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The British Horse Society

A magical Final to a unique competition

The British Horse Society Equitation Competition for riding school clients

Tuesday 13 April saw almost sixty children complete with horses, ponies, an army of volunteers, and a Royal Princess descend on a tranquil corner of Warwickshire. The reason? The seventh Final of the British Horse Society (BHS) Equitation Competition, sponsored by the Elise Pilkington Trust.

Children qualified for the competition at BHS Approved Riding Establishments, including one centre in Hong Kong! To be eligible for the competition, children had to be riding school clients who did not own a horse or pony. Success at the qualifiers earned them a place at the final, held at Warwickshire College, in either the 13 years and under, or 17 years and under class.

On Tuesday the children demonstrated their skills and abilities in a short dressage test, over a course of show jumps, and in a half hour written theory test, containing questions on horse care and welfare. The Society's President, HRH The Princess Royal attended the day and spent time watching the classes and chatting to competitors. Her Royal Highness then presented training vouchers, sashes and awards to the winning riders and their instructors. Also in attendance was Caroline Doulton, Chairman of Trustees of the Elise Pilkinton Trust. Caroline helped The Princess Royal hand out prizes, and spent time getting to know the children who have benefited so much from the Trust's support.

Winner of the 17 years and under class, Bethany Clench, said "I am very excited to have won my class although it was extremely nerve wracking! The pony I was riding, Native Splash, went really well, especially since she gets as nervous as me during competitions. " Bethany travelled all the way from St Veep Riding School in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, with her riding instructor, Josephine Baron, and riding school pony Native Splash. Josephine said "This is the second time Bethany has been successful at the BHS Equitation Competition Final. Back in 2002 she won the 13 years and under class, and it is just fantastic that she has won in the higher age group. Watching Bethany ride the dressage test brought a tear to my eye, and I am sure I was more nervous then she was!" Owner of St Veep, Ilene Barron, said "It was a brilliant, well organised day, and having HRH The Princess Royal there was just magical."

Winner of the 13 years and under class was Katie Cowan, from Penewin Stables, Saltash, Cornwall. Katie was accompanied on the day by her instructor, Helen Moore, and riding school pony May Sunday. Katie said of the day "It was great fun. I am glad I got to bring May Sunday with me. She was really good and I think she is brilliant." Proud instructor, Helen Moore, said "The competition was really exciting. This is the first year Penewin Stables entered and we just couldn't believe it when Katie qualified. She has only been riding for three years but definitely has natural talent. We are looking forward to the 2005 competition already!"

BHS Chairman, Mrs Pat Campbell, commented "The day ran like clockwork and was a credit to the hard work of staff at the BHS. The aim of the competition is to encourage non-horse owning children to progress with their riding, and this has certainly proved the case today. All competitors should be proud of their achievements, and their riding instructors deserve praise too."

The British Horse Society would like to thank everyone who took part in the Final; the competitors, instructors, judges and everyone who provided horses and ponies on the day. A special thank you must go to the Elise Pilkington Trust, for their continued sponsorship of the event, Warwickshire College, staff at the BHS, and HRH The Princess Royal, for adding a touch of magic.


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