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Six-year-old showjumper qualifies for second rounds, with dreams of Olympia

A six-year-old showjumper who has achieved her four British novice double clears is aiming for second rounds this year, and hoping to ride at Olympia next Christmas.

Bella Dunseath is believed to be the youngest rider ever to have achieved the second-round qualification, jumping her last double clear in December on her 16-year-old 128cm mare Zoom To The Moon.

Proud mother Rose Squibb-Williams told H&H Bella spent last year “finding her feet” in competition.

“But now she’s absolutely adamant she’s going to Olympia next year,” she said.

Bella started riding properly aged three, when she inherited her brother’s pony.

“He was the naughtiest pony in the world, and I thought ‘This won’t last long’,” Rose said. “He bucked her off three times and although she didn’t care, I thought I’d better get her something that wasn’t out to kill her!”

When Bella was four, she moved on to the “very sweet” Welsh mare Verity, whose forte is “teaching small people to ride”, and who has now gone on to do the same for a top eventer’s daughter.

When Bella wanted to do more jumping, Rose looked for another pony.

“When we went to see her, they cantered round and Bella couldn’t stop, and I was trying to find polite ways to say it wasn’t going to work, but when we got in the car, Bella said ‘She’s perfect’,” said Rose.

“I tried to convince her but she said this pony was the one — and she was right. She still can’t stop, but then she doesn’t need to.”

Rose said Bella has tried some dressage and cross-country, but she is determined to be a professional showjumper when she grows up. And although she is too young to jump the British novice final at the British Showjumping national championships this summer, she will jump the second round this spring for the experience.

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“It’s terrifying to watch her but quite amazing, I cry every time!” she said.

“She likes to ride fast, and the ponies to be quick and forward and it scares me but it’s lovely to watch. I’ll say ‘We’re just doing this nice and steady’, and they’ll be off. And I’m not going to stop them.”

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