Team jumps to it to claim a fine fifth place at event

Ecclesbourne School student Jess Buxton on her horse Lola
Ecclesbourne School student Jess Buxton on her horse Lola

The Ecclesbourne School’s team has achieved success for the second year running at the National School Equestrian Championships.

The finals, held at Addington Manor, Buckinghamshire, saw the team from the Duffield-based school placed in a very creditable fifth position, representing their county after winning the class at The Derby College Equestrian Centre, Broomfield, last November.

Over the year, the school team attended shows within the county, gaining points in the East Midlands Regional League.

It was announced at the championships that The Ecclesbourne School team were in fact the League Champions and have been awarded a £50 training bursary from the NSEA.

The team, consisting of eight riders aged 13-18 years old, pulled all the stops out to attain their highest achievement yet, gaining five placings out of eight classes, putting them in the top eight schools in the country.

The classes included Showjumping and Jumping with Style (a combination of Show Jumps and Eventing Style jumps) at 75cm, 85cm, 95cm, 1.00cm and 110cm with teams of four competing in most of the classes and in the 75cm JWS, 85cm SJ and the 1.10cm SJ having individual riders compete and placed in both of them.

Team manager Samantha Armstrong said: “The competition was tough, even to qualify this year.

“It gets harder and harder but the girls really rode to their best.

“To be placed in classes with up to 30 teams or individual riders is a real credit to them, their parents and our team trainers Georgie Barnes and Richard Seals.

Georgie Barnes commented “I think all the Ecclesbourne riders showed some great riding against a very strong field including many international riders. They are a pleasure to train.”

Caroline Maunder, a PE teacher from The Ecclesbourne School was able to support the team at the championships and said: “It was a pleasure to watch such dedicated riders competing at this prestigious event.

“The girls demonstrated great composure, despite having to ride in near gale force winds, and seeing so many of them being placed was the icing on the cake.”

She continued: “Our thanks go to Samantha Armstrong who, together with the support of our parents, sponsors and coaches, have given the girls an incredible weekend to remember”.

The team hopes to be able to represent their school again next year and keep the teams going as the older ones leave and the younger ones join keeping the progression going.