A city law firm has leapt into the equestrian arena after discovering its employees are crazy for horses.
Wosskow Brown has formed its own equestrian eventing team - thought to be a first for the provincial law industry.
Team Wosskow Brown launched last February and its nine riders receive competition funding, coaching and expert training thanks to the Wosskow Brown Charitable Foundation.
Staff at the firm, which employs 97 people across four offices in Sheffield and Barnsley, are proud to see the investment is already paying off as three members of the team have qualified to compete at this month’s Chatsworth Horse Trials.
This is one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian calendar and there are hopes some of the team could one day go on to compete for Great Britain in the Olympics.
Louise Brown, the firm’s human resources manager, said: “I’m so proud that three members of Team WB will be competing just yards from our hospitality area.
“It’s a tremendous achievement for them to make the grade.
“We don’t know of any other provincial law practice supporting an equestrian team in this way.
“We launched it after discovering last year that ten of our staff have for the sport - and swiftly realising that while at a professional level there is lots of sponsorship for eventers, for local amateurs there is absolutely nothing.
“Our long-term aim is to develop the talent of local equestrians combining their sporting ambition with their careers or education.
“We have great faith in our team and hope one day some of them may go on to achieve Olympic status.”
Paralegal Annie Everard, who started at the practice as a 14-year-old on work experience and is a keen eventer, is a member and driving force of Team WB.
She said: “The upkeep and training of the horses, competition entry fees and travel and transportation costs really add up.
“People assume horse-riders are from privileged backgrounds but many are not and those are the people Wosskow Brown want to support.”
The company’s own charitable foundation was launched in 2014 to celebrate its 25th year anniversary to support grassroots sport, business growth, charities and social enterprises.
Having joined the equestrian set, the firm has now launched an equine section within its sports law department to cater for the vast and often complex legal field of the horse industry.
Litigator Richard Dale will specialise in horse sale agreements and disputes, riding accident claims, livery agreements and stud contracts for stallions, mares and vets.
Team WB members competing at Chatsworth on May 15-17 include one-star class rider Katie Patrick, a 19-year-old university veterinary student from Chesterfield.
She praised the law firm for supporting her through their charitable foundation.
Katie added: “The extra training the foundation has provided will definitely make a difference to our performance but so will the fact that we go into the ring with less financial worry on our shoulders. We will be aiming to make our sponsors proud.”
Former Great Britain competitor and dental hygienist Sarah Healy, aged 42, of Bamford, will also represent the team at the trials.