Young Richmondshire riders win at National Arena Eventing Championships

Four young Richmondshire riders have won at the National Arena Eventing Championships.

The team of four from 3 Valleys Riding Club took part in the British Riding Club Area 2 Arena Eventing Qualifiers at Richmond Equestrian Centre in February

The competition consisted of an 80cm course of seven show jumps immediately followed by a course of cross country jumps including steps, a ditch and water complex and finally the Joker Fence set at 90cm.

The object of the competition was to complete the course with least number of penalties in a time closest to the optimum time based on a speed of 350m per minute.

After a tense afternoon of competition against other riding clubs in the area, the team of Samuel Worsdale on Rolo, Zara Scott-Priestley on Brynn, Lucy McGrath on Vicky and Violet Schaible on Sannanvalley Spangle won, being the team with the least number of penalties.

Individually, Samuel won, Zara came fourth, Lucy came fifth and Violet came eighth, with all of them jumping clear and just picking up a few time faults for going too fast.

The win qualified the team for the National Arena Eventing Championships which was held on Sunday at Aston le Walls in Northamptonshire.

The team made their way to the championships the day before and their ponies spent the night stabled at the venue.

After a team course walk, they decided that they needed to ride slower than their qualifying rounds, so that they did not incur the reverse time penalties for going too fast.

Zara and Brynn were the team trailblazers going first and did a steady clear round, but they had gone a bit too slow and incurred 13.6 time penalties.

The course was very testing and other teams were being caught out, with some of their members being eliminated.

Next to go were Lucy and Vicky with another clear round and just five seconds from the optimum time, with just 2.4 time penalties to add.

The team were now in contention for a placing.

Next to go were Samuel and Rolo who unfortunately rubbed a pole in the showjumping section, but had a super round over the rest of the course to finish a little over the optimum time for 5.2 time and 4 jumping penalties.

The team were now lying in third place. Last to go was Violet with Spangle who rode a stylish, but steady round and they managed to finish 3.4 seconds under the optimum time giving them 0 penalties and securing the win for the team.

Ruth Coates, from 3 Valleys Riding Club, said: ” Well done to the team, they did exceptionally well in a very tense and competitive atmosphere, they were probably the youngest team there.

“The junior category is for members who are up to 18 years old, 3 of the 3 Valleys team are still at primary school.

“It’s a massive achievement for such a young team to be national champions.”