Alicia Hawker has been named as the winner of this year’s Mark Todd Bridging the Gap scholarship.
Twenty-three year old Hawker, who is based near Chippenham and graduated from Bath University this summer, took the runner-up spot for the scholarship last year. This year she showed the judging panel of Gill Watson, Lizzel Winter and Sir Mark Todd, alongside representatives from sponsors Keyflow Feed and The Mark Todd Collection, her improvements through the BE Mark Todd Bridging the Gap training programme in order to secure the prestigious scholarship.
Her prize package includes three individual training sessions plus mentoring from the legendary Sir Mark Todd, a year’s worth of Keyflow Feed for one horse to the value of £1,500 along with nutritional advice and clothing, tack and horse-wear from the Mark Todd Collection to the value of £1,500.
Hawker has had a fantastic season including a top three placing at the Equi-Trek Bramham International CCI3* under 25 and third place in the CCI2* at Hartpury International Horse Trials. And in a few weeks time she will be making her CCI**** debut with Charles RR at Pau.
The runner up spot went to Finland’s Pauliina Swindells with third place going to 2017 British CIC2* European Championship team silver medallist Nicky Hill, who receive £200 and £100 of British Eventing training vouchers respectively for use on the Bridging the Gap programme.
Mark Todd commented; “Choosing our scholar always involves a great deal of debate and selecting this year’s winner was especially difficult. Ultimately however, it was a unanimous decision and we hope that all of our finalists enjoyed the day and took something positive away from the experience – we certainly look forward to following them as they progress through the ranks.”
Previous scholars include CIC2* European gold medallist Franky Reid-Warrilow, Zoe Wilkinson, who was on the same European CIC2* silver medal winning team as Franky in 2015, 2016 Osberton International CCI2* winner Tim Cheffings and 2016 Smith and Williamson Intermediate Champion Alexander Whewall.