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A young Trent College riding talent is celebrating after being part of the Derbyshire team that has won the British Dressage Under 25 Team Quest National Championships crown, despite being just 11 years old!
Year 7 pupil, Poppy Field, and her Denstone Little Diamonds teammates, Chloe Naylor, 13, and Holly Clarke and Katie Gordon, both 12, proved if you’re good enough you’re old enough as they dominated the BYRDS section, open to all riders up to the end of the year they are 25, in Leighton Buzzard on 29-30 October.
Team Quest provides a fun, relaxed introduction to higher-level dressage competitions. Teams of three or four riders compete across three test levels with the best three scores counting towards an overall team total. The highest total wins.
The girls, who met through the Meynell Hunt Pony Club, qualified for the national final after finishing runners-up at the North West regional finals at Beaver Hall near Leek in September, where Poppy also won the individual My Quest regional title.
But they upped their game again at the three-day nationals at Bury Farm Equestrian Village to take top honours almost 10% ahead of their nearest challengers, the Berkeley Blazers from Gloucestershire.
Poppy’s mum Fleur, team manager and one of two team trainers, said: “The girls were absolutely delighted. They loved the prize-giving and the canter round was the ultimate celebration for them.
“Team Quest is more relaxed than normal dressage dress code. At the finals there were prizes for best dressed, best selfie and best team spirit, and the aim is to try to encourage participation and a friendly atmosphere amongst young riders.
“The tests can be ‘called’ by trainers so riders aren't put under the pressure of remembering the test. Callers are allowed at all competitions but not normally at championships so this is another difference aimed at making it more relaxed and fun.
“The girls were fifth at the nationals last year so improving their scores over the year to help the team has inspired their training. There was a lovely atmosphere at the championships and a really nice team spirit. They had a lot of fun.”
This is the last year the Denstone Little Diamonds expect to compete at this level and now have their sights set on the British Dressage Winter Championships, in both the Petplan Equine Area Festival and Music Championship classes.