After a successful season competing at National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) Qualifiers around the country, the girls had secured nine championship qualifications and St Mary’s was represented on all four days of the NSEA Championships at Addington Manor.
Although cold, the sun was shining over Addington for the first day of the championships. The team of Alice, Beatriz, Flo and Maddie were all first timers at the championships and we all very excited when we got there early in the morning. As the competition progressed, it was clear we were going to have to be fast and clear to ensure we qualified for the final that was to take place later in the day. The girls really did pull out all the stops and, after a nervous wait, they had finished in 6th place out of a staggering 34 teams! After walking the final course it was clear it was going to need some tactical riding. The girls held their nerve and finished in 6th place - a fantastic way to end a very long day.
The Sunday was a busy day with our teams having qualified for the 90/95cm show jumping and the 90/95 JwS competition. The team of Abbie, Charka, Lila and Elizabeth arrived early as we needed to make sure both courses were walked before the girls started working their ponies in. Both courses were proper championship tracks and were going to encourage bold but careful riding. The girls just missed out on finishing in the top ten in both classes, however Lila, on her second individual ride with Chiddock Spot Check, qualified for the 90/95cm final jump off by finishing in the top ten. The fences were raised for the final jump off and Lila jumped a fantastic round to finish in 3rd place in the 90/95cm Show Jumping Championship.
The Monday saw the turn of the 1m/1.05m JwS championship, the team of Abbie, Betsy, Effie and Lila all completed a very tough course and they finished just outside the top ten. The last class of the championship was the 1m/1.05m SJ. After a long weekend for her family, Lila really did end the weekend in style by winning the class and being crowned the NSEA National Champion!
It is tough to qualify for the NSEA Championships, classes are often full to the brim with only two going through from each qualifier. To achieve the results the girls did really shows how consistent they have all been this season.
Thank you to all of the parents who made it possible for the girls to compete, it was a long way to Addington and without their support it really would not have been possible. 2016 has been a fantastic year for the riders at St Mary’s and we are sure we will continue to build on this success in 2017!