Brother and sister top two in national finals

Tom and Katie Walker
Tom and Katie Walker

TOM and Katie Walker, the brother and sister showjumpers from Tranmire near Whitby, had competed against riders from across the North of England at Bishop Burton College in June for the honour of representing the Northern Region at the National Schools Equestrian Association Finals.

Only the top two riders in each region qualified to take part in the championships at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre near Milton Keynes.

Tom was in the two biggest showjumping classes, 95cms and 1.05m, against 21 other riders, he was placed a very respectable 9th and 7th.

After some fast and accurate riding in the 85cm class, Katie won through to the championships final as one of the top eight riders in the country.

She started the final in 6th place and was the rider with most improved placing, finishing as reserve champion, just over a second behind the winner of the class.

Both of them competed in the same speed class, which was open to all riders and here they demolished the opposition, drawing gasps from the crowd.

Drawn in an early slot, Katie’s tight turns and seemingly impossible angles set a target which all other riders failed to get anywhere near.

This was until the last rider, when Tom and Irish Texas Tom shaved half a second off Katie’s time, five seconds faster than the nearest other riders, to take first and second places for Whitby Community College, a feat unmatched by any other school.

The Schools Championships followed successful performances throughout the summer.

In July, the duo competed in the Trailblazers Championships at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, having jumped double clear rounds in local first rounds and secured top four placings in second rounds at Saltburn, Northallerton and Richmond.

At the Trailblazers Championships they scooped lots of placings and rosettes, including success for Tom , with two wins, a third and a fourth for Irish Texas Tom and a third, ninth and 10th place on his other pony, Lucy.

Katie’s major success came in the 95cm class, where, over three days on competition, her pony, Magnetic Attraction , they won one of the preliminary rounds and was one of only 4 from over 40 competitors to jump clear every day, culminating in winning reserve champion on the final day.

Other highlights of the last few months include Tom competing at the British Showjumping SCOPE Finals in Warwickshire and the BS Area 15 Championship in Hull, while Katie receiving the Outstanding Leadership in PE award by Whitby Community College.

In recognition of their success, Tom and Katie are being supported by international sportswear brand Hexx as part of their Talent Endorsement scheme and provided with sports training kit to wear .