Riders young and old scoop the big honours at Countryside Live

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SCARBOROUGH sensation Lucy Gilsenan enjoyed a weekend to remember at this year’s Countryside Live.

Gilsenan, just 14, took the Junior Novice title of the Northern Show Cross Series riding her horse ‘Maddy.’

However, there was actually cause for triple celebration after the Staintondale teenager also came second in the competition’s Junior Open section, as well as second in Graham and Tina Fletcher’s Search for a Talented Show Jumper contest.

“It’s been a great weekend, absolutely brilliant,” said a delighted Gilsenan.

“I’d love to be a famous show jumper one day, so who knows,” said Lucy.

The Northern Show Cross Series, held for the first time at Countryside Live, saw riders compete against each other on a testing course combining show jumps and rustic fences.

Held at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, crowds gathered to watch the riders – 15 in each class – race against the clock to be in with a chance of taking the top title.

Also victorious in the Bishop Burton College-sponsored event was pensioner Alan Evans of Monk Fryston who took the Senior Novice title after beating riders more than half his age.

The 74-year-old, who took part in his first competition almost 70 years ago, rode his mare ‘Sally’ to victory.

“I’ve really enjoyed the summer and the Northern Show Cross Series has been a great event,” said a delighted Evans.

There was also double joy for 14-year-old Jess Birkbeck, of Darlington, who took the Junior Open title and came third in Graham and Tina Fletcher’s Search for a Talented Show Jumper competition.

Northallerton’s Holly Stevenson, a second-year veterinary student at Liverpool University, also took the Senior Open title riding her horse ‘Touch Down Billy’.

Countryside Live was celebrating its tenth year and notched up record breaking crowds, a total of 12,061 over the weekend.