Melton rider Poppy Shaw lands European gold medal

Poppy and team-mate Sam Hopkins became world pairs champions in July EMN-180815-143627002
Poppy and team-mate Sam Hopkins became world pairs champions in July EMN-180815-143627002
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Young horse rider Poppy Shaw has her sights trained on a world title after claiming more international success in France last week.

The talented Melton rider was part of the victorious England under 12s team which won gold at the European Team Mounted Games Championships, in La Bonde.

Poppy hands over to Sam during a relay EMN-180815-143546002

Poppy hands over to Sam during a relay EMN-180815-143546002

It was the third year running that 12-year-old Poppy had been picked to represent her country at the championships, this time making the cut from 32 trialists.

With new pony Flash, she headed across the Channel with confidence high, and determined to go one better than the previous year when England finished second to pick up the reserve champion title.

And after three long days of competition, with 24 games per day, Poppy and her young team-mates once again made it through to the final.

Teams faced a slimmed down programme of 15 games, and cheered on by her family, she helped the England juniors to the title, ahead of the Italians, with Wales in third.

Poppy returns to France later this month with pony Cornflake to defend their world individual title EMN-180815-143556002

Poppy returns to France later this month with pony Cornflake to defend their world individual title EMN-180815-143556002

The gold medal continued a sensational season for Poppy who was crowned under 12s world pairs champion earlier in the summer, in Denmark, alongside Welsh youngster Sam Hopkins.

Poppy started riding before she could walk, helped into the saddle at the age of 10 months by mum Kirsty who introduced her to the all-action equestrian sport.

She has been spurred on to success by a certain degree of inter-family competition at home, and had been aiming to go one better than her mum who won a European silver medal with England’s senior team in 2009.

And the John Ferneley College pupil now has another international title in her sights as she goes back to La Bonde this weekend to compete in an elite 40-strong field at the world individual championships.

Among the many skills required in mounted games is picking up objects from the ground at high speed and placing them EMN-180815-143607002

Among the many skills required in mounted games is picking up objects from the ground at high speed and placing them EMN-180815-143607002

Poppy went close to winning the under 12s title in England 12 months ago with her pony Cornflake, finishing as reserve champion and the highest-placed girl after finishing just a few points behind the overall winner.

Grandfather Mick Pantling said: “We are all confident; it’s the same pony as last year and there was only about two points in it then.

“It was very close so we hope she will do it this year.”

Among the many skills required in mounted games is picking up objects from the ground at high speed and placing them EMN-180815-143617002

Among the many skills required in mounted games is picking up objects from the ground at high speed and placing them EMN-180815-143617002