Amelia achieves dream of HOYS return next month

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Bures youngster Amelia Lee has realised her dream of competing at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) again next month.

The Earls Colne Primary School pupil will be competing in the British Show Pony Society Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony of the Year Championship at Birmingham’s NEC on October 6.

Lee qualified for the prestigious event at the third attempt, after she jumped a cracking round at the British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show last month.

It followed two unsuccessful qualifying bids, which saw the 11-year-old just miss out with finishes of third and sixth at the Suffolk Show and at Grantham.

And mum Hayley was quick to highlight her daughter’s great determination in putting those narrow misses behind her to produce a fine performance to qualify at the third time of asking.

“Amelia is just so determined,” she said. “There are 16 qualifiers, held up and down the country and run generally from March time through to September.

“They are so spread apart and it costs so much to enter, so it is difficult to do them all, and you’ve got the crème de la crème of competitors riding in these events.

“There are mostly adults competing in them, but some children do enter as well.”

The Lees have had their pony Annandale New Approach for a year, having bought him as a novice pony who had never competed at any major horse shows before.

Amelia has been competing in the Working Hunter classes this year, which combines a course of rustic jumps followed by a ridden show and confirmation.

In April, the youngster qualified for the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, where she was one of only 20 other competitors across the country who managed to qualify for the famous event.

Going up against a field including several adults, Lee finished in an impressive ninth place.

Now, after qualifying for this year’s competition, a first-ever top 10 finish in the HOYS is the next dream she is hoping to fulfil.

“She’d love to finish in the placings this year,” mum Hayley said. “Her dream is to win it. It’s given her huge joy just to get there again.

“She’s been in the HOYS before in 2014, but she’s never been in a jumping class.”

The HOYS was first held in 1949 at the Harringay Arena in London, and after a spell at Wembley Arena, has been staged at Birmingham’s NEC since 2002.

This year’s show will take place over five days from October 5-9, with Amelia’s class being held on the second day of the event on October 6, at the Andrews Bowen International Arena.