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Mayfield Riders celebrate 25 years at the Top

Published Monday 6th of February 2012 04:15:37 PM

On Saturday 4 February, former and current pupils and their parents gathered at an evening reception at The Old Palace in Mayfield to celebrate a quarter of a century of equestrian success at St Leonards-Mayfield School. The School's alumnae include six riders who have represented Great Britain at European Championships.
Since its inception in 1987, the School's Equestrian Squad, which is located just south of Tunbridge Wells, has won the National Schools Riding Championships eight times in total, which is more than any other school in the UK. The School's current accolades include National Schools Champions, County Dressage Teams Champions, and East Sussex County Show Jumping Champions at mini, novice and open level.

Mayfield's Director of Riding, Jill Barker formed the School's first formal riding team in 1987 and has masterminded its riding strategy ever since. In her reception address, Jill congratulated the squad members past and present for making the School a formidable force in equestrian sport and commented: 'We have always been an academic school that offers the opportunity to ride at the highest level. This 'work hard, play hard' ethos has taught generations of Mayfield pupils that everything is possible, as long as they are prepared to earn it. Each of you standing here today, and those who could not join us, are proof that this approach works.'
Royal Veterinary College student, Emily Erde, who was Riding Team Captain at Mayfield in 2009-10 was excited to return to Mayfield for the party. Emily, who in between her studies events at BE Intermediate level, thinks that the success of the Mayfield Equestrian Squad is down to the friendly and supportive atmosphere. She commented: "At Mayfield we benefited from brilliant tuition and the best facilities, but I think it was the excellent support network and our team spirit that gave us the winning edge."

Jill Barker spoke also about what the future holds for Mayfield: 'We'll continue to offer the best possible coaching to our riders, whatever their standards. And I'm excited that we are branching out into less traditional territory. We're now the first all girls' school in the UK to form a competitive Modern Pentathlon Squad.'
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