Double win for Wellington at Hickstead

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

Line up pony clubs (c) Julian portch - Copy.jpg

Wellington College scored a double today at the Hurstpierpoint College National Schools and Pony Club Jumping Championships, claiming the Senior Schools Individual and Team titles. More than 100 teams from various schools and branches of the Pony Club across the country flocked to the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in West Sussex for the annual competition, which gives young riders the chance to compete in the prestigious International Arena.

Hannah Mateas partnered the 18-year-old Findas Keepas to win the individual title. Hannah (16) has only had the ride on the former four-star eventer for a few months, but the gelding has a wealth of experience at Hickstead, having previously been placed in the Speed Derby, and he relished the jump-off this afternoon. "All the top riders compete here, so to have won in that same ring doesn't seem real," she said.

Hannah was also part of the winning team, Wellington College's Team A, alongside Georgia Hockenhull and Perry V and Miles O'Donnell and Jozefien R. It was the second year in a row that the school had won the Senior division.

In the Junior Schools section, Godolphin School's Blue Team was victorious, giving the school its first team victory at the championships. Katinka Brogaard (Sprite II), Emma Holmes (No Regrets VIII) and Imogen Yule (Miss Stella Artois) - who are all 14 - finished on a total score of just four faults.

Katinka Brogaard had been the individual winner in 2012, and this time she added the team title to her impressive Hickstead CV. "Mr Sprite is a very experienced showjumper," she said of her gelding. "He's taught me to jump the bigger tracks."

Her successor in the in Junior Schools individual championship was Poppy Blokland and Mr Skips. Poppy normally focuses on eventing with her dun gelding. "We came here last year but didn't do very well, so we wanted to come back and have another go," she said.

A total of 21 teams came forward for the Pony Club championships, with the top eight going through to the final in the International Arena. In the end it was the Beaufort Hunt who finished top, with the team comprising Rachel Stanley (Quidelle Du Reverdy), Leonne George (Skyline II), Mary Spencer (Askan Van Overis) and Jasmine Punter (Clio V).

"To ride so close to the Derby bank is amazing, it's such a prestigious showground," said Rachel. "It's a whole different atmosphere in such a big arena, and cantering around doing a lap of honour with your horse wearing a Hickstead rug is really special."

The individual title went to Heather Larson and Any Time II from the Wylye Valley Pony Club in Somerset. Heather, 20, also competes in eventing up to two-star level.

"To come and jump at Hickstead for the first time and win is amazing," said Heather.

Hurstpierpoint College is the long-standing sponsors of Schools Day. "Hurst is proud to sponsor this competition - it's always a wonderful event with a friendly yet competitive atmosphere. The standard is always very high and it's a joy to see so many schools taking part, and clearly enjoying every minute of the day," said Caroline Bates, Head of Marketing.

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