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New class for grass roots pony riders at British Open

Juniors will have the chance to compete at the British Open Show Jumping Championships in April 2010 following the introduction of a new show jumping competition for grass root pony riders.

The competition is only open to British Show Jumping Association (BSJA) members who have joined since January 2008, or who are currently members of a British riding club or Pony Club.

“This is a great opportunity for novice pony riders to compete in a fun, international atmosphere,” Julia Heywood, show liaison manager for BSJA, told H&H.

The eight qualifying competitions will be held at selected BSJA shows throughout the winter and will be divided into three separate classes — 128cms, 138cms and 148cms.

The winners from each class will form a team of three to compete at the British Open at the NEC in Birmingham, where they will benefit from the coaching of a top international show jumper acting as chef d’equipe.

“The format will mix all the riders together — we could have a BSJA member, a Pony Clubber and a riding club member riding on one team,” explains Julia.

The qualifiers take place at a range of venues between January and March 2010, with the first at Colraine Equestrian Centre in Cornwall on 31 January.

“Entries haven’t even opened yet but we’ve had loads of phone calls and positive feedback,” said Julia. “We are delighted at the reaction to this competition — there is a real buzz about it.”

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