THE Pegasus Centre in Tranwell, near Morpeth, is celebrating after one of its riders became a national champion.
Para-dressage rider Gayle Bloomfield won the Restricted Grade 2 Class at the Winter National Championships on her horse Bartie.
She achieved a mark of 70.48 per cent in her final test and beat a horse called Lambrusco, which has previously won a gold medal at the Olympics. On the same day, Gayle also won the National Para-dressage Talent Spotting Over-26 Group event with a mark of 90.67 per cent.
“I am over the moon with this success and the achievements are all the more special because I have only been riding Bartie for a few months,” she said.
“I am very grateful to everyone who has supported me, especially those who travelled with me to the championships, those at the Pegasus Centre who helped prepare Barty, and my trainer, Cathy Burrell.”
Gayle, a winner at the Northumberland Gazette Sports Personality Awards, took up para-dressage after she developed multiple sclerosis. The former air hostess and part-time riding instructor initially gave up horse riding after she was diagnosed with the disease, but she was persuaded to get back on a horse and has achieved great success.
The mother-of-two, who lives in Seahouses, has continued to pursue her dream of sporting success and has received support from not only her family but many friends.
Bartie is stabled at The Pegasus Centre, a designated Riding for the Disabled Association facility and home to the Morpeth RDA Group. It provides people with disabilities with the opportunity to improve their physical and mental health through education and fun with horses.
Bartie was loaned to Gayle by Sue Mead, his owner.
Pegasus Centre Manager Martin Peagam said: “We are delighted with Gayle’s success, which is a superb achievement and a tribute to her dedication and commitment.”
The centre came about through a partnership between the Riding for the Disabled Association, Blyth Valley Arts and Leisure and Northumberland County Council. It is committed to providing excellent opportunities for participation in equestrian and other leisure pursuits and for the development of skills.