FOUR young local riders have become national champions at a recent eventing challenge in West Sussex on the south coast.

Katy Mintoft, Lily Baum, Harriet Du Boulay and Erin Smith - who are all between year 7 and year 9 - competed at the famous Hickstead showjumping ground during the first weekend of the half-term holiday, representing Ryedale School.

The event was the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA) 85cm eventer’s challenge, which involved both showjumping and cross country components.

The course was described as challenging and technical and it was a hot day with temperatures running high.

The girls were the only team - out of a total of 41 - to jump with all four of their team members clear across both the showjumping and cross country phases.

In total there were nearly 200 young people competing in the class and there were only thirteen clears - four of which came from the Ryedale School contingent.

The four riders had originally got through to the finals by winning the regional qualifier at Northallerton Equestrian Centre in mid-April, which confirmed that they would be making the journey south for the finals.

The All England Jumping Course at Hickstead is located near Brighton.

Sally Mintoft, Katy’s mum, said of the long trek to the south coast: “It was completely worth it to see the children ride at the famous Hickstead ground and ultimately win. They held their nerve and manoeuvred ponies through the gruelling course skilfully. We are so proud of the four of them who became known as ‘those lovely girls from Yorkshire’.”

The NSEA, formed in 1991, aims to promote and encourage equestrian sport in British schools.