National shot at glory for mum and daughter team

Three generations of horse riders at the Pegasus Centre at Tranwell near Morpeth-(left to right) Caitlin McHale, Gillian McHale and Susan Hodgson. Photo by Peter McCartney.

Three generations of horse riders at the Pegasus Centre at Tranwell near Morpeth-(left to right) Caitlin McHale, Gillian McHale and Susan Hodgson. Photo by Peter McCartney.

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A MOTHER and daughter from Pegswood are both dreaming of national glory after qualifying for a major event.

Nine members of the Morpeth Riding for the Disabled Group achieved the required standard for the RDA National Dressage Championships, which will take place in Hartpury in Gloucestershire next month. They included Gillian McHale and her daughter Caitlin.

Mrs McHale qualified for the dressage after a first-place finish during an event at The Pegasus Centre in Tranwell, where she is a regular volunteer, and 17-year-old Caitlin will be taking part in both dressage and countryside challenge competitions thanks to a second and two third places in Carlisle.

Three generations of the family are horse riders as Caitlin’s grandmother Susan Hodgson comes along to Pegasus once a week.

“I was a regular rider from age of nine until 25 when I stopped doing it, but when my daughter started to come here regularly with her school (Collingwood School and Media Arts College) I decided to get back into the sport and I’m glad I did,” said Mrs McHale.

“Caitlin was a bit nervous before her qualifying event, but once she got to Carlisle she was fine and did very well in the competitions. I am really proud of her.

“Everything went great for me on the day of my event and now we’re both looking forward to the national championships.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who has helped us at The Pegasus Centre, especially Caitlin’s riding tutor Marilyn Pafford. Hopefully, we can get the funding we need to get us and our horses down to Gloucestershire.

She added: “Having three generations at one riding venue is very unusual and I think we’re the first lot ever.”

The centre came about through a partnership between the Morpeth Group of the Riding for the Disabled Association, Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure and Northumberland County Council. Each week, more than 100 riders of all ages with disabilities from throughout the region take part in riding lessons, competitions and other activities.

Centre Manager Martin Peagam said: “Whilst we are delighted with the success of all of our riders, it is particularly pleasing to see Gillian and Caitlin both qualifying.

“I suspect that it must be unusual for a mother and daughter to have both qualified for a major championships at the same time.”

The other riders that will be taking part in the national championships are Jess Southwick, Michael Benson, Ryan Gillespie, Robyn Rowntree, Kim Chapman, Gayle Bloomfield and Stefan Storey.

Gayle has achieved a lot of success in the past 12 months and she was recently part of the four-strong ‘Northern Bakers’ team that beat seven other teams from across five regions in the Para Home International held at Vale View, Leicestershire.

“We need to find the funds to pay for the transport and accommodation for the horses and riders, as well as for the staff and volunteers who need to accompany them,” added Mr Peagam.

“We would be delighted to hear from anyone who would be interested in sponsoring the team.”

He appealed to anyone interested in supporting the riders to contact him on 01670 518219.