ALICIA HAWKER, from Hullavington near Malmesbury, has been named winner of the 2017/18 Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Scholarship.

The 23-year-old, full time event rider, who recently graduated from the University of Bath, secured the prestigious scholarship judged by the expert panel of Gill Watson, Lizzel Winter and Sir Mark Todd, alongside representatives from sponsors Keyflow Feed and The Mark Todd Collection.

Alicia has enjoyed a stellar 2017 season including a top-three placing at the Equi-Trek Bramham International CCI3* U25 Championships and third place in the CCI2* at Hartpury International Horse Trials as well as competing in her first CCI4* (top-tier event) at Pau in France.

Sights are now set on making her debut at both Badminton and Burghley next year.

Her prize package includes three individual training sessions plus mentoring from the legendary Sir Mark Todd, a year’s worth of Mark Todd Keyflow Feed for one horse to the value of £1,500 along with nutritional advice and clothing, tack and horse-wear from the Mark Todd Collection to the value of £1,500. The runner-up spot went to Finland’s Pauliina Swindells and third was Britain's Nicky Hill.

Lizzel Winter of the judging panel said: "Last year Alicia was the runner-up and it was great to see such clear progression.

"She has a good depth of horses behind her and and has the determination and enthusiasm to get to the very top of her sport."