A showing rider is to come under the scrutiny of different judges when she competes to be crowned Miss England next month.
Eighteen-year-old Isobel Lines has shown prolifically in M&M classes, qualifying for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) for the past nine consecutive years, as well as appearing at the Royal International every season for the past decade.
But her appearance at the Miss England final in Newcastle on 31 July will be the first time she has made it through to the closing round of the pageant in three years of trying.
Isobel, who is based in Birmingham, will be one of 50 girls from 2,000 hopefuls who will compete for this year’s title, which assesses contestants across ten rounds.
Judges will looks at how the girls perform in categories including a sports round and a knowledge test, as well as noting their skill when it comes to handling publicity, social media and promoting charities.
Isobel has already made good use of her equestrian contacts when one round of the semi-finals asked competitors to create a green “eco” dress from recycled materials.
“The first idea I had was to make it out of leaves, but I wanted to try something different — I was the only girl this year who rides, so I decided to make a dress out of rosettes,” Isobel said.
“I contacted the BSPS and NPS and county shows and they kindly put posts out on Facebook asking people to donate their green rosettes if they didn’t want them.
“We had well over 100 and I was still receiving some after the semi-final, so I plan to make a longer ball dress with them for the next round.
“I’m glad it was a green dress as I am sure no one would have given their red rosettes up!” she added.
Isobel wanted to use the dress to help promote awareness of mental health issues.
“Green is the colour for mental health awareness, so it all tied in,” she said.
“I lost a friend to suicide last year so it is something I think is really important. We’re trying to start a campaign to get mental health on the curriculum in schools, as well as promoting sport as an important part of mental wellness. Horse riding and showing is definitely something that really helps.”
The sports science student is not the first showing competitor to put themselves forward for Miss England, although she will be the sole equestrian in this year’s final.
“The original reason I entered was because I saw another showing competitor taking part and I thought it looked good,” she said. “We’ve had at least four showing riders do it in the past and they’ve all done quite well.”
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Despite being busy with her university studies, Isobel will be aiming for HOYS qualification once again this season.
“I live in Birmingham so it’s actually our closest show,” she said. “Normally the Miss England finals are also held at the NEC, it just turned out that the year I qualified they moved them to Newcastle!”
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