A pupil at Harrogate independent prep school Belmont Grosvenor is celebrating after being crowned a ‘Lucky Star’ champion in a major equestrian competition.
Nellie Munyard, 9, a pupil in Year 4 at the co-educational Harrogate school, travelled to the world-famous home of horse riding and racing, Aintree, to compete in the 2019 Northern Stars Champion of Champions Show.
With her two ponies, Haari and Brendan, Nellie took to the main ring at the Aintree International Equestrian Centre for two classes at the weekend-long event, which saw competitors from riding clubs up and down the country compete.
Belmont Grosvenor pupil Nellie qualified for Aintree’s In-Hand Coloured Pony final, and the Young Handler Final, after a series of competition successes over the summer.
In a class of 40 competitors, Nellie, showing her miniature Shetland pony Brendan in-hand, was picked as the ‘Leeman Lucky Star’, collecting a rosette and cash prize, before progressing to the Leeman Lucky Star Supreme Champion competition.
The young horsewoman was selected as one of just four finalists – winning a second rosette and a £100 cash prize. Fellow pupils at Belmont Grosvenor have been quick to congratulate Nellie – hearing about her success at the school’s weekly Celebration of Achievement assembly.
“I really wanted to win, I’m so happy – I love horses, I’ve been around them all my life. Riding is such good fun – you get the chance to compete and win rosettes and trophies,” said Nellie.
Nellie’s bedroom at her home in Grantley, near Ripon, is covered in rosettes – she has enjoyed a string of success in show jumping and dressage competitions and her aim is to ride at the Olympic Games one day.
Mum Isabelle Munyard is proud of her youngest daughter’s achievements. Next week the nine-year-old will spend a day at the British Showjumping Association’s one-day Academy in Hull.
“We have seven horses and ponies at our farm in Grantley near Ripon, so Nellie has been around horses her entire life. I popped her on a pony when she was just two years old, with a cycle hat on her head, so I was able to get out to walk the dogs!” said Mrs Munyard.
“She is a very determined little girl and loves competing – she took part in her first competition when she was just four years old. She wants to win – and the Olympics are very much in her sight!” she said.
Fellow pupils at co-educational Belmont Grosvenor School, based at Swarcliffe Hall, Birstwith, have met Nellie’s ponies when mum Isabelle brought them into school – and they follow her progress in the equestrian competitions closely.
Peter Baird, Sports co-ordinator at Belmont Grosvenor School and Nellie’s Year 4 class teacher said:
“Nellie regularly brings in her rosettes to school and we admire her dedication to the sport. We are enormously impressed by her triumph at such a prestigious horse riding venue. We are incredibly proud of her and will continue to look forward to hearing more about her equestrian achievements as she progresses,” he said.