School impresses at the mane event

PUBLISHED: 12:26 08 November 2007 | UPDATED: 21:52 29 May 2010

From left, the riding team is Becky Westerhuis on Pheasant, Matt Gibbs on Joey, Gaby Biland on Clover and Tabby Northover on Stainsfield Ace

From left, the riding team is Becky Westerhuis on Pheasant, Matt Gibbs on Joey, Gaby Biland on Clover and Tabby Northover on Stainsfield Ace

A RIDING team have cantered their way to a strong finish in the National Schools Equestrian Championship. Friends School Riding Team gave an excellent performance at the championships held at the South of England Showground in Ardingly, on Wednesday Oct

A RIDING team have cantered their way to a strong finish in the National Schools' Equestrian Championship.

Friends' School Riding Team gave an excellent performance at the championships held at the South of England Showground in Ardingly, on Wednesday October 24.

Team Leader Sarah Westerhuis said: "I was really pleased with their performance. This is the first time the school has entered a team in the national championships so it was a great effort.

"Before the competition they had a training session with John Bowen, a national trainer, which was a great team building exercise."

The team faced stiff competition over a very difficult course with many twists, turns, and tricky fences. The competitors were awarded marks for speed and style as they took on the challenging course.

The team were Matt Gibbs on his horse Joey, Tabby Northover on Sainsfield Ace, Becky Westerhuis riding Pheasant and Gaby Biland riding Clover, and they finished a very respectable 12th out of 28 teams.

"It was an indoor competition," said Ms Westerhuis. "They had to do a course of show jumps and then a course of cross-country fences, which was timed."

Matt Gibbs also won the Scurry, a cross country course that is judged on speed, making him a National Schools' champion.

"This was a fantastic achievement because there were over 120 people in the class," said Ms Westerhuis.

A total of nine riders from Friends' School also competed in the Felsted Inter-Schools' Championships last week. Becky Westerhuis was awarded the prize for Novice Winner show-jumping and Matt Gibbs came in sixth in the Intermediate Class.

The pupils also represented the school well in dressage with Gaby Biland awarded third place in the Individuals.

Special mentions should go to the youngest team member, Jack Hayward, a Year Five pupil, and to new team member Imogen Candler who scored one of the highest dressage scores in the team event on the smallest pony.

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