Success for school equestrian teams in prestigious national events

MENTORS: CooperBurnett Partners Joseph Oates and Victoria Sampson, with young rider

EQUESTRIAN teams at Beacon Academy and Uplands Academy have been making waves recently in the prestigious National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) competitions and events, leaving a trail of triumph in their hoofprints.

At the NSEA Grass Roots and RPL showjumping event at Duckhurst Farm in Hawkenbury in December, Year 10 Uplands Academy rider, Kelcey, with her pony, Buddy, secured second place in the 80/85cm class with a quick, clear round, and then went on to take first place in the 90/95cm class. Year 11 rider, Claudia, also completed a clear round in the 80/85cm class with her pony, Billy, but missed out on a place in the top six.

At the NSEA Grass Roots and RPL Showjumping event at Hadlow College in January, riders from both teams braved the cold winter breeze to compete in different classes against riders from other Kent and Sussex schools including Chailey School, Kent College, Wrotham School and Claremont.

Beacon Academy riders in Years 7 and 8 competed individually and in teams and showed their prowess in the competition.

Tassy, Emily and Ezzie achieved first place in the 50cm class while Beau, Tassy, Emily and Ezzie secured first place in the 60cm. Individually, Ezzie won the 50cm, with Emily coming 2nd and Tassy 6th, and Beau came 2nd in the 60cm.

As a result all the riders have successfully qualified for the championships at Hickstead Showground in August.

Back in November, four Beacon Academy riders competed in the NSEA Grass Roots Showjumping Qualifiers at Sands Farm in West Sussex. Ezzie (Year 7), Tassy and Emily (both Year 8) came out on top as a team in the 50cm class, while the youngest team member, Ezzie, came fifth individually.

Dr Tara Mayhew, Equestrian Team Manager at Beacon Academy, said what had impressed her most was how older students were mentoring and supporting the new Year 7 students who had joined the equestrian team this year.

Since May last year, Tunbridge Wells-based law firm CooperBurnett LLP have sponsored the equestrian teams for both MARK Education Trust schools.

Cooper Burnett Partner Victoria Sampson commented: “Mentoring is so important here at TeamCB, so it’s wonderful to hear about it being mirrored within the equestrian teams at both Beacon and Uplands.”

Reflecting on her rider’s latest achievements, Dr Mayhew told the Times: “Our grassroots riders are a small group, but so supportive of each other, and all riding so well.

“All of the riders are looking forward to more competitions in the Spring, and Olivia and her horse, Charm, won their class at the County Individual Qualifiers at Golden Cross this month, and have qualified to represent the county at the NSEA Inter County Finals.”

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