A BRAND new equestrian team has ridden into the national finals at their first attempt.

The four-strong team of riders from Allertonshire School, Northallerton, were the first team to compete in the National Schools Equestrian Association’s qualifier.

Thanks to a string of clear rounds in both indoor cross-country and show jumps they maintained their lead until the very last team competed and pipped them at the post.

But a well-earned second place in the 70cm show cross class was still enough to qualify for the national competition, which will be held in Addington Manor, Buckinghamshire, in October.

The team comprises Ben Williamson, 13, Abbey Kirkwood, 12, Amelia Trueman, 13 and Ella Kitchen, 11.

It competed successfully against riders from across the county at Northallerton Equestrian Centre.

Deputy head teacher Mel Websdale said: “They have all been riding for a while but this was the first time they had competed together as a school team.

“They all rode really well as individuals but also pulled together as a team.

“They only came together at Easter and we hope their success will encourage other riders to come forward to represent the school.”

Ella said: “I was still getting used to my new pony but was pleased with how we all performed.

“It was disappointing to come so close to winning but we are through to the nationals, which is the important thing.”