Pocklington School

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A welcome return to competing for Pocklington School Equestrian team!

Clare Bracken & members of  Pocklington School Equestrian team at NSEA National Championships 2021

During half term, the Pocklington School Equestrian team were delighted to return to competing in the National Schools' Equestrian Association (NSEA) National Schools' Championships 2021, after an extended pause in competition during the pandemic.

The Equestrian squad is a cross-foundational co-curricular club at Pocklington School, established seven years ago by Clare Bracken, who is in charge of the team and has kindly provided the following report from the competition:

"This is probably the largest number of riders we have ever qualified for the National Championships since starting equestrian at Pocklington School. Over the course of five days, 12 riders, 13 adults and 16 ponies trekked down to Keysoe International Equestrian Centre, Bedfordshire.

The competition started well on Friday with Lucinda O’Gram coming 7th out of 70 riders in the 70cm scurry and Sophia Elliott winning the 80cm scurry out of a strong field of 80.

We had high hopes of further success on the Saturday with riders in six different classes. Our greatest achievement of the day was in the RPL class where we came 5th. This class involved eight riders; two riders jumping 70cm, 80cm, 90cm and 1m – Harriet Jacklin, Emily Jones and Harriet Hodge all jumping clear. In the 70cm and 80cm classes, Emily Jones and Lucinda O’Gram achieved further clear rounds; Anna Falkingham and Polly Raper also performed well to achieve their first clear rounds of the competition. Charlotte Falkingham, riding for the first time at a championship, rode an excellent round after a dirty stop at the first fence.

4 Pocklington School riders & ponies in the dressage ring at the NSEA National Championships

Individual Dressage was also on Saturday’s itinerary; a class that historically, the school has never really excelled in at this level. Daisy Shepherd, returning to Pocklington specially for the team, competed in the Preliminary class and Martha Lee in the Novice. Daisy had a particularly difficult time as her horse Jackson had found the journey south nerve-wracking, hadn’t settled and was ‘wired’. She executed a good test under the circumstances but was not placed. Martha was riding both of her ponies in the Novice, Koko’s test scoring slightly better than Harry’s despite one of the best extended trots seen!

The day finished on both Sophia and Poppy Levitt going clear in the 90cm scurry but being out of the rosettes due to their times.

Onto Sunday where the focus was team dressage and the 1m class. Sisters, Emily and Lucinda O’Gram represented the School in the dressage Preliminary class and Polly and Martha in the Novice section. All girls achieved respectable scores but the team were unfortunately unplaced.

Rider and pony in the showjumping ring at the NSEA National Championships 2021

The 1m class, with Harriet Hodge competing, was nail-biting. Harriet qualified for the jump off and was leading with only one horse left to jump; a rider who had just won Hickstead. Only a very quick clear would knock Harriet off top slot; I couldn’t bear to watch. Poles remained in tact, and only tenths of seconds separated the two – Harriet came a phenomenal 2nd.

The last day of competition ended with the 1.1m, 1.2m, 90cm show jumping (SJ) and the 90cm jumping with style (JWS). Tensions were again high when Harriet qualified in 1st place in the 1.1m class and therefore rode last in the jump off. Unlike the 1m class, the course had proved difficult to navigate and clear rounds were sparse. With a pole down and a relatively slow time, Harriet finished 5th. However, she then went onto win, and also be placed 2nd in the 1.2m class; unfortunately, this class isn’t deemed as a Championship class due to the nature of the qualification.

The excitement continued in the 90cm classes, both with the same three riders in each, Poppy, Sophia and Martha; Poppy stepping up to the JWS challenge at the last minute. In the 90cm (SJ) Sophia was the only team member to go clear and was placed 20th individually out of 186 riders – an exceptional result given the size of the class. In the 90cm (JWS), our team had lots of style but unfortunately with poles down in both the show jumping and cross-country phases they were out of contention.

I think it would be true to say that we all had an enjoyable time but more importantly, we were pleased just to be able to compete and represent the school. There were inevitably some highs and disappointments along the way but everyone stuck together as a team and supported each other in their journey. A big thank you to all the parents who continually support the riders, who get up at ridiculous hours to bath and plait ponies and are prepared to travel great distances to support the team."

Charlotte Jacklin, Pocklington School parent, said: "Teamwork makes the dream work! We all had such a fantastic time at the competition and the girls were amazing. I am very proud to be a part of such a wonderful bunch of people!"

Well done Pocklington Equestrian Team!

Click here to view a Flickr album from the event.