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’s nine riders receive competition funding, coaching and expert training through its Charitable Foundation.
Staff at the firm, which employs 97 in four offices in Sheffield and Barnsley, say the the investment is already paying off. Three members have qualified to compete at this weekend’s Chatsworth Horse Trials.
It is one of the most prestigious events in the equestrian calendar.
Louise Brown, 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 10 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 some of them 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 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 charitable foundation was launched in 2014, to celebrate its 25th year, to support grassroots sport, business growth, charities and social enterprises.
Having joined the equestrian set, the firm has launched an equine section within its sports law department to cater for the 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 include one-star class rider Katie Patrick, a 19-year-old university veterinary student from Chesterfield.