Youngsters set for biggest stage

Sophie Jackson and Atlanta Belle in semi-final action
Sophie Jackson and Atlanta Belle in semi-final action
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Showjumper Sophie Jackson from Quadring has qualified to compete her horse Atlanta Belle at the prestigious Horse of The Year Show at the NEC in October.

After competing around the country Sophie and Belle gained points in the Bronze League which is for horses competing up to 1m 10.

She finished in the top 15 of the East Midlands area, which has more than 700 horse/rider combinations in it, and that gave her the opportunity to compete in the southern semi-final at Keysoe College in Bedford.

This included the top 15 combinations from East Midlands, East, South East and South West, a total of just over 4,500 competitors vying for these places.

On the day of the semi-final 51 horse/rider combinations started the competition run over three nail-biting rounds.

Sophie and Belle kept their cool and jumped three faultless clear rounds to secure her qualification.

Along with the top seven riders in the northern semi-final, the final 14 will be on the biggest stage of the showjumping year.

Sophie (17) is the youngest rider to qualify and her horse Atlanta Belle, at just six, is the youngest horse in the competition.

Mum Paula said: “It was a very emotional day when the qualification letter came through.

“This is a dream for any rider and to have managed it in their first competitive year is testament to their hard work.

“Sophie and Belle are a very exciting young partnership with many more years to grow together and move on to greater things.”

Sophie thanks her family for their constant support, her trainer Carol Mailer for all her guidance and The Mermaid Inn, Surfleet, for ongoing sponsorship. To 
help, email sophiejacksonz@icloud.com