14 riders and 17 horses, alongside an army of parents, grooms, siblings and friends from the Sedbergh Equestrian Team, travelled to Bedfordshire to compete in the Nationals Schools Equestrian Championships during the half term holidays. Two of the riders in the huge squad were Prep School riders, Tinks Longsworth and Abigail Cass. They did rode superbly at their first nationals, and helped the 75cm show jumping team finish 11th in the UK.
The 5 days of competing at the Nationals were great fun with al fresco team dinners cooked by parents, and there was a huge buzz in the Sedbergh camp. Riders were kept busy during the day, being put to the test against over 100 riders in each class. The stunning fences built by Doodle Jumps asked some serious questions, as the course builder took no mercy, with some demanding combinations and angles. The riders were all aged between 10 and 18 years and they offered moral support and encouragement to each other throughout the events.
Sedbergh were very close to winning three National Titles, and are extremely pleased with their final results. Any finish in the top 10 was tough to achieve, due to the high quality of the competition. The dressage team finished 4th in the UK and just missed out on the National Title by 0.39%; it was neck and neck between the top five schools. Darcey Wilkinson narrowly missed out on winning the demanding Elementary Dressage Test by a margin. Kitty Wieranga ruled the ring with the fastest time going into the huge 1m 10 high show jumping track but, had an unfortunate pole down, to finish 6th. The 95cm show jumping team of Alicia Newing, Grace Gale, Mikki Crossley and Kitty Wieranga withstood the pressure in the final to finish 7th in the UK and showed some unbelievable teamwork on tired horses.
Faye Barker, Team Manager, said “We have worked tirelessly all year trying to gain national qualifications in show jumping, arena eventing and dressage at events all over the North. It was testament to everyone’s dedication that we travelled to the nationals with such a big squad and had qualified in nearly every class. The team demonstrated true team spirit and they returned exhausted but happy.”