Dressage rider destined for UK championships

Sarah Payne on Sheepgate Bommel
Sarah Payne on Sheepgate Bommel

A dressage rider from Leverton has secured herself four qualification tickets to the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships.

Sarah Payne, from Sheepgate Equestrian Centre in Leverton, recently won three regional titles and a second place competing at the North West Regional Championships.

Partnering her father Bruce Grant’s eight-year-old gelding Sheepgate Bommel, Sarah said she was ‘delighted’ with the performances.

“He is certainly a special horse as I’ve never won three titles on one horse before,” said Sarah, 39.

The mother-of-three runs the competition venue Sheepgate Equestrian as well as riding and training horses alongside teaching pilates and equipilates in her spare time.

She scored a personal best of 82 per cent in one of the freestyle to music classes and gained a perfect 10.

She puts her success down to a ‘strict pilates regime’, performance coaching, her talented horse and the support team she has at home.

“It definitely runs in the family as my daughter Lily co mpeted in the regional championships for the first time too,” said Sarah.

“She was the youngest rider at age 10, riding on the smallest pony - and despite it being her debut she managed to qualify.”

Speaking about the British championships in Gloucestershire on April 9, she added: “Although I will be competing, my priority is just to have a good time and if I win anything it will be a bonus.”