PHOEBE NORTH from the Talland School of Equitation near Cirencester has won the 18 years and over final of the BHS National Equitation Competition at Warwickshire College – a unique championship in which no competitor owns their own horse.

Regional qualifiers are held at BHS Approved Riding Centres across the UK with the winners progressing forward to contest the national final.

The result was a late present for Phoebe, who had celebrated her 23rd birthday the previous day.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said. “I’m pleased that there’s an adult section because there are plenty of adults who haven’t done competitions before.”

Hilary Hughes, Phoebe’s coach from Talland, said: “I think it’s a tremendous competition and more riding schools ought to get involved because it is one of the best places for anyone to start competing.

“Lots of people come to us because we’re a training yard, especially those looking to take BHS exams. If they haven’t been to a competition, getting a horse ready for a championship like today allows them to gain valuable experience at competition level.”

BERKELEY show jumper Elizabeth (Lizzie) Hammond has been awarded the NAF Shining Star Award for her commitment and advances in the sport.

The 16-year-old was nominated by lead coach for the Gloucestershire Junior Academy, Nicky Florence, who said: “Over the last few years, Lizzie has made huge steps in her show jumping through guts and hard work.

“She puts her success down to having great ponies, support from her family and being able to attend regular Junior Academy training sessions.”

MALMESBURY SCHOOL Equestrian Team have qualified for the National Schools Championship, held at Addington Manor in October.

The intermediate team got through after a successful competition at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre in the West of England team show jumping qualifier.

Three teams of four competed at different levels against rival schools and each team was placed.

The Malmesbury School team of Miranda King (Kenmor Gold), Paige Davy (Zippy), Rosie Pyle (Honeywell Boy) and Kirsty Poulton (Crystal) led the Intermediate 90cm class until they were pipped at the post by the team from Royal High School, Bath. Malmesbury qualified for the finals as runners-up.

This will be the second year a Malmesbury School equestrian team has qualified for the National Schools Championship.

The school’s Mini team at 0.70m – Isabel Stevens, Lottie Iliffe-Moon, Tash Bailey and Freya Dibble – narrowly missed qualification in third place. It was the same story for the novice team of Freya Dibble, Paige Davy, Rosie Pyle and Miranda King, who nonetheless finished a pleasing fourth.

TEAM GB suffered a devastating blow last week with the news that former world number one eventer Pippa Funnell has been forced out of contention for the London Olympic Games.

With less than 100 days to go before the start of the Games, the announcement was a shock to many who had pinned their hopes of GB gold on Pippa, who has previously won silver and bronze in Athens and Sydney.

Pippa’s potential Olympic mounts, Redesigned and Billy Shannon are both out of action with injuries, the British Equestrian Federation revealed last week.

Pippa said: “I am, of course, devastated that I will not have a horse for London 2012. Winning a medal at London would have been the pinnacle of my career.

“Disappointment is part and parcel of equine sport. Perhaps that is why the successes are so sweet.”