Equestrian Dressage Team gallop to success at NSEA qualifiers

It was a triple win for the Harrogate Grammar School equestrian dressage team at the NSEA qualifiers earlier this month. Three school teams competed at Preliminary and Novice test level at Northallerton Equestrian Centre. They clinched 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, with the top two teams qualifying for the national championships in Buckinghamshire in October. Beth Harrison also topped both classes in the individual rankings, therefore qualifying as an individual.

“We took 3 different teams this time,” says Dr Curran, the Biology teacher who leads the team. “I was pretty confident that one team would qualify, but not to take all 3 top spots!” The teams comprise of students; Beth Harrison, Emily Gaskill, Megan Harrison, Becky Weston, Layla Brown, Emma Garrett and Juliet Paler.

Their journey to success is down to a dedicated team effort. “Most of the team are in Years 10, 11 and 12,” said Dr Curran. “They have improved so much, they are genuinely good riders.”

While Dr Curran offers her experience and mentoring to the team, she is quick to credit their talent and perseverance. “It’s all down to the students and their hard work. They have really gained patience and resilience, especially when dealing with animals. They have days when it all goes wrong, when the ponies aren’t playing ball, but that’s the nature of the sport. They are all really supportive of each other. I am super proud of them.”

She has high hopes for the national competition in October. “We came fourth in dressage last year – I have every faith we will do even better this year. Just qualifying for the event is a huge achievement, never mind winning it.”

Beth Harrison and teammate Emily Gaskill have also both qualified for the British Eventing National championships, which takes place in a few weeks’ time at Bramham Park.