YOUNGSTERS at Thomas Hardye are celebrating after a trial of achievement led to success in a national competition.

The Dorchester school took two teams of pupils to the National Schools Equestrian Association Horse Trials, with one team scooping first place for their efforts.

The winning team – Jodie Loveday, Kizzie Russell, Anna Elford and Izzy Mears – said they were ‘thrilled’ with their achievement.

Jodie said: “I am really pleased with the results, especially as I was riding an inexperienced young horse and this was his first one-day event.”

The girls, all aged between 13 and 18, competed in dressage, cross country and show jumping rounds to claim the title at the trials, which were held at Aldon in Somerset.

And another team from Thomas Hardye – Stacey Tanswell, Chelsea Loveday, Shannon Rodway and Georgia Harris – came fourth in the competition.

All the girls train independently with their own instructors, and are members of the South Dorset Hunt and Cattistock Hunt pony clubs.

Team manager Sue Russell said: “I am very proud of the time the girls have put into this sport, taking time to care for and train their horses, in order to gain a result like this.

“This sport is really a full-time commitment.”

She added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to all the willing parents who transport the horses all over the country, to enable the Thomas Hardye school to compete at the level they do.

“The win was very exciting for all members and supporters of the team, and gave a huge confidence boost.”