Bena Slack, a Year 9 student at Richmond School and Sixth Form College, has triumphed at the National School Equestrian Association (NESA) show-jumping championships. Representing the School’s Equestrian team, and following two qualifying rounds, thirteen-year-old Bena competed in a class of around 100 team and individual riders. She competed directly with around 40 of them as individuals and achieved first place in the finals of the 85cm jumping class.

Bena’s passion for riding and competing started at an early age and she took part in her first competition aged just six years old. She rode to this recent success on Unorthodox Blue, her 14.2 hands high pony, who she has only been riding for six months but has developed a great partnership with.  This has been demonstrated by the fact she has qualified for the nationals a second time, this time securing a place in the 95cm championships.

Bena trains her ponies every day and really enjoys competing and has her sights firmly set on qualifying for some international shows in 2019. Following her national success Bena said: “Winning at national level for my School is a great feeling.  The help and support of my friends makes it that little bit easier as this event was very challenging. I rode two great rounds, with some great tight turns and as I was one of the first to go, I really had to give it my all. I was competing against some very good ponies and riders. I really enjoy the NSEA for Schools as I make some great friends. I was awarded with a championship rug, saddle cloth, sash, rosettes, base-ball cap, bucket and vouchers. The whole weekend was incredible.”

The 14-strong Richmond School and Sixth Form Equestrian Team are a dedicated group, and show great commitment to their riding, training regularly to achieve the high standard demanded at elite level.  The team have enjoyed a run of successes in recent years and have a number of competitions in the pipeline.  Kirstie Thornton, Team Manager, commented: “This is a great result for Bena and we are very proud of her achievement.  Our Equestrian team has achieved a lot over the past few years and I am very proud of all of the team members.  As a team we regularly compete at the NSEA events throughout the year qualifiers, County and National championships and I really appreciate all the efforts and dedication that the girls and their parents put in to make this happen. I know it is a big commitment although the qualifiers are mostly at Northallerton the championships are always down in Buckinghamshire/Bedfordshire.