A RECENTLY FORMED equestrian team has reached the final of a national schools event at the first attempt.

The Woldgate College Equestrian team of five, whose ages range from 11 to 17, beat stiff competition in two preliminary rounds to qualify for the National Schools Equestrian Association championships in both show jumping and arena eventing.

As a result of Lucy Jones and Loren Barnes, both 11, and 13 year old Aimee

Pearcy winning the 70cm class and the 80cm class at the qualifying round in Northallerton in February, the team will represent East Yorkshire at the Show jumping County Challenge on 20th-22nd April at Bury Farm Equestrian Centre in Luton, Bedfordshire.

The team, trained by Pippa Ireland at Bishop Burton Equestrian Centre, also qualified for the final of the 70cm class in the Eventers Challenge that will be held at Hickstead, Buckinghamshire on 28th/29th May. They qualified when the team, comprising Paige Atkin- Hodgson, 17; Aimee Pearcy, 13 and Loren Barnes, 11 came first in the 70cm class in the qualifier at Epworth Equestrian in Lincolnshire last month.

Mother of Loren, Jo Barnes is delighted with the team's achievements: "At each competition, the idea is to have a team of four riders, with the top three scores taken in to account. Due to illness at both of these competitions, we only had a team of three which means that the girls did incredibly well to reach these two finals."

The team comprises 17 year old Paige Atkin-Hodgson riding Poppy; 13 year olds Aimee Pearcy on Maggie and Olivia Rodgers on Tai and 11 year olds Lucy Jones on Izzy and Loren Barnes on Juno.

The team, all pupils at Woldgate College and Sixth Form, are now working hard to raise the funds needed to cover team kit, travelling and entry fees and an overnight stay for the horses.

The girls have already received generous sponsorship from Britcom for the saddlecloths, Woldgate College for the Cross Country Skins, The Mile - Farm Shop and Feed Shed for the hat silks, but would welcome any other support to raise the entry fees and overnight stabling that they need to compete. A crowdfunding page has been set up and people can contribute by visiting https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/woldgate-equestrian-team-fundraiser and a Grand Raffle with many local businesses pledging prizes will be drawn on 11th May - tickets are available from The Mile - Farm Shop.

The girls are running a sweet and cake stall at school every Wednesday and are planning a Meet the Unicorn day at The Mile - Farm Shop, a cake stall in Pocklington Town Centre and Bag packing at Sainsbury's

The competitions are organised by the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA). The NSEA is the recognised body for equestrianism in schools throughout the UK, providing intra and inter-schools competitions for team and individual riders. Its aim is to promote and encourage the participation in and recognition of equestrian sport within schools in Great Britain.