Rutland-based owner of JHC Coaching, in Langham, shortlisted for Equestrian Business Awards
A Rutland riding instructor is in the running to be named top coach in the country at a new equestrian awards ceremony.
Jo Holmes-Cole, who runs JHC Coaching in Langham, is among four finalists shortlisted for Instructor of the Year at the inaugural Equestrian Business Awards.
Competition was fierce, with 2,300 businesses and professionals nominated across 14 award categories.
“I think there was a lot of nominations in my category so I’m super proud to be one of the finalists,” said Jo.
“We’ll wait and see what happens on the 22nd, but fingers crossed!”
Jo has been in the business for 30 years, teaching all around the UK, and coaches a broad range of ages from six to 85 and all levels of ability.
Her career in the equine industry began aged 18 when she went to train with Janet Sturrock at her Market Overton yard.
"She was a fellow of the British Horse Society and helped me through my exams," she said.
"I was her head girl for three years and then set up my own business and it's just taken off from there."
She had to give up her own competitive career about 15 years ago because of family commitments.
But this allowed her to pour her energy into teaching all of the equestrian disciplines - eventing, show jumping and dressage.
Among notable achievements this year, a client finished second at the Intermediate Pony Club Championships, and this autumn JHC Coaching will take two teams to the British Eventing Team Challenge.
However, Jo is also keen to develop the rider off the horse, and every six months chooses five riders for mentoring.
"I have really pushed the business over the last year and started mentoring," she explained.
"I wanted to give something back to people who I coach by taking them under my wing because they all support me in what I do.
"We talk about any problems they might have or goals they want to set themselves.
"It's about making better riders with broader skills, but also looking at their mental state because of the challenges that young riders face.
"I have been there myself and there is a lot of pressure to do well."