Melton rider set for England debut at the age of 10

Poppy Shaw (10) and pony Rosie will represent England on the European stage EMN-160719-091910002
Poppy Shaw (10) and pony Rosie will represent England on the European stage EMN-160719-091910002

Pint-sized Poppy Shaw is aiming to go one better than her mum when she makes her international debut later this month aged just 10.

The Melton rider sets off with her family for Germany this weekend to represent England Juniors at the European Mounted Games Team Championships, which start on Tuesday.

Poppy has amazed and delighted her mum Kirsty and grandmother Linda Pantling in equal measures with her equestrian accomplishments.

But she is also keen to have the upper hand on her mum who won a silver medal with England’s senior team at the same event back in 2009.

“She wants to beat her mum and get gold,” Linda said. “We put her in last year just to show her the ropes with what she needed to do and how to do it.

“When she realised that she hadn’t made it we all sat in the horsebox and she said ‘grandma I really want to ride for England’.”

The carrot had been dangled and the challenge accepted by Poppy who attends Scalford Primary School.

With her trusty pony Rosie, they went up against more than 30 other riders aged 12 and under at this year’s trials and made the 12-strong shortlist.

And shortly after Poppy, who competes regularly for the North Warwickshire Mounted Games Association, was named as one of two girls in a five-strong England team.

“She’s the youngest in the team and she has the smallest pony,” Linda added. “It is just amazing what she’s achieved.

“Poppy started riding at 10-months-old. I used to hold her on and mum would lead the pony.

“She used to scream when we took her off so we knew she would make a little rider!”

The pair are already accustomed to success on the national stage as part of the Atherstone Pony Club team which won gold at the Pony Club Championships last year.

In June, Poppy and her team-mates qualified for the national championships again and will defend their title in August, while earlier this month, she represented the North of England.

Kirsty would like to thank sponsors R and T Autocentre, Red Band UK, and Tom Morgan Farrier, as well as Brenda and Eric Robinson for their donations, and Poppy’s grandparents Mick and Linda Pantling for their support.