A horse-riding first for ‘dare devil’ pupil Mollie

A student who only began horse riding three years ago will become the first to represent her school in equestrian this summer as she pursues her ambitions to qualify for national show jumping competitions.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 11:06 am
Mollie O’Connor. Picture by Alan Clapperton.

Mollie O’Connor, who lives in Morpeth, learned at a local riding school from the age of nine before being given her own horse – a 20-year-old, 14.2hh chestnut mare called Amber.

She began show jumping a year ago at a training yard and Amber has been joined by Alfie, a 13.2hh New Forest show jumping pony.

The 12-year-old, who attends Dame Allan’s School, said: “Amber gave me confidence and took me round my first show.

“You have such a special partnership with your horse and through her I fell in love with show jumping. It’s like flying, but without wings.

“Both Amber and Alfie love jumping and are very calm and quiet when they’re not in the ring. They’ve been great at building my confidence.”

Dame Allan’s has never had an equestrian team before, but now, thanks to Mollie, it does.

She will be representing the school at events where she will sport the school’s name and logo on her saddle pad and on her specially designed hoodie.

Mollie added: “There are a few competitions under the School Equestrian Games and it will be awesome competing for the school.

“I’ve still got a lot to learn and there will always be someone better than me. But I’m a bit of a daredevil and I’ll give it a really good go.”

Mollie trains every day and competes most weekends. She currently rides in unaffiliated shows, but she is looking to become affiliated later this year, which will see her enter BSJA (British Show Jumping Association) competitions where she can collect points, potential prize money and qualify for national events.

Fences will be between 70cm and 80cm high for her classes.

Will Scott, principal of Dame Allan’s School, said: “We are all tremendously proud of Mollie and delighted that she’ll be representing the school in future.

“Show jumping is a highly competitive sport and she’s achieved so much to get to the position she’s in now.

“It reflects all of her hard work and natural talent at the sport.”