Pershore High riders soar to brilliant national showjumping success - The Evesham Observer

Pershore High riders soar to brilliant national showjumping success

Evesham Editorial 2nd Nov, 2016   0

PERSHORE High School pupils are celebrating a prestigious success having been crowned national champions in the 1m showjumping class at the National Schools Equestrian Association Championships at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre in Buckinghamshire.

The championships were held over four days and featured the top schools from regional qualifiers around the country, all competing to try and achieve national champion status.

This year 950 riders took part. The competition is predominantly fought out between the private schools across the country but Pershore High’s equestrian team definitely made their mark this year, qualifying for a number of disciplines but then also being crowned national champions in the 1m showjumping.

The team of Sophie Rushton, Jess Thomas, Grace Plowman and Hannah Cartwright originally qualified at Kings Equestrian in their regional round.

Sadly, Hannah’s horse was lame the day before the championships so Georgina Kilmister, who was already there competing in the dressage team for the school, stepped in and became the fourth member.

The girls were competing against 30 teams and were the tenth team to ride, so they had to make sure they rode clear rounds but as quickly as possible.

They immediately secured a zero score in a good time in the first round to put themselves into the jump-off with the top eight teams in the afternoon.

The pressure was on and they had to go for it. Sophie jumped first and pulled off an incredible round on her eventer Hooray Henry who she rode like a pony, cutting corners but going clear in a fast time.

Jess was next on Cregduff Don, a pony she competes with to a high level in working hunter classes, but they found another gear and again went clear in a quick time.

Georgina was faced with the biggest course both she and her horse Casey George had ever jumped, but the pair were brave and composed and, although they had a few faults, the way she stepped up to the challenge was amazing.

All the pressure was then on Grace to get a clear round and quickly and she did not fail. Her pony, Fernville Max, flew round at amazing pace whilst clearing the fences with ease.

Pershore were into the lead and the teams that followed could not match the zero team score until the last team who also went clear, but could not beat the amazing time set by Pershore’s girls.

In addition to receiving an excellent shield, which will have Pershore High School as the first name engraved on it, the girls were also awarded gillets, hats, water bottles, medals, rosettes, sashes and rugs for the horses, all sponsored by KBIS British Equestrian Insurance.

Being crowned champions was the icing on the cake to a fantastic weekend for the team.

On Saturday, Holly Scrafton, Georgina, Jess and Grace competed in the team dressage competition and again stepped up to the challenge.

None of them are dressage specialists but they rode beautiful tests to finish in tenth place nationally.

Holly finished ffith in her arena and Jess sixth which are fantastic results. Holly then rode a beautiful test on Indian Chief on the Sunday in the individual dressage to finish ninth in the preliminary competition.

The team of Sophie, Ellie Gilkes, Hannah and Grace had also qualified for the 1.10m showjumping competition on the Saturday. Sadly, Hannah could not ride again due to her horse being lame but the team of three gave it their best shot and finished in a fantastic seventh place.

There are not many schools able to compete at this height and to be placed so high in the country is a massive achievement.

Sunday saw the individual speed 95cm-1m competition, open to any competitor who has qualified to ride at the championships.

Seventy riders competed and it was literally a case of being the fastest over eight fences with tricky turns and big fences.

Sophie, Grace and Georgina took part as an exercise class prior to the 1m competition the next day. Sophie went all out as the first Pershore rider and put herself in first place with a clear, fast round which set the standard for the others to follow.

That was until Grace went into the ring and flew round, cutting a good few seconds off the time and clear to win the class which meant a brilliant one-two finish for Pershore.

Pershore team manager Rachel Kilmister said: “It was an amazing weekend and one which I am incredibly proud to have been a part of as team manager.

“There was a huge amount of support for each other by the girls and the hard work and dedication to the sport shown by them and their parents has well and truly put Pershore on the equestrian map.”

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