National glory for teen riders

TWO members of a special riding club in Chobham have become champions and two others achieved high places in a national competition.

The four teenagers from Quest RDA excelled in dressage tests which were held virtually this year through filmed entries because of the pandemic.

Sophie Christiansen with (back from left) Gabriella Fox, Rhys Rawlings and Kate Pole, and (front) Isabella Pozella. Picture by Terry Habgood

Their achievements were in the Riding for the Disabled Association’s national championships.

Gabriella Fox, 15, came top in the junior grade 1-6 walk and trot test, while Isabella Pozella, 15, won the junior grade 3 test, also coming third in the walk and trot showing class.

Rhys Rawlings, also 15, was third in the walk-Led dressage and Kate Pole, aged 19, came forth in showing walk, trot and canter and 10thin the senior grade 4 test.

The four were presented with rosettes at the club’s base at Laris Farm in Windlesham Road by Paralympian dressage rider Sophie Christiansen on Saturday.

Sophie, who has represented Team GB on several occasions, started riding at an RDA group at the age of six. She has won five world titles and eight Paralympic gold medals and is aiming to take part in the games in Paris in 2024.

Quest’s riders got through to the national championships at the South East RDA qualifying rounds.

The national event was cancelled in 2020 and entrants had to submit filmed dressage tests for this year’s virtual event.

“Our coaches spent several weeks over the summer working with our riders and the ponies to perfect their dressage tests before filming them and submitting them for the national championships,” said Quest chairman Julie Jones.

“Dressage is all about learning to work with your horse or pony to perform accurate movements. There are different classes and tests depending on the classification of each rider, enabling them to compete against other riders with similar disabilities.

“With almost 500 RDA centres in the UK with the chance to take part, we were delighted that our riders had qualified. We are absolutely thrilled that they all achieved such incredible results.”

Sophie also presented rosettes to the Quest Participant of the Year, Elliott Masters, and the volunteer of the year, Breda Dallimore. She also honoured the club’s horse or pony of the year, Diablo.

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