HIGH HOPES: Charlotte Merrigan Martin was crowned British dressage champion in her class on her horse Volatis Diva. She hopes to represent Team GB
HIGH HOPES: Charlotte Merrigan Martin was crowned British dressage champion in her class on her horse Volatis Diva. She hopes to represent Team GB

A 17-YEAR-OLD horse rider from Teesdale has been crowned British champion in her class on a horse that has only competed in a handful of dressage events.

Charlotte Merrigan Martin triumphed in the British Dressage Under 25 National Championship on her horse, Volatis Diva, at Sheepgate Equestrian Centre, Lincolnshire, late last month.

The Barnard Castle School head girl was up against about 120 entrants in her class during the event but said she pulled on her experience with her other horses to get the best out of Volatis Diva.

The Stainton village resident said: “This is her first season in dressage.

“She has only done seven dressage competitions.”

The achievement follows on a string of successes this summer, which included passing through the semi-finals of the PetPlan Area Festival, at Alnwick Ford, in July and advancing to the final, which is due to take place in October.

Also in July she competed in the British Horse Society's Royal International Horse Show, at Hickstead, where she emerged as reserve amateur champion and was the highest ranked junior.

Sam Turner

From there she “nipped over” to New Forest where she qualified her other pony, Solaris Dwenqua, for the prestigious Horse of the Year

Show.

The teenager, who hopes one day to represent Team GB, began riding as a

toddler and was crowned overall national skewbald

and piebald champion on

her pony Brookfarm Heaven Scent in 2014. Her mum, Clare, said: “She was 13 at the time, which is quite an achievement.”

Subsequently, she has been junior Coloured Horse And Pony Society champion on Solaris Dwenqua for the past two years.