Teenage eventer challenges for British team

THE niece of an OIympic silver medallist is challenging for selection for the British eventing team, only 18 months after taking up the discipline.

Storm Straker, a pupil at Queen Mary's School, Topcliffe, near Thirsk, will be the youngest entrant in the final selection trial this weekend for the European junior show jumping competition, to be held at Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, later this year.

Storm, 16, won through to the trials in Leicestershire this weekend, after finishing fourth in the under-18 National Eventing Championships.

She had also impressed selectors with her recent performances, which have seen her qualify for the Pony Club Championships and the National Schools Championships.

Her father, Nick, a former winner at Bramham International Horse Trials, said his daughter would ride 15.3hh 12-year-old bay Versace, which her sister Jacquetta had trained, and had been the only northern rider to be shortlisted.

He said she had developed her skills riding with the Zetland hunt and on the family's farm at Caldwell, near Richmond, while she had received support from her aunt, 1988 Olympics eventer Karen Dixon and inspiration from 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nicola Wilson, of Morton-on-Swale.

Mr Straker said: "It is surprising how quickly she has gone through to British eventing, but has put in lots of hours to achieve what she has.

"Storm is a pretty good all-rounder, very brave and determined, although the cross-country is her strongest discipline."

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