A YOUNG rider has achieved one of her long-term goals to become a national champion.

Sadie Abel, from Fishburn, near Sedgefield, in County Durham, won the top prize at the Pony Club Open Eventing Championships, held at Cholmondley Castle, in Cheshire.

The 18-year-old, who is a member of South Durham Hunt Pony Club, was riding her nine-year-old horse Ericantos VBD.

The competition is comprised of dressage, show jumping and cross country.

Sadie, who starts a course in sports science at Leeds University in September, was third after the dressage and had clear rounds in both showjumping and cross country.

As well as winning two days of training for her first place, she will get a week of tuition from a top trainer after being given given the Horsemanship Bursary Award for riding the most competent round of cross country.

She said: “I’ve owned Ericantos VBD for five years and he is my horse of a lifetime.

“This was a great way to end the summer before I go off to university in the summer.”