Belper sides are still going strong

Charlotte Fretwell and Ellie Smith
Charlotte Fretwell and Ellie Smith

A 14-year-old Belper schoolgirl has enjoyed some major sporting success by qualifying for the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) finals, to be held at Addington, Oxfordshire in October.

Charlotte Fretwell won the Class 4 Open Teams and Individuals 1m/1.05 Qualifier on her horse Party Sox, which she has only been riding for three months. The ‘Jump with Style’ qualifying event took place at Beaver Hall Equestrian Centre in Staffordshire.

Charlotte, who was representing Ockbrook School, said: “I’m still getting to know Party Sox but she performed wonderfully and I was so pleased to take first place.

“It has only just started to sink in that I’ll be representing my school at the national finals - which is a daunting prospect but very exciting too!”

Ockbrook School was also represented by 13 year old Evie Smith from Ilkeston and 15-year-old Jade Atkinson from Horsley Woodhouse.

Evie rode pony Sugar in Class 1 Individuals 70/75cm Qualifier, finishing third out of 32 riders. Sadly for Evie only the top two riders progressed to the NSEA finals at Addington.

Meanwhile, in the Class 2 Novice Individuals 80/85cm Qualifiers, Jade on new pony Montey failed to place due to abysmal weather conditions.

Alison Steele, who is the headteacher at Ockbrook School, said: “All three girls did a fantastic job against really stiff opposition.”

She added: “Congratulations to each of them and the whole school wishes Charlotte the best of luck at the national finals.”

‘Jumping with Style’ was devised a few years ago for British Eventing by Kenneth Clawson as a method of improving the style and effectiveness of a rider, while also making it a fun competition.

It has been modified for NSEA competitions to put more emphasis on the quality of riding and less on the horse itself.

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The idea is to jump the show jumping course, demonstrating the ability to ride a course competently in good style and rhythm. and then go to the simulated Cross Country fences in the same arena. The rider must then show an increase in pace and demonstrate the forward seat.

There are four scoring elements to the competition.

1. Show jumping penalties

2. Cross Country jumping penalties

3. Cross country Time penalties

4. Style (for the SJ & XC phases combined)

The scores are then calculated and then given as penalty marks. The winner is the person with the fewest penalty marks.