Flossie has always been pony mad. She really started riding at the age of 4 on a very steady elderly Shetland and immediately wanted to join the Pony Club and compete at local shows. Annie dutifully obliged and was happy to be trailed about stepping over small jumps and taking part in lead rein gymkhanas. But there was a problem Annie did not canter fast enough or jump high enough or indeed go anywhere without an adult leading her and was stifling her young rider’s competitive dreams. It did however suit me (Mum) very well because I knew that Flossie would have trouble controlling a more eager pony. When Flossie was about 6 I went to collect her from her best friend’s house to be told they had been riding all afternoon. I apologised to my friend for having to give up her time leading because Flossie couldn’t steer – “Oh I didn’t lead her – she seemed to be steering fine!”
And that was the start: a new pony arrived, new reins with loops arrived and Flossie set about training with a purpose. She was selected for the under 10 teams at Pony Club and they won all but one of their competitions. Last year she nagged me to join British Showjumping and she became a classified para rider, following an assessment, a month after her 10th birthday. She got a new pony last year, Ricky, and they went to compete in her first para competition at the end of last summer completing a clear round but being beaten by an older girl. They have worked hard over the winter to be ready for this season and produced a fantastic, fast double clear to win their first show this year at Bolesworth International.
Para show jumping is still in its infancy, unlike para dressage which is already a Paralympic discipline. Flossie has a full season lined up including the Riding for the Disabled Championships in July; the British Show Jumping National Championships and the Scope Festival of Jumping – these are prestigious competitions and she is very fortunate to be able to ride at them. In between she jumps in able bodied competitions as there are few grassroots para competitions. She strives to be a positive ambassador for para show jumping and to encourage greater awareness of the sport.
The photos are of her jumping and being presented with her prizes at Bolesworth International