Young rider, Laura Woodward, 19, has taken up the Ponies (UK) prize she won last year as the rider showing the most potential in its WHP competitions.

As part of the Star of the Future Championship, Laura, who is based in West Sussex, has just been on a training course at the yard of former show jumper Stephen Hadley. She spent three days (one day longer than the two-day prize) at Stephen’s yard in Warwickshire and described the experience as “excellent”.

“I took two green horses with me and it was brilliant for me and them to have someone at that level watching and helping, ” she said.

Laura is taking a gap year between A-levels and a degree course at Exeter University. She hopes togo into eventing at some stage.

Betsy Branyan, executive administrator of Ponies (UK) says that the winner of the qualifying rounds doesn’t always go forward to the championships.

“The prize can be awarded to the rider who handles a difficult pony well or the one who clearly has style and flair, good pace and an eye for take-off. It’s the one who stands out in a crowd – not the rider who just sits there and kicks.”

The championship was initiated by judge and enthusiast, Karel Doyle. Next year’s training course is expected to be spent at an international showing and show jumping yard in France.