Whitby junior riders dominate north east final

Katie Walker, Tom Walker and Lucy Gilsenan
Katie Walker, Tom Walker and Lucy Gilsenan
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A WHITBY brother and sister battled for the chance to represent the region at the national finals in the National Schools Equestrian Association North East Regional Qualifiers at Bishop Burton College.

The top two riders in each of four classes were to go forward to the National Championships against seven other regions of the UK in October.

There was strong competition, with riders from schools as far away as Sheffield and Richmond, and more local contenders included Lady Lumley’s from Pickering, Malton and the always successful Norton team.

Lucy Gilsenan, from Staintondale, representing Scalby School, got the day off to a great start for the coast, with a convincing win in the 70cm class on her consistently good grey mare, Maddy.

Brother and sister Tom and Katie Walker from Tranmire near Whitby, representing Whitby Community College, made their mark in the bigger classes.

Katie, despite being drawn early in the 80cm class, on Magnetic Attraction, took strides out to set a fast time which proved to be unbeatable. Lucy and Maddy were also in the rosettes with sixth.

Fast, accurate riding and tight turns helped Tom beat a large entry to win the 90cm class on Lucy, with Holly Hodgson from Whitby Community College taking fourth place.

The final class of the day, 1m showcased some determined performances from the young riders, as they battled for the final two places at the national championships.

Tom again jumped clear with a fast time to take the lead on Lucy and it looked like the same line-up as the 90cm class, with Sarah Holmes from Sheffield High School in second place and Holly Hodgson in third.

Drawn last to go, with Irish Texas Tom, the exuberant skewbald, Tom shaved seconds off his own leading time to take first place.

Keen competitiors, but good friends, Lucy, Katie and Tom recently competed at the David Broome Winter Championships, coming home with a clutch of rosettes for individual riding and a third place in the Team jumping, against more than 20 other teams from across the UK.

Katie and Tom were both Yorkshire Schools Showjumping Champions in 2010, in 80 and 90cm height classes.

Lucy is the 2011 70cm champion and Tom is the 2011 1m showjumping Yorkshire champion and Scarborough and District Sports Council under 15 sportsperson of the year.