Millfield has appointed accomplished event rider Mel Wilder as Equestrian Sports Programme Manager, beginning in September 2020. Mel will work with Millfield’s newly titled Chief Coach Danny Anholt, who has been the Director of Equestrian Sports at Millfield since 2000, to help evolve and develop a new approach for equestrian and education at Millfield School.
Students at Millfield will benefit from the pair’s extensive equestrian experience: accomplished international event rider Mel reached international success over 30 years to CCI5 including competing at the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials. Mel has also produced several horses to compete at the highest level with notable success at Blenheim and Bramham Horse Trials. Danny is a Fellow of the British Horse Society and a British Eventing accredited Coach, as well as a Centre 10 Elite Coach, and originally competed in eventing.
Mel brings a wealth of experience in business management having held senior management roles in the Ministry of Defence and British multinational defence technology company, QinetiQ, notably to develop policy and guidance on human performance in military systems. With a degree in Psychological Sciences and a Masters in Research Methods in Psychology, Mel has explored human performance in high stress environments, as well as the effects of physical fitness and mental performance, nutrition and sleep during her extensive career.
At Millfield, the Equestrian programme’s aim is to support young riders in their training and education by providing a programme that will challenge and develop everybody regardless of ability and aspiration.
Millfield School is a unique development environment for young people that provides a dual pathway approach to development in education and sport. Millfield’s Equestrian programme is one of the best combined equestrian and academic school environments in Britain. The Equestrian Centre is certified to train to Fellowship level in the British Horse Society "Where to Train" register and offers training for the British Horse Society Equine Excellence Pathway in Complete Horsemanship as part of the school curriculum.
Millfield’s Livery Yard is BHS Approved and one of very few British schools with equestrian facilities on campus. The school’s facilities include stabling for 53 horses, an indoor and outdoor arena, two sets of BSJA standard show jumps and portable X-C jumps, cross-country schooling fences, an off road canter track and access to gallops, a polo field, an all-weather horse walker and round pen and resident yard staff.
Mel says, “This is an exciting opportunity to be joining Millfield, to raise the profile of equestrianism, develop our young riders horsemanship skills and to ensure we are committed to the welfare of the horses in our care. I can’t wait to get started with the team at one of the premier equestrian facilities in the UK and continue to provide a fantastic learning environment for young people.”