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‘A surprise and an honour’: meet the 20-year-old show rider nominated for a BBC Sports Personality award

A young show rider who has competed at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) and the Royal International (RIHS) rounded off her 2020 with a nomination at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

Wednesbury-based Isobel Lines, 20, was a finalist in the unsung hero category. The awards were screened live on Sunday 20 December and formula one racer Lewis Hamilton won the main award.

As well as an established showing rider, Isobel is also a beauty pageant queen and is the current Miss Black Country.

Isobel is a former sports scholarship student studying sports science at the University of Worcester where has been chair of the equestrian club for the past two years. She was crowned Miss Black Country earlier this year as the competition has continued online. She is due to compete at the Miss England Final in Birmingham which will now be held in April 2021

“It was such a pleasant surprise and honour to have been nominated,” says Isobel, who has recently been raising money for the Riding for the Disabled Association. “It is obviously disappointing not to have been able to attend in person but I was lucky enough to be part of the virtual audience.

“I have been utilising both my Miss England and chairman of the equestrian club positions to raise funds and awareness for organisations which have been struggling during the pandemic.”

Isobel has been riding since she was four and has competed at HOYS for eight successive years, as well as the RIHS for a consecutive decade.

In September, she was also rewarded with one of the Dudley Council for Voluntary Services Covid Heroes Awards 2020, for all the work that she has carried out in the local community during the pandemic.

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Looking ahead to the 2021 show season, Isobel is set to ride her Welsh section A stallion Thistledown Ice Warrior. Bred by Sandy Anderson and produced by Jill Rushton, Ice Warrior was the highest priced lot at the Fayre Oaks sale in 2019.

“We bought him as a four-year-old,” says Isobel. “2020 was our first season together and while it was a shame we couldn’t compete as consistently as we had hoped it was really beneficial for him. It’s important for youngesters and newly broken ponies to not be overloded with competitions and training. We were able to choose the shows we wanted to do and have fun at, which included the BSPS summer and Heritage championships.

“At the moment we don’t know what the situation will be for RIHS or HOYS but we will definitely be contenders for the M&M open classes when we can get out.”

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