Equestrian: Jumping joy for Connie Russell at National Trailblazer show

Connie Russell (Real Time Imaging)
Connie Russell (Real Time Imaging)

Young horse rider Connie Russell has collected a prestigious prize with her horse nicknamed ‘Buddy’ in Warwickshire.

Connie became the 2014 Combined Training Ponies 65cm Champion at the Nettex Trailblazers Championships at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.

The Nettex Trailblazers Championships is a 10-day equestrian extravaganza which took place at the end of July.

Each amateur rider who took part had qualified through two rounds of qualification.

Connie, 10 from Harrogate, took the combined training title with her horse Hanmere Knutkin (known as Buddy), owned by her aunt, Helen Crosland.

Helen said: “Buddy was a lot greener in jumping than we had realised when we bought him but with a lot of very hard work from Connie, her trainers and her uncle .

“His jumping confidence began to improve and in April and she decided that she would like to qualify for the Trailblazers combined training finals.

“Never could we have imagined what a fabulous week it would be for Connie and Buddy.”

Connie makes a two- hour round trip to ride Buddy three times a week, and receives regular training from Liam Fisher, who is based in Cheltenham.

Though Buddy was bought as a working hunter pony, he has had great success in dressage.

And Connie is now competing in Novice Dressage tests, regularly scoring over 70 per cent.

She is a member of the Pendle Forest and Craven Pony Club and has also competed in unaffiliated show jumping, working hunter classes and combined training.

First round qualifying competitions are already underway for the 2015 Trailblazers National Championships.