Joanne Eccles, British vaulter

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Joanne Eccles was born in February 1989 and started vaulting at the age of eight, encouraged by her neighbour.

She already owned her own horse and competed in Highland dancing and after trying out vaulting, she was hooked.

At the age of nine, Joanne was asked to join the Scottish Equestrian Vaulting Team, and at the same time competed as an individual.

She was with the team for nine years and was selected to represent Great Britain every year.

Joanne’s father John shares her passion for the sport. He is a vaulting and gymnastics coach and also a vaulting judge and works closely with his daughters Joanne and Hannah.

Hannah also competes and has been part of the British team since 2002.

The sisters were the first British vaulters ever to win a CVI* at Ermelo in 2008.

Joanne came first in the senior class and Hannah won the junior class.

In 2001, John decided to buy his own horse and the family started their own club, Wee County Vaulters. It started off with just one horse, three vaulters and John coaching and lunging. The club now has around 30 members, four horses and five lungers/coaches including Joanne who is a British level two coach.

In 2009, Joanne won Britain’s first ever vaulting gold medal at the European Championships in Sweden. She is the reigning European Champion.

Joanne won the female individual vaulting gold medal at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 on her horse WH Bentley, lunged by her father, John Eccles.

In February 2012 Joanne and Hannah took the first and second places at the FEI World Cup Vaulting final in Bordeaux.

And in July 2012 Joanne claimed her fourth Aachen title when she took the senior female class at the CVIO***.

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk