Show jumpers win place in national finals

RIPON Grammar School’s high-performing show jumping team won a place in national finals.

Cassie Holliday, Fran Holland and Izzy Gough triumphed in the 100cm category at the National Schools Equestrian Association regional qualifiers in Northallerton.

Cassie, selected by ex-Olympian rider Nicola Wilson for the British Equestrian youth talent pathway, also won the 90cm individual category with some thrilling short cuts.

The 16-year-old, from Rainton, who aims to compete at national level and hopes to become a vet, first started riding when she was six years old.

She recently represented the north of England at 100cm at Bishop Burton International, competing against riders from Scotland and English regions: “I love the thrill and excitement of competing,” she said.

Juggling her horse Shanbo, a part-time job and schoolwork, she trains for at least 40 minutes every day and has been selected by a former Olympic rider to join her talent pathway.

Fran, 16, from Borrowby, began riding when she was nine years old, inspired by several of her friends and her mother, who all rode.

She juggles her art, geography and English literature A-level studies with time spent hacking and competing most weekends: “A lot of my time is devoted to both riding and looking after the horses. But I obviously have to prioritise schoolwork and organise my time to enable me to do both.”

“Looking after horses is a big challenge as it is a huge responsibility and commitment, especially in winter. Having bad days can be a struggle but it is worth it.”