Equestrianism: Florence prepares to make the jump up to international level

Florence Marriott, who attends Beechwood Sacred Heart School, is taking part in the Scottish Home Pony International at the National Equestrian Centre in West Lothian.

Her mother Lucy van den Broek said: “We have a few showjumping ponies and she competes all over the country on the premier circuit with the best of the best.”

Last year she won the 11-and-under national championship in Cheshire at the age of nine, and she also qualified for the Mini Major at Olympia and the Horse of the Year Show.

At the latter showpiece at the NEC Centre in Birmingham she jumped in the 128 Championship – the number indicates the height of the fences. “It was an amazing experience and every little girl’s dream,” said Lucy.

Florence comes from an equestrian heritage, and Lucy said: “I used to showjump and my mum rode too, so horses were in her blood.”

‘Quite often she does her schoolwork on the way in the [horse] box. Her school is also very understanding’

She has three ponies, called Gelvin Castle Grey, Spotify and Havana van Dyversputten, and she competes every weekend and also rides several times during the week.

“Quite often she does her schoolwork on the way in the [horse] box,” admits Lucy. “Her school is also very understanding.”

STABLE RELATIONSHIP: Florence with Havana, a new pony from Belgium

After her England debut she will try to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show and Olympia again, as well as the Liverpool International.

Looking further forward, she is setting the bar high. Lucy said: “She wants to compete successfully abroad and hopefully be on the young riders England squad eventually.”

“As a single mum, I am very proud of what she has achieved,” she added. “Every penny goes on the ponies, hence I juggle working full-time with the shows and horses, which is equally a full-time occupation!”

Lucy is keen to hear from local sponsors who want to help fund Florence’s ambitions. For more information contact lucyvdb1975@yahoo.co.uk

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