arena. This role provides an exciting opportunity to ensure performance support is optimally aligned and achieves maximum impact in support of athletes’ performance ambitions. I am very much looking forward to joining the team.”

Caroline Griffith, current lead co-ordinator for the equestrian World Class Podium Potential Programme, becomes World Class Dressage Performance Manager, and in a change to the structure of the dressage Programme for the Tokyo cycle, will oversee both Podium and Podium Potential squads.

Caroline has worked with the dressage Podium Potential squad since 2003, becoming lead co-ordinator for the Programme in 2013, and has also overseen the dressage Equine Pathway since 2010. She takes over the role at an exciting time for the sport, having enjoyed huge success, with team and individual Olympic medals returned from the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Caroline says; “I am absolutely thrilled with this appointment; it’s a huge honour and privilege to be working alongside such talented athletes and their teams. It’s particularly exciting to be able to work with both Podium and Podium Potential athletes, to provide consistency across the pathway.

“The levels of experience across the Programme are very different, and it’s very important to me to be able to personalise the support and structure for each athlete, owner and their home teams. This opportunity won’t be without its challenges as we look to build on our previous success, but it’s an incredibly exciting time for the sport and the athletes.”

Clare Salmon, Chief Executive of the BEF adds; “Georgina’s appointment supports our vision to gain inspiration and insight from other sporting disciplines, to drive our sport’s future success. Her knowledge of elite sport, combined with a passion for equestrian sport and her sports science background will ensure our squads receive the best support.

“Caroline’s transition to a new role within the Programme highlights our commitment to building greater continuity across our talent pathway. Her work to date with the World Class Programme and British Dressage will provide a fantastic support mechanism for our athletes, as we look to build-on the teams’ success. We are now in the final stages of confirming the World Class Programme management team, with the final major role, Head of Pathways, currently being recruited.”

Jason Brautigam, Chief Executive for British Dressage said; “We are delighted that Caroline will be taking over the reins from Dickie as the Performance Manager for the senior dressage team.  She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position, having already worked closely with our Podium Potential squad for many years – and in this newly combined role we can ensure that there is a joined up approach as we continue to develop our international team riders of the future.  In many ways it’s the start of a new era for British Dressage, following the retirement of Valegro, but there are plenty of reasons to be excited about our prospects over the next cycle as we aim for further medal success.”

Both Georgina and Caroline will take up their roles later this month.