A record number of Scottish schoolchildren recently made the 700+ mile round trip to Addington Manor in Buckinghamshire, to take part in the National Schools’ Equestrian Association Championship.
The event took place over four days, with over 800 riders from both private and state schools all over the country – with some outstanding success for Borders riders and their mounts.
Championship qualifiers run up and down the country throughout the year, with only the top riders qualifying for the Championships.
More Scottish schools than ever were represented down south, with riders from Strathallan, Morebattle Primary, Longridge Towers, Kelso High School, Peebles High School, Selkirk High School, Earlston High School, Biggar High School and Lockerbie Academy.
Scottish schools had some amazing triumphs, with wins from both teams and individuals representing Kelso High School.
The Morebattle team of Vicky Edgar (Ardagh Bobby), Katie Edgar (Ardagh Airborne), Alex Edgar (Bobby Eoin) and Katy McFadyen (Mileage For Milo) won a Championship class for an unprecedented third time when they took the 80/85 showjumping championship.
This talented team was also placed second in both 80/85 and 90/95 jumping with style classes.
Amy Ralston (Curravordy Builders Blue), also from Kelso High School, won the individual 90/95 Jumping With Style class, with only one style penalty.
Amy was also second individual in very exciting jump offs in both 90/95 Showjumping and 1m/1m5 showjumping – a class won by her Kelso High School teammate Vicky Edgar (Ardagh Bobby) after a very close jump off.
A Kelso High School team of Alex Edgar (Bobby Eoin), Katy McFadyen (Mileage For Milo) and Vicky Edgar (CS Simply Jinger) won the Hickstead Eventers Challenge, which qualifies them for the final at Hickstead in May over the world famous banks and ditches.
A Regional Scottish League was held over the course of the school year. Schools gathered points for each qualifier at which they attended and had results. Overall results were 1 Kelso High School, 2 Earlston High School, 3 Jedburgh Grammar School, 4 Peebles High School, 5 Longridge Towers.
The top five teams from each of the nine Regional Leagues were then invited to send eight riders to compete in a final at the Championships.
After a very long day, with some very good rounds, Peebles High School (Maddie Collins, Jenny Mowat, Persia Bhatia, Libby Davidson, Natasha Thorp, Alice Bryce, Daragh Ramage, Gabby Purves) earned second place, with Kelso High School (Rory McFadyen, Alex Edgar, Katy McFadyen, Duncan McFadyen, Louise Hebdon, Amy Ralston, Vicky Edgar, Katie Edgar) fourth in the same competition.
There were also some very exciting and close Nations Cup Competitions, which took place over three days.
Scotland 70/75 Team (Rory McFadyen, Lyall Roberts, Matilda Aplin, Monty Aplin, Hugh Nichols, Katy McFadyen) took first place in a very tight competition.
Scotland 80/85 Team (Katie Edgar, Vicky Edgar, Alex Edgar, Katy McFadyen, Duncan McFadyen, Amy Ralston) also won a very close contest.
Scotland 90/95 Team ((Katie Edgar, Vicky Edgar, Alex Edgar, Katy McFadyen, Natasha Thorpe, Charlotte Hislop) were third.
Scotland 1m/1m5 (Persia Bhatia, Alice Bryce, Libby Davidson, Daragh Ramage, Gabby Purves, Emily Edgar) were 2nd to a very good English Team.
Dressage (Libby Davidson, Alannah Furness, Natasha Thorpe, Persia Bhatia, Alex Turnbull, Eilidh Roberts) third.
Jumping With Style 70/75
3 Rory McFadyen (Morebattle Primary).
Jumping With Style 80/85
6 Alex Edgar (Kelso High),
8 Louise Hebdon (Kelso High).Jumping With Style 90/95
2 Kelso High (Morebattle), 4 Peebles High School.
1 Amy Ralston (Kelso High), 6 Persia Bhatia (Peebles High).
Jumping With Style 1m/1m5
6 Vicky Edgar (Kelso High).Jumping With Style 1m15
8 Persia Bhatia (Peebles).
3 Longridge Towers.
1 Kelso High (Morebattle), 5 Kelso High (Linton).
3 Vicky Edgar (Kelso High), 6 Katy McFadyen (Kelso High) (Seans Delight), 8 Katy McFadyen (Kelso High), (Mileage For Milo).
2 Amy Ralston (Kelso High).Showjumping 1m/1m5
1 Vicky Edgar (Kelso High), 2 Amy Ralston (Kelso High).Pumpkin Special 1m
5 Charlotte Hislop (Lockerbie Academy).
1 Eilidh Roberts (Longridge Towers), 2 Alex Turnbull (Selkirk High), 7 Persia Bhatia (Peebles High).
Novice – 4 Eilidh Roberts (Longridge Towers).
Overall, the Scottish team finished in second place for the Nations Cup.
It takes a huge amount of work, finance, effort and commitment to get the riders at a level to be able to compete at such a prestigious championship and the NSEA is very appreciative and complimentary about the level of Scottish support.
The sport’s followers reckon it’s almost unbelievable that local schools can go and compete against the best in the country and not only hold their own but also come away with some outstanding results. They also believe the sport is very lucky in Scotland to have dressage, showjumping and Jumping With Style qualifiers taking place at Ian Stark Equestrian Centre near Selkirk, Floors Castle International Horse Trials at Kelso, and Highfield at Howe in Cupar, Fife.