Pippa on top form in USA

STOCKTON rider Pippa Allen helped her team to victory in a ‘Battle of the Sexes’ competition in Florida this week.

The 20-year-old, from Stainsby Grange Equestrian Centre in Thornaby, was invited to join the team of women at the annual event held at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Centre.

Allen’s team included one of the world’s leading riders, the USA’s Laura Kraut along with Nicole Bellisimo, Danielle Goldstein, Brianne Goutal, Lauren Hough, Maggie Jayne, Catherine Passmore and Debbie Stephens under the guidance of team captain Candice King.

Team GB London 2012 gold medal winning rider Nick Skelton was on the men’s team accompanied by Stefano Barcho, Mark Bluman, Lorenzo de Luca, Todd Minikus, Richie Moloney, Samuel Parot, Shane Sweetnam, Hardin Towell and team captain Charlie Jayne.

With both teams having to perform across a speed phase, match competition and a six bar, the competition had been looking set to be a victory for the boys.

But when Catherine Passmore was the only rider to jump clear in the second round of the six bar, it was the deciding performance that snatched the title proving girl power was still alive and kicking.

After the event, Pippa said: “This is my first year in America and it was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like riding into a football stadium and afterwards everyone was coming up to see us.

“It was so much fun. I am really, really happy that I was invited to compete.

Girl Power is so much fun, all being together and cheering each other on like this.

What I’ve experienced is something I’ve never experienced before and I feel so lucky.”

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