Amelia, 12, set for GB debut at Hickstead

Twelve-year-old Amelia Moncrieff will make her Team GB debut next week at Hickstead CDI 3* International.

Amelia Moncrieff.

Taking her pony DST Don’t Panic – bought as an unproven five-year-old – Amelia’s rise to the international stage has been rapid.

The Rossett School pupil from Harrogate, started riding aged three - and with DST Don’t Panic (nicknamed Ollie) will be one of the youngest rider combinations at the competition.

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“Ollie is such a character, he’s only seven-years-old and can be a little cheeky, but when he goes into the arena he always ups his game for me and rises to the occasion,” said Amelia.

“He has exceeded all my expectations in the two and half years I’ve had him, I never dreamt when we did our first dressage test in February 2013 that we would be representing Team GB at Hickstead this July.

“Around the stable he can’t be left with anything, always being mischievous and cheeky. If he was a person, I’m sure he would be surfer with his wild mane, he’s a real lads lad and not afraid to be a mucky pup, but every morning I get a welcome whinny as if to say its field time!’

In September last year she was accepted onto the British Dressage Progress Squad, a feeder squad for the Prime Squad.

Despite her young age, Amelia has experience of defying the age gap. She won the Under-25 BYRDs Prelim Championships at Sheepgate when she was just 10, then went onto riding at the Summer Nationals at Prelim in their first year together.

“My goal back in 2013 was to represent Team Great Britain in 2016, something I’ll achieve next week, a year earlier than planned” she said.

“Our next goal is travel overseas next year to represent Team GB in France or Holland, then to work towards the chance of representing Team GB at the European Championships in years to come.

“Domestically we are working short term towards qualifying for the Winter Championships in April 2016 at medium level and freestyle.

“For the past five years I have been inspired by Charlotte DuJardin and have been lucky enough to train once under her.

“My mentor is Alex Hellings, the 2014 bronze medal winning Team GB pony rider, and whom I share trainers with, Sonia Baines based in Chesterfield. Although my day to day trainer is still my mum (Karen), who herself competes upto Advanced Medium.”

Amelia has been competing in affiliated dressage, supported by BYRDS (British Young Riders Development Scheme), since the end of 2010.

Before then she had been a regular member of the Bramham Moor Pony Club.

Proud father Steve Moncrieff said Amelia’s success was down to “hard work and dedication”.

“Amelia bought Ollie in December 2012, and it’s been a really special journey for the two of them, she’s 12 and Ollie’s now seven,” he said.

“Before we bought him, he’d never been inside a dressage arena and only lightly schooled since the summer. He is by the German Dressage Pony Stallion FS Don’t Worry but British bred. It is quite rare for a rider of Amelia’s age to school a young inexperienced pony from the age of five, and develop a strong partnership at such a young combined age.

“During their time together only she has ridden the pony. Certainly when they set off on their journey together many doubted whether Ollie would make a Team GB pony.

“Whilst his ‘dad’ is a famous German Stallion FS Don’t Worry, we didn’t have tens or hundreds of thousands to spend, and with a very modest budget and a very supportive breeder Amelia has proved many wrong, and shown that with a talented young pony, hard work and dedication you can realise your dreams.”

The Hickstead CDI will run from July 16-19.