Four riders were crowned champions in the exciting finals of the Northern Show Cross Series, held for the first time at this weekend’s Countryside Live (Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 October).
The new event, sponsored by Bishop Burton College, saw riders compete against each other on a testing course combining show jumps and rustic fences.
Held at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, crowds gathered to watch the riders – 15 in each class – race against the clock to be in with a chance of taking the top title.
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Gilsenan of Staintondale, Scarborough, took the Junior Novice title riding her horse ‘Maddy’. But there was cause for triple celebration after she also came second in the competition’s Junior Open section, and second in Graham and Tina Fletcher’s Search for a Talented Show Jumper contest, also held at the event.
“It’s been a great weekend, absolutely brilliant – I’d love to be a famous show jumper one day, so who knows,” said Lucy.
Pensioner Alan Evans, of Monk Fryston, near York, took the Senior Novice title after beating riders more than half his age! The 74-year-old, who took part in his first competition almost 70 years ago, was delighted with his win.
“I’ve really enjoyed the summer – the Northern Show Cross Series has been a great event,” said Mr Evans, who rode his mare ‘Sally’ to victory.
There was double joy for 14-year-old Jess Birkbeck, of Darlington, who took the Junior Open title and came third in Graham and Tina Fletcher’s Search for a Talented Show Jumper competition.
And Holly Stevenson, a second year veterinary student at Liverpool University, took the Senior Open title riding her horse ‘Touch Down Billy’. Holly’s home is in Northallerton.
Janice Mewse, one of the organisers of the Northern Show Cross series, said: “We wanted to give competitors different venues and an exciting new format – and it has worked brilliantly. To have the finals at Countryside Live has been fantastic,” she said.
The event celebrated its tenth year and notched up record breaking crowds, a total of 12,061 over the weekend.