Kirsty rides into big time

A ST NEOTS teenager is preparing to take on some of the best young horse riders in the country at the Horse of the Year Show. Kirsty Pavely, 15, is celebrating after riding her way to the prestigious event on her pony, Poppy. Kirsty rides as part of the O

A ST NEOTS teenager is preparing to take on some of the best young horse riders in the country at the Horse of the Year Show.

Kirsty Pavely, 15, is celebrating after riding her way to the prestigious event on her pony, Poppy.

Kirsty rides as part of the Oakley Hunt West team with four other teenagers and qualified after tough competition in a regional final, seeing off 18 other teams.

Oakley Hunt West is now one of just six to qualify for the show - down from 250.


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Kirsty's mother, Jane Pavely, told The Hunts Post how her daughter's team overcame the toughest of tests at the region final, held in Northampton.

Banwell, the winners of the Prince Phillip Cup at the Horse of the Year Show 2006, began the final with some success.

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"They were 14 points in front of us, in the lead. Then we just got better, really. It was a very tense final," Mrs Pavely said.

The regional final saw teams compete in what is known as mounted games.

This includes balloon bursting, ball and bucket races, vaulting and pony club pole, which the teenager describes as the most difficult discipline.

Kirsty, from Duloe, has been riding since she was just two years old.

She also has a family connection to the sport, with her mother a former show jumper and competitor. The family keep Poppy at their home and Kirsty has been riding her for nearly a year.

The team trains for two hours every week, indoors in the winter months, before moving outdoors when the weather improves.

The team is currently back training indoors, mimicking the conditions at the Horse of the Year Show.

Disciplines such as bending, similar to a relay race, and 'sword', where the team members catch rings on a lance that they must pass between them, will be on display next month.

One slightly more unusual race involves posting newspapers through a letterbox.

Oakley Hunt West will compete for the Prince Phillip Cup at the NEC Arena, Birmingham, in early October. This will be Kirsty's second time at the Horse of the Year Show, having also qualified last year.

Kirsty said: "I'm really excited. I love going and meeting new people from all the other pony clubs. Riding in the arena is just an amazing feeling."

Mrs Pavely added: "It brings tears to your eyes. They all work so hard as a team."

Her team also includes fellow teens Katie Barrett, 14, Jess Cox, 14, Jess Russell, 13, and Ashley Thompson, 15.

The show will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2009. It was designed to mark the end of the equestrian season and was intended to be an event for the champions of champions.

INFORMATION: The Horse of the Year Show takes place in October. For more information visit www.hoys.co.uk

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