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4th Jul, 2022

Teenager in the saddle for dressage national championships

TEENAGE equine student is saddling up for her first ever dressage national championships.

Isabella Benfield attends Moreton Morrell College and will be competing in the British Dressage Para Championships at the weekend.

The 16-year-old student has been riding since the age of four. At the age of three, a physio recommended her parents enrol her in a riding school to help with Isabella’s cerebral palsy.

Isabella, from Shipston, will be competing on her horse Cookie in the bronze and silver categories at the National Championships held at Solihull Riding School.

It will mark her debut in competition at national level. Isabella had qualified for last year’s national championships but due to Covid-19 the competition was cancelled.

Isabella said: “I’ve always enjoyed riding and have been doing it ever since I can remember.

“We’ve had to take part in heats around the country to get to this final, building up points to be able to qualify.

“I’m a little bit nervous but I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be doing a lot of training and practice in the lead-up to the weekend. I’ve been studying at Moreton Morrell College for one year now and I think it has improved my skills more.

“I’ve had Cookie for five years now and he is a very sweet pony. I’m looking forward to competing with him on the weekend.”

Alison, Isabella’s mum, is incredibly proud that Isabella has reached the National Finals.

“It’s been a long journey to get to this stage but I couldn’t be more proud of her,” she said.

“When she was born there was no guarantee she would walk or talk, so I’m proud of her and everything she has achieved so far.

“We were recommended that Isabella started riding ponies at a young age as a helpful form of exercise – since then she hasn’t looked back and gets stronger as a rider every day.”

Karen Tolley, lecturer at Moreton Morrell College, added: “Everyone at Moreton Morrell College has been sending their support for Isabella and wish her the best of luck for the competition.”


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