PUPILS and staff at a Middlesbrough riding school are celebrating this week following their success at The British Horse Society National Riding School Championships.

An annual event, this competition is open to all BHS Approved Centres and demonstrates not only the ability of the riders, but also the quality and diversity of the horses and ponies, who can happily cope away from home and ‘turn their hoof’ to whatever is required. All competitors must be non-horse owners, competing on horses and ponies on a Riding School Licence.

Regional qualifiers have been running throughout the country since last November, culminating in last week’s championship at Onley Grounds Equestrian Complex, Willoughby in Rugby and sponsored by Champion, producers of quality hats and body protectors.

In February of this year a team of six riders from Robinson’s Equiteach riding school, based at Tunstall Farm in Middlesbrough, qualified for the championships and yesterday, delighted proprietor and instructor Claire Robinson told me how all six riders were placed in the competition last Wednesday.

Overall winner in Class 1 (12 years and under), was Jessie Hooper riding Socks. This class consisted of three parts with competitors having to complete a dressage test, a round of show jumps and also take part in a stable management quiz. As part of her prize Jessie received a £75 BHS training voucher, with Claire, as instructor and riding school proprietor, also receiving two silver salvers and a coveted year’s BHS Accredited Professional Coach membership (APC). In the 18 years and over section, Theo Hopkins riding Hunky Dory was placed fifth with Hannah Bowles also riding Socks, third.

In the 18 years and over Dressage class, Hannah’s mum, Jane Bowles was placed 5th riding Panda, with Emily Power riding Jilly taking 4th place and Kayla Pratt riding Hunky Dory a very creditable 2nd. Kayla is also a member of the Stokesley Riding for the Disabled group which is also based at Tunstall farm.

Karen Hunton