Horncastle showjumper overcomes disability to win title

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A Horncastle schoolgirl could be on course for future Paralympic success after winning a major national title.

Flossie England (11), left her rivals trailing to clinch the coveted 80cm National Para Equestrian Grade III Championship at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.

Flossie suffers from Erb’s Palsy after a traumatic birth left her with partial paralysis of her right arm and right shoulder.

Despite the problems - and encouraged by friendly rivalry with her older siblings - Flossie has been riding since the age of four.

Together with her pony Glad Your Mind - his family name is ‘Ricky’ - she produced a terrific performance at Stoneleigh to impress some of the country’s leading show-jumping experts.

According to mum Lindy, Flossie - who will start at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School next month - is determined to represent her country at the Paralympics.

And, while the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo might be a little too soon, she is determined to realise her dream.

Lindy said: “We’re so proud of Flossie. I suppose she is very brave but she just takes everything in her stride.

“Nothing seems to bother her.

“I know 80cms might not seem so high but it is still a challenge. While she was jumping, I think I was more nervous than she was.”

Flossie has only owned Ricky for a year but they have become inseparable.

Lindy added: “He’s 20 but he’s got an excellent temperament and they get on so well.

“Flossie does have specially adapted reins but, apart from that, she’s just like any other rider.

“She loves riding and it is fantastic to see her get so much enjoyment from it. Her siblings also ride and there is a bit of rivalry between them.”

The national championships were split into different grades, depending on the level of disability.

Amazingly, Flossie and Ricky have managed double clear rounds at every competition they’ve taken part in during the last 12 months.

Lindy is hoping Flossie’s success - combined with GB’s success in the Olympics - will encourage more youngsters to take up showjumping.

She added: “It is getting more popular but it would be great to see more young people taking part.

“It’s certainly made a huge difference to Flossie’s life.”