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NSEA National SJ Championships 2023

A report by Leanne Livall, Equestrian team manager.

An early start on Friday saw the team head to the warm up class for 8am. Olivia was the first rider in and frustratingly just rolled a pole at the penultimate fence for 4 faults. Emily was unfortunately unable to complete her round as she just missed the timing gates. Harriet though produced a speedy clear to take a well deserved individual 9th place out of 70 riders.

A break and some breakfast meant the girls and ponies were refuelled and refocused for their first championship class later that morning. They all performed brilliantly under the pressure, producing quick clear rounds to put them in 5th place out of over 30 teams. With the course causing problems for many others, our clear rounds secured us a place in the overall final later that day. We were thrilled and so it was back to the stables to plait the ponies and get ready.

The Championship final was held in the huge indoor International Arena and the atmosphere was electric! Two large grandstand seating areas – filled with spectators, a restaurant with viewing area, tv cameras, a large commentary box and music playing meant there was a lot for the girls and ponies to cope with. A quick course walk, warm up and final team talk meant they were ready to go into the very busy collecting ring, before being called in to jump. Emily was first to go and flew round, making good time with just an unfortunate glance off the second to last. Quickly corrected and represented, she jumped the last fence clear. Harriet was quick off the mark and made some tight turns to produce a clear round in very good time. Last to go was Olivia and she jumped a sensible steady clear for the team, leaving us with a good overall finishing score. We were delighted to be called into 7th place at prize giving. With so many teams and schools from all around the country coming to compete here, to finish in the top 10 nationally at these Championships is a huge achievement. Especially when our team has only 3 riders and many others had 4 riders per team, to count their top 3 scores.

I am so very proud of the girls and their ponies. They all showed true team spirit and it was lovely to see them encouraging and supporting one another. The ponies were all amazing; jumping beautifully and coping with a stay away and a big atmosphere incredibly well. All three girls were wonderful ambassadors for our school and it was a pleasure to be there working with them.

I have to also say a massive thank you to the parents and support teams at home that help to make these opportunities possible for the riders. It’s quite a challenge to get organised for a stay away competition, making sure horse and rider fitness is correct and that they feel prepared for the competition. Thank you also to Brookes UK for the unwavering support to our equestrian team. The girls were all proud to wear their new logo embroidered saddle cloths and ride for their school.

As always, I am looking for new members to join our team. NSEA offers opportunities to compete at dressage, show jumping and arena eventing. You can even ride your dressage tests at home and upload them for scoring. Jumping starts at 30cm and runs through to 1.10m. Lead rein assistance at the lower heights is also allowed.
Please contact me to find out more as we would love to welcome new members!
Leanne Livall, Equestrian Team Manager