The Riding for the Disabled (RDA) National Championships at Hartpury College, Glos, was the largest and best attended yet.
“This is the biggest event of its type in the world,” said championships chairman Doug Smith, adding that competitor numbers have trebled in the past six years.
Riders ranged from four-year-old Jasmine Denning from RDA Stokesley, Yorks, who left with five rosettes, to Paul Down, competing in his 80s for Stafford & District RDA.
The event was manned by an army of helpers, riders’ families and 200 volunteers, who travelled from as far afield as Scotland and France to assist.
A new trophy was presented to Zoe Talbot of Suffolk for junior best turned out pony, in memory of Kirstie Foster, the horse-loving teenager who was killed by her father in Shropshire last summer.
“The event is an emotional rollercoaster,” said Mr Smith. “One rider had £14,000-worth of injections to ensure he got here.”
Another competitor Tracy Brown from Edinburgh was delighted with her borrowed mare, 19-year-old Dutch Rose.
“‘I’ve qualified for the nationals nine times, but never been able to make it. It’s been brilliant,” she said.
The RDA launches its 40th anniversary in September with the world’s biggest riding lesson.
“It’s a great privilege to be part of the championships,” said RDA chairman Jane Holderness-Roddam.