Young riders locked in a hard-fought bid to impress a former Olympian showjumper

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Young showjumpers spent the weekend trying to impress one of Britain’s leading lady showjumpers, Tina Fletcher, in an X Factor-style ‘Search for a Talented Show Jumper’ competition and the respected trainer was impressed by what she saw.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Mrs Fletcher said: “There’s a very broad spectrum of people from 10 to about 24 in age and we have some really good young riders. It’s a great opportunity to be able to come to a showground and be judged.

“We have some nice young riders coming through.”

She said the standard of facilities and the availability of support for young showjumpers to progress in the sport was now better than it ever had been before, largely as a legacy of the push for gold at the London 2012 Olympics.

“Showjumping in this country is at the top of its game,” Mrs Fletcher said.

“It’s never been more healthy. The training process in England now is exceptionally good and there are lots of bursaries open to young people.”

The winner of the talent search was Ellie Meldrum, 13, of Jeburgh, on the Scottish Borders, with her 21-year-old pony, Sylvester. She was awarded two days of training with Mrs Fletcher and her husband, Graham Fletcher, the former Olympic silver medallist at their yard near Oxford.

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