A SCHOOLGIRL has been tipped for the top after winning an X Factor-style show jumping contest at a major countryside event in Harrogate.
Emily Hobson, aged 14, beat more than 40 hopefuls to take first place in the first Next Talented Show Jumper competition, riding 12-year-old Chocolate Supreme.
The event took place at Countryside Live at the Great Yorkshire Showground, which was attended by over 10,000 visitors.
Over two days show jumping hopefuls were put through their paces in a series of heats by former Olympic medal winner Graham Fletcher and his wife Tina, one of Britain’s leading female riders.
A shortlist of 11 showed off their skills before being whittled down to four for a final head to head.
Announcing Emily as the winner, Graham said: “She watched everybody in every heat, not just her own.
“It’s that sort of determination you need if you’re going to go far – and I think she will.
“This competition wasn’t about who jumped highest or went clear every time – it was looking at their skills and potential.”
Emily, a pupil at Ridgewood School in Scawsby, Doncaster, said: “I’m so pleased. I thought I was in one of the toughest groups so it’s great.
“I’m really looking forward to being coached by Graham and Tina – that’s one of the reasons I entered the competition.”
Her mother Susan added: “I’m very proud of her. She’s only been riding Chocolate since January last year.”
Emily wins £300 prize money plus a day at the Fletchers’ yard.
Her ambition is to become a professional showjumper and she has registered to take part in British competitions.