It was the call that every young rider dreams of so there was great excitement for 15-year-old event rider Laura Birley from Selby when she received the call from the Chairman of Selectors for the British squad to inform her that she had been selected and would be first reserve for the British team.
Laura had just returned from the British Eventing Pony Championships at Brand Hall where she was competing her nine-year-old pony, Ottava Rama or ‘Otto’ as he is known at home.
The pair put on a fantastic performance to see them finish 4th overall. Laura also took the prize for the highest placed home-produced pony, which she was very proud of as she has bought Otto on herself rather than choose to take on an experienced competition pony.
It was as a result of Laura’s performance at the Championship that she got the call and she is now looking forward to joining the team for the European championships.
“When we bought Otto as a five-year-old he had no competition experience and Laura has worked incredibly hard to bring him up through the eventing levels herself so this is an incredible achievement for them both,” said Laura’s mum Jan.
A keen horsewoman herself, Jan grew up in Scarborough and as a child had regular lessons at Snainton Riding Centre before going on to have her own horses.
These days, however she is keen to support Laura achieve eventing success and regularly travels across the country attending events and training sessions - The family’s hard work has certainly paid off with Laura now looking at a successful career in eventing and a well earned place on the British team.