FOURTEEN riders and 17 horses alongside an army of parents, grooms, siblings and friends from the Sedbergh equestrian team travelled to Bedfordshire for the Nationals Schools championships – and just missed out on three national titles.

Team manager Faye Barker said the five days of competition were great fun but also asked some serious questions of the young riders aged between ten and 18 as the course builder took no mercy with some demanding combinations and angles.

And despite returning home with no titles, Sedbergh were pleased with the results as top places were tough to achieve due to the high quality of the competition.

The dressage team finished fourth in the UK – missing the title by 0.39 per cent as it was neck and neck between the top five – and Darcey Wilkinson narrowly missed out on winning the demanding elementary dressage test.

Kitty Wieranga ruled the ring with the fastest time going into the huge 1.1m high show jumping track but had a pole down to finish sixth and the 95cm show jumping team of Alicia Newing, Grace Gale, Mikki Crossley and Kitty Wieranga finished seventh in the UK.

Ms Barker said: “We worked tirelessly all year to gain qualifications in show jumping, arena eventing and dressage at events all over the north and it was testament to everyone’s dedication that we went to the nationals with such a big squad and qualified in nearly every class.

"The team demonstrated true team spirit and returned exhausted but happy.”