Matthew Burns

NATIONAL DRESSAGE CHAMPION GEORGIA RETURNS TO SEDBERGH FROM NSEA CHAMPIONSHIPS

Over the weekend of the 21st to the 24th October, Sedbergh School competed at the National Schools Equestrian Association Championships (NSEA) at Addington International Equestrian Centre in Buckinghamshire.

The team returned with a national champion in Dressage, Georgia Turner, from Cheshire, and individual selection for England in the Nations Cup, for Darcey Wilkinson.

NSEA has been running for 25 years and is the biggest inter-school riding competition in the country. This year almost 1000 riders from 79 schools competed. The event attracts the most talented school riders and offered Sedbergh a real test of its young equestrian set up.

Our team came away with at least one placing in each class, making us one of the top eight schools in the country. 

Sedbergh qualified teams and individuals in three disciplines, jumping with style, show jumping and dressage. This was the culmination of a year’s hard work through various qualifying events. Sedbergh put forward two very strong teams, one from the prep school and one from the senior school, both teams coming away with top national results.

Our team included: Scarlett Holden, Grace Gale, Alicia Newing, Laura Holley, Jack Rigal, OS Storm Straker, Georgia Turner, Elizabeth Gale and Darcey Wilkinson (Captain). 

Some of the results included Scarlett Holden finishing 7th in the 75cm Jumping with Style, and our Jumping with Style Team come 4th out of 37 teams in the country, with more than 150 riders.

The team tackled a challenging and twisty course with tremendous confidence and maturity. The course is split between showjumping and cross country type fences. The riders are not only judged on clearing the course in an optimum time but also on their style of riding. 

Showjumpers Grace Gale, Alicia Newing, Scarlett Holden and Storm Straker came 3rd out of 48 teams (250 riders) which was an incredible achievement where they went on to jump in the top 10 final and came 9th.

Senior showjumping team members Elizabeth Gale, Storm Straker and Darcey Wilkinson gave a strong performance against some of the best riders in the country, resulting in a very credible 6th place. 

In Dressage, Georgia (R), a former Terrington Hall prep school pupil, rode Isa and came away with a score of 81.20% and as the National Champion. Georgia won a beautiful rug, sash, rosettes and plenty of stash as her prize.

Darcey Wilkinson competed in the Novice dressage where she came 3rd with 73.03%, another excellent result. She was also selected to represent England at dressage in the Nations Cup event against Wales and Scotland. Darcey and the rest of the England team won the competition and also came away with rugs, sashes and rosettes.

On the final day the Senior Team competed in the very competitive 100cm jumping with style. This class had 100 riders and 25 teams, meaning they had to step up their game in order to be placed in the top eight.

The team flew round the course and collected great scores putting them in 4th place as a team. This was a fantastic result considering how many teams were entered. Storm in particular pulled through as an individual with a stylish yet quick round giving her 4th place individually.

Storm then produced an exciting and fast round in the 100 cm show jumping which she won in the outdoor international arena with the quickest time of the day.  This qualified her the final which was phenomenal to watch where she got the fastest time again with her jaw dropping angles but sadly had a pole down so just missed out on the National title.  

After the event Sedbergh’s Equestrian Captain Darcey Wilkinson said “This is a tremendous set of results for both teams and I am really proud of the dedication  and commitment that got us here.

Equestrian is a very new sport for Sedbergh but one I feel can grow into something that showcases all that is good about our school. We have already seen so many potential new students considering Sedbergh because of our equestrian team which will help us grow and strengthen our squad over the coming years.

I would like to thank the Headmaster and Bursar for their continued support and special thank you to Faye Barker, who is the driving force of the team. Finally I would like to thank all the parents who acted as Transport, Finance and Logistic Managers and not least as grooms to the ten horses we took to this event.”

Follow Matthew: