A fledgling horse and rider team have made a spectacular start to their partnership by winning a national event.
De Aston School pupil Georgie Marriott became the 2015 junior 105cm show jumping champion at the prestigious SEIB Trailblazers National Championships at Stoneleigh Park, in Warwickshire.
The 13-year-old rode to victory on her own seven-year-old gelding Murthwaite Blue Boy on her debut at Trailblazers, and after just seven months working together.
Murthwaite, or Smokey as he is known at home, was bought specifically to compete in show jumping. “We qualified at Moorhouse Equestrian Centre and won all of our classes,” she said.
“It was really nice, the course was good with lots of scary jumps but Smokey went really well.”
Riders have to progress through two rounds of qualification, held at 65 venues across the country, to reach the Trailblazers finals, an event which has no registration fees for horse or rider.
Georgie, from Market Rasen, made the three-hour trip to Stoneleigh with her mother and brother, and on the first evening they were given a free masterclass from top international rider, Geoff Billington with useful insights into his training techniques.
She added: “It was really good and gave us some exercises to do at home, but the highlight of the weekend was winning.
“It was raining when I was riding and my reins were slipping, but he just flew over the jumps.
“I was really excited – I’ve always wanted to do a lap of honour. Smokey also got a bit excited and did a few bucks!”
Trailblazers also holds classes in showing, dressage, and combined training. First round qualifying competitions are already under way for the 2016 National Championships.
To find out more, visit, www.trailblazerschampionships.com or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Trailblazers-Championships-Ltd.