National Schools Equestrian Association Championships

Pershore High School riders are flying high after their most successful National Schools Equestrian Association Championships ever.

This year saw the most amount of girls ever being part of the Pershore team with 15 riding over the three days. They had all qualified in various disciplines and heights at competitions locally throughout the year, having to come in the top two to qualify. Just to have qualified was a massive achievement considering the amount of schools that take part locally.

The team got off to an amazing start in the 1.10m Team Showjumping Competition with Sophie Rushton (18), Jess Thomas (17), Ellie Gilkes (16) and Grace Plowman (14) all riding beautifully to be the only team to finish on zero faults in a super-quick time. They won the class in style, beating ten other teams to the title.

From the points earned throughout the year in regional competitions, the team had finished in second place in the Regional Points League and so qualified to compete in the final at the championships.

The team was made up of eight members, with two to jump at each height – 70cm, 80cm, 90cm and 1m. Karus Robinson (14), Mouse Robinson (13), Gemma Williams (15), Georgina Kilmister (14), Lily Elliott (13), Emily Cooper (16), Lauren Carpenter (14) and Jess Thomas (17) made up the team and gave it their best shot but did not finish top of the table despite two lovely clear rounds from Gemma and Georgina.

Karus had also qualified for the 80cm jumping with style championship class as an individual and rode a lovely round on a stand-in horse as her’s had gone lame.

Sophie Rushton, Lauren Carpenter and Grace Plowman had all qualified as individuals to jump in the 1.10m showjumping competition on Friday afternoon which was amazing in itself. Sophie and Lauren both had an unlucky four faults but finished 13th and 20th respectively in a national competition. Grace rode a beautiful clear round in a quick time to qualify for the jump-off in the evening and came a fantastic seventh.

Saturday saw the team of Ellie Gilkes, Erin Hobbs (14), Emily Cooper and Hannah Cartwright (16) compete in the 90cm showjumping championship against 51 other teams.

They rode speedy, accurate rounds to qualify for the jump-off in the evening. The team were fantastic and gave it their all to finish in tenth place in the country. Lauren Carpenter also competed as an individual in the class but missed a top of the table place.

On Saturday there was a pumpkin special 90cm class which anyone at the championshios could enter. Hannah Cartwright and Emily Cooper ride fantastic clear rounds, with Hannah securing a speedy second place.

Pershore’s only rider to qualify in the dressage competition at the National Championships was Holly Scrafton (16) in the individual novice dressage competition and, as her own horse was out of work, she was very lucky to secure the ride on Debbie Fitzpatrick’s Atlantic Flight.

Holly rode a beautiful test on Saturday to come fifth but was not placed in the championship class despite a beautifully stylish round.

Grace Plowman and Lauren Carpenter also competed in the 1.10m jumping with style class in which they not only had to go clear and within a set time, but were also judged on their riding in terms of position, use of aids and approach to fences as well as use of the arena, with Grace finishing in a fantastic fifth place.

For the first time, Pershore had qualified a team in the 1m jumping with style as well and the team of Sophie Rushton, Jess Thomas, Grace Plowman and Lauren Carpenter all jumped technical and well timed rounds to finish second, which is an amazing achievement.

Sophie Rushton and Hooray Henry were also competing as an indiviudal in the class and went on to win and be crowned national champions in the 1m jumping with style. Nobody deserves this accolade more and the way that Sophie conducted herself and rode in that class was truly special.

To finish off the weekend in style, the two teams of girls gave it everything in the first round of the National Schools 1m showjumping class against the best schools in the country.

They went quick and clear and were the only school to qualify two teams into the jump-off in the top eight in the afternoon. Lauren Carpenter also rode as an individual and put in the fastest clear time of the day to go through to the top eight in first place.

They gave it their all in the jump-off and the team of Sophie Rushton, Jess Thomas, Grace Plowman and Charlotte Albutt (16) finished in third place nationally and the team of Lauren Carpenter, Ellie Gilkes, Erin Hobbs and Jess Thomas finished sixth despite a mix-up on times meaning they had no warm-up. Lauren was eighth nationally as an individual.