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The British Horse Society

Sixty children qualify for Royal final

The British Horse Society Equitation Competition for riding schools nears climax, and this year has attracted international recognition.

Tuesday 13 April will see sixty children competing in The British Horse Society's (BHS) Equitation Competition, sponsored by the Elise Pilkington Trust, at Warwickshire College in front of HRH The Princess Royal. The children, all riding school clients who do not own their own pony, have qualified from across the UK and, for the first year from Hong Kong, in what is the only competition of its kind.

Accompanied by their instructors, the children will be competing on riding school ponies in a short dressage test and over a show jumping course watched by The Society's Royal President. Each competitor will also sit a half hour theory test containing multiple-choice questions based on horse care and welfare.

Qualifiers are held at BHS Approved Riding Establishments across the country, and this year an overseas BHS Approved Riding School in Hong Kong has supported this unique competition. Competitors can also enter from any licensed riding school, and there are two age groups for the competition; 13 years and under and 17 years and under. Rosettes and training vouchers, to be spent on riding lessons or further training, are awarded up to sixth place, with a cup being presented to the qualifier winners. The riding instructors of the winners are also rewarded, and riders placed first and second in each age group are invited to compete in the Final, to be judged by Jane Goldsmith, FBHS and Margaret Linington-Payne BHSI, BHS Senior Manager for Training Examinations and Approvals. The Princess Royal will be presenting the awards at the Final, which will include a commemorative medallion for every competitor and rosettes to tenth place. The overall winner of each age group will receive a sash and prizes, including training vouchers, plus awards for their instructors.

The last time the final was held, in 2002, the winners came from Berriewood Farm in Shropshire (17 years and under) and St Veep in Cornwall (13 years and under) and both riding schools are represented again. Berriewood instructor Jane Baker has pupils Amira Prescott, Lorna Preece and Holly Thomas with Sarah McGrath's pupil Gillian Coleman all making the journey together. Jo Barron from St Veep will be bringing her star pupils Kim Philip and Bethany Clench, the latter hoping to repeat her success of two years ago although she is now in the older age group.


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