A CHAMPION teenage dressage rider who struggles with a painful spine condition has won support from a local charity.

Emily Clarke Attwood, who studies at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington, is riding into this year's dressage season with confidence after purchasing a specialist £2,500 saddle to help with her curved spine condition scoliosis.

She now aims to build on a successful 12 months that saw her crowned the Northern Region Novice Champion with success at the National Championships this April.

The 18-year-old and dancing partner Gadget received a £500 boost from Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s FAST Fund – Financial Assistance for Sportspeople on Teesside.

“This is a really big year for me and Gadget so it’s fantastic that the Foundation has been able to help me buy this specialised saddle,” said the A-level student.

“The scoliosis means I really struggle with my lower body strength, so I’ve worked with a specialist company to look at how my pelvis is tilting and ways to minimise the pain."

Philanthropic Foundation patron David Carter of Stockton firm Carter Steel helped Emily win the support, having previously sponsored her himself.