Godolphin top the bill on Schools Day

The annual Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships were held today at Hickstead

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Godolphin School enjoyed their first ever Senior School victory at the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships.

The Goldolphin Blue team rode out the winners of the class, which saw 43 teams from schools around the country compete for honours at the famous All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex.

The results were very close, with the winning team of Katinka Brogaard (Bonnie Bright Talent), Imogen Yule (Blitzer Maloney) and Victoria Leabeater (Dulce) finishing on a total of four faults.

Victoria also finished third individually on her Intermediate event horse Dulce. “I’m really pleased with my mare – it’s great to ride at Hickstead and a very nice way of keeping up with my showjumping!” she said.

The overall individual prize went to Miles O’Donnell, 17, from Alton College in Hampshire. Miles has just finished his AS levels, and is a regular competitor at Hickstead. He rode his gelding Chris, who was formerly ridden by top showjumper Tim Davies. “It’s really nice, as we’ve won here as a team but we haven’t won the individual title,” said Miles.

In second place was Grace Turnbull from Churchers College.

In the Pony Club competition, the team honours went to the quartet from Albrighton Woodland Pony Club in Worcestershire. The team comprised Zoe Henshall (20) and her horse Warno; Becca Hanlon (22) and Calcourt Luxurious, Laura Whittington (18) and Hayestown Diamond Lady, and Rachael Willetts (21) and Independence Day.

It was a closely fought competition with three of the four riders producing a clear round to finish on an immaculate score of zero, while the Ledbury Hunt were just behind in second place with a total of four faults.

The team are all regular competitors in showjumping, and were thrilled to be in first place after coming fourth as a team 12 months previously. It was the branch’s first team win in this competition since 1992.

In the Pony Club individual class, nine riders jumped-off for honours. First to go was one of the youngest members of the field, 14-year-old Jack Smith, and he held the lead for some time until Hollie Pearce (17) shaved almost 0.5sec off his time to take the title.

“He jumped incredibly,” said Hollie of her gelding Hilarius. “The one who went in first was really quick, but luckily I had enough control to make the turns.”

In the Junior Schools section, Cowbridge Comprehensive made it a worthwhile trip from the Vale of Glamorgan to West Sussex by winning both the team and individual honours.

Two of the school’s riders jumped clear in the first round, finishing on a team total score of just eight to win ahead of St Mary’s Calne in second place.

Stephanie Brownbill (Ridge End Reberto) and Ellie Thorne (JJ II) jumped off against two other riders for individual honours, with Ellie taking home the trophy and Stephanie finishing in second place.

Ellie competes in JA showjumping with her skewbald gelding, who she describes as a ‘grumpy old man’. “I didn’t expect to win here today,” said the 13-year-old.

Third team member Jade Williams explains that the team are all good friends and have competed as a team at several competitions, but this was their first trip to Hickstead. “It’s amazing to be here, this is the biggest event we’ve ever been to,” she said.

The competition would not be possible without the continued support of Hurstpierpoint College, which has sponsored the Championships for seven years. "It has been a fabulous day of competition and congratulations to those winners, whether teams or individuals," said Headmaster Tim Manly.

"There has been a lovely sense of competition but also sheer enjoyment in jumping at such a historic venue. Whether the riders have won or not, I suspect that they will all be going home with a great set of memories from a fabulous day. It was good to see them all here, whether from overseas or more locally, from the diverse range of schools which compete."

Full results can be found here.

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