British Equestrian Vaulting received a major boost at the first international competition of the 2005 season, when the Union Jack was raised and the British National anthem was sung for the first time in vaulting history.

What makes the win all the more impressive is that it was achieved by Britain’s vaulting stars of the future in the first ever CVI *competition for vaulters aged 16 years and under.

The Scottish Equestrian Vaulting junior team, representing Britain, were competing against three French teams and teams from Germany and Switzerland in the Cadre Noir in Saumur, France.

The squad of Ruth Morris, 16, twins Imogen and Georgia Canavan, 14, Jim Pate, 15, Zoe Wyatt, 13, Kirsty McWilliam, 15 and Diana Mclaren, 16, and their horse, the aptly named 11-year-old part-bred Irish Draught, The Big Yin, who stands 18.2hh, really impressed the judges.

Rebecca Morgan, who lunged The Big Yin for the competition, told HHO: “The judges really liked our horse, who performed extremely well after spending the winter out hunting. They also said that the junior team was a level above the others in the competition. This is probably because a number of the team members were competing at international level last year, so have plenty of experience.”

The British squads have been quick to take advantage of the changes to international vaulting rules, which were introduced at the start of the year. The new rules removed the previous upper age limit of 18 and introduced a junior section, for riders aged 16 and under. British squads at both levels have clearly reaped the benefits with the SEV senior team third and in a highly competitive open class.

The British squad secured good placings in every division with a great fifth place for the English Vaulting Squad in the Team CVI**. The highest placed individuals were Ross Foreman in seventh placed in the male category and Joanne Eccles, sixth in the females. Also through to the final round were Lucy Philips (13th) and Sarah Reid (15th) in the female individuals with Jon Blake (10th) in the male class.

Ann Hunt, Chairperson of British Equestrian Vaulting, said: “The juniors performed brilliantly and, if anything, the seniors’ place on the podium was even more impressive due to the high standard of the competition. The British horses were a delight to behold. They all looked and performed brilliantly.

“Chef d’equipe Jenny Leggate had a British squad to be proud of. These results reflect the years of hard work and dedication shown throughout the discipline. I hope this will act as an inspiration to other youngsters to join the clubs, enjoy the fun and expand the sport.”

The British squads are hoping they will be able to replicate their current form at the European Championships in Italy this summer.