A team from the local Handcross Park School were victorious in the Junior Schools’ competition at the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships at Hickstead (3 August).
The trio of Bryony Martin (Golden Liberty II), Brooke Tusler (Elliot I Am) and Lorna Breen (Dorrito) were the only team to produce three clear rounds to take the title.
Lorna is following in her parents’ footsteps - her father is top Irish international showjumper Shane Breen while her mother Chloe (nee Bunn) is also a successful rider as well as being the daughter of Hickstead founder Douglas Bunn. The family lives at Hickstead Place, so the win came on home turf for the young rider.
“I have had Dorrito for a year now, and he mainly does showjumping,” said Lorna, 10. “Winning today was better than watching daddy's wins here!”
Her teammate Bryony was delighted to win on Golden Liberty II after a difficult few months. “This is the first time we have won here and it is made so much more special by the fact that the pony I was riding was hit by a car in December and is now winning at Hickstead. He escaped from his stable and ran onto the main road, thankfully he is fine now,” said the 12-year-old rider.
Brooke, 11, was back at Hickstead with her pony Elliot I Am just a week after competing at the Longines Royal International Horse Show. “I rode here last week in the Winter 128cm Championship, but it is just as special to win here. Riding in the International Arena is so exciting,” she said.
In the Junior Individual competition, 14-year-old Grace Gardner from Cowbridge Comprehensive School came out on top in what was a very close jump-off. Only 0.6sec separated the top three riders, with Grace finishing less than three hundredths of a second faster than Charlie O’Dwyer from Newbridge College in Kildare in second place, and just ahead of Lingfield College’s Lauren Caroline in third.
Grace’s win came courtesy of her 16-year-old showjumper Brillview Quelle Surprise, with whom she has qualified for the Pony Club National Championships. “We rode here last year as a team but came 10th – I never expected to win,” she said.