Why she’s one to watch: After stepping up to horses a year early in 2006, Melissa has been a consistent competitor at European level with her top horse Celestial King — “CK” — with the duo finishing 10th in the kür at the 2007 European Junior and Young Rider Championships. This season, the partnership are stepping up to PSG and inter I.
What would you attribute your success to: “Hard work! I was at college until a year and a half ago and was only able to ride CK once a day. Now I am full-time with Sarah [Millis, trainer] it feels like I am riding 100 times a day! But I believe this level of dedication is what you need to reap the benefits.”
What is your biggest strength: “Staying level headed in the arena. I seem to be able to stay calm and work through things.”
Trainer Sarah Millis says: “She is very level headed and is always working hard to improve herself and her horses. Melissa is adaptable to different horses and situations and is strong in a competitive sphere. She is focused and does not throw away any silly marks.”
Why she’s one to watch: Alice, 15, was Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) mini champion in 2004 on Harver Relativity. She has since built a successful partnership with the Dalton Stud and broke her duck at the Royal International Horse Show last year.
What are your biggest strengths: “Ringcraft is my main strength as I seem to do my best work when it counts. I also manage to stay out of trouble better than some [in the ring] and I’m not afraid to take a circle to stay away from a misbehaving combination.”
Plans for 2011: “My aim for this year is to get a flowery sash at the British Show Pony Society Championships and be successful at HOYS, hopefully winning the champion pony class. I also want to establish more of a presence on the county shows circuit. Not much really, then!”
Pony to look out for: “Midtown Magic — he was champion show hunter pony at the Royal International last year, but I think there is more to come.”
Producer Stuart Hollings says: “Alice is dedicated, travelling all over the country from her Scottish base, and exceptionally focused. She’s what you’d describe as a winning jockey, the kind you want on your ponies.”
Are you a young rider or driver aged between 15-21 who would love to star in an H&H feature and be sponsored by Dodson & Horrell for a year? Then be sure to enter our amazing young rider bursary at www.horseandhound.co.uk/youngriderbursary2011 before 6 June, 2011