National glory for young riders
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A TEAM of young equestrian stars from Teesdale are celebrating after being crowned national champions.
Lia Broomfield, Samantha Morgan, Harriet Hodgson and Ella Gibbon were crowned SEIB Insurance Brokers British Riding Clubs Winter Junior 80 champions at Arena UK in Lincolnshire.
The Barnard Castle and Teesdale Riding Club (BCTRC) quartet had qualified for the championships after winning their area competition.
In addition to the team success, Lia finished fourth and Samantha was tenth.
Also at Arena UK, the club's junior dressage team of Jessica Smith-Straughan, Polly Nicholson, Sasha Cowie and Cara May Riley performed well to finish tenth nationally.
In the individual competition, Sasha was fifth, while Arlene Frater was seventh in the senior dressage individual event.
BCTRC's Lezley Aldrich said this was the latest in a long list of successes for the club.
Other notable performances at the Arena UK championships included a second place nationally for Ben Ward in the Junior 70 competition; the Junior 80 team was 12th, with Aaron Clarke 11th individually; the Junior 90 team was also 12th; and the Senior 80 team was 14th.
Recent combined training – which includes dressage and showjumping – saw junior riders Scarlett Atchinson, Polly Nicholson, Jessica Smith-Straughan, Aaron Clarke, Sophie Bowes, Ben Ward, Ruby Sheridan, Sammy Morgan, Saffie Atchinson and seniors Robyn Whitton and Samantha Deer Qualify for the Northern Championships, at Bishop Burton, in August.
At Alnwick Ford, in Northumberland, the club’s Grassroots Junior 50cm team of Hannah Straughan, Pippa Morgan, Martha Gibbon and Jade Sumner-Smith came second, as did the 70cm quartet of Millie Hodgson, Pippa Atherton, Sophie Bowes and Zara Bowden.
The 80cm team of Ruby Sheridan, Amy Bowes, Samantha Morgan, and Sasha Cowie went one better and won their event.
The senior 80cm foursome of Sarah Clement-Dawson, Sarita Linck, Skye Knox and Jessica Townley also won, while the 70cm team of Charlotte Curnow, Nikki Lawson, Jemma Wood and Jeremy Harland were second.
Ms Aldrich said: “Team manager Kelly Clack works tirelessly to bring teams together and deals with all the paperwork that goes with it as well as competing herself, but with willing parents, partners and volunteers everything comes together and regardless of the results, the atmosphere is always great.
“The club encourages riders of all abilities to have a go and we hold regular flatwork, polework, dressage and showjumping clinics at Houghall Equine Unit from grassroots upwards.”
The club also hosts intermediate showjumping with Sarah Tubbs, at Marwood Equestrian Centre, Barnard Castle, and dressage with various instructors during the year.
Ms Aldrich said: “ Our summer league dressage and winter league show jumping, organised by Clare Martin, have been instrumental in preparing many riders for area competitions and ultimately qualification for championships, giving some their first taste of competition of any sort.”
Details of all our events, clinics and lessons are available online at www.bcandtrc.co.uk.