While most 10-year-old jockeys are navigating around nursery stakes courses, one plucky young rider and her pint-sized Dartmoor pony are taking on fences some adult riders would baulk at.
Claudia Groves and her 11hh black gelding, Roseashes Trew (Trooper), quickly captured the hearts of the internet when Claudia’s mum Sam shared a video of them jumping around a sizeable cross-country course at Dene Farm in Hampshire over the half term holidays.
The pair are seen flying over an array of rustic fences, including logs, skinny brushes and chunky oxers, the pony never faltering in his approach and Claudia showing a technique and eye for a line expected of someone well beyond her years.
“Surprisingly, Trooper wasn’t always like this,” said Sam, of the 15-year-old pony the family have owned for three-and-a-half years. “He has had quite a few homes. We bought him quite cheaply as Claudia’s first pony and he has really made her into the rider she is today. He used to have a really dirty stop and be quite a picky jumper as he got anxious at events.
“They have established a great partnership over the past six months. He is a super all-rounder and at home in the school, she regularly jumps him over a meter, riding bareback.
“Claudia works so hard, come rain or shine, and puts a lot of effort in to her ponies. I teach her myself at home. One thing people always comment on is her attitude; she is a very sympathetic rider and is always positive and polite.”
As well as competing in the show ring at national level, Claudia has more recently made a foray into the world of Shetland pony racing and competed at Liverpool last year.
“She has been asked to ride several ponies in the show ring and while she loves showing, I think she has her sights set on the eventing world,” added Sam. “Her passion lies in horses and her ultimate goal in life is to ride for the British Team. I don’t think she’ll ever give up until she’s got that union Jack.”
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