HARTPURY-BASED dressage rider Olivia Oakeley triumphed last week at the Myerscough College British Dressage Premier League competition.

Olivia, 18, and her horse Donna Summer (Rio) produced three fantastic tests to finish within the top ten in each of the three classes.

The pair achieved a fine score of 66.23% to win the Prix St George in only their fourth competition in that class.

Victory qualified Olivia and Rio for the Nationals at Stoneleigh later in the season. She also finished sixth and tenth in the PSG and Young Rider classes respectively, also with Donna Summer.

Olivia told the Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard: “It was a good performance and I’m really pleased.

“I wasn’t expecting to win as there were Olympians in the competition.

“We’ve only been doing PSG since January and Rio is doing really well. PSG is so much more difficult than riding the movements at home and is a huge step up from Advanced Medium.”

Olivia is continuing with her A-levels at Hartpury College while she competes.

“I have another 18 months left at Hartpury. The whole set-up with my scholarship is fantastic and so supportive as I can keep Rio with me. Having another year to set myself up properly is great.”

Former Malmesbury School pupil Olivia trains regularly with dressage star Carl Hester, who is based in Newent. She is also trains twice a week with Nick Burton, British Dressage Chairman of Selectors.

Alongside her own dressage and college commitments, Olivia gives regular dressage clinics to the Heythrop Pony Club and other private clients, as well as schooling horses.

She has also been given the ride for the forthcoming season on Killian James’ Vico M.

“I’ve always believed in myself but having other people believe in you, such as the Pony Club, is really confidence-building,” she said. “It makes you strive to do better.”

The personalised tack company Bling My Bridle has recently offered Olivia, who turns 19 in April, a sponsorship package and will be supporting her throughout the coming season.

Ultimately, Olivia is keeping the Young Rider Europeans in her sights. “That’s this year’s goal,” she said.

Having seen the test events at the Olympic Horse Park in preparation for this summer’s Olympic Games in London, she is looking forward to watching the Individual Dressage at the games, thanks to tickets generously provided by the BEF World Class Programme.

“The test event was incredible and the backdrop of “The Gherkin’ made it look amazing as it’s right behind the dressage arenas. It will be really exciting to watch.”

With three years left in Young Riders, Olivia will be looking towards 2016 for the chance to fulfil her Olympic dreams in Brazil. Hopefully, it will be a case of Rio in Rio.

LAURA BECHTOLSHEIMER also enjoyed a win last Friday, at Dortmund Grand Prix in Germany.

Laura and Mistral Hojris took the Dortmund GP with a score of 81.17%, as several of her German opponents fell by the wayside.

Laura, from Ampney St Peter, and her Olympic horse ‘Alf’ produced a beautiful test to take the gold medal and followed up with a silver in the GP Special in which she was runner-up to Germany's Kristina Sprehe on a score of 81.044%.