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Cranleigh's Riding High

Show jumping might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of school sports, but Surrey’s Cranleigh School is currently leading the field in equestrian activities.

Over the academic year, the county’s most mature co-educational boarding and day school scooped three national titles; two national Silvers; three national Bronzes; six Surrey titles; numerous regional wins; and scored a clear round at the Royal Windsor Show, with fantastic team Captains, Issy Hollidge and Tom Smith, always leading by example. 

The highlight of the year was the Royal Windsor Horse Show where Cranleigh’s riders and members of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) took part in the Queen’s Services Challenge. The jumping was only part of the experience with all teams parading in the Castle Arena to salute the Royal Box. Taking third place behind two Army teams just added to the fun. 

After the hard work of the many regional qualifiers, the real fun starts when competing at the various championship events and it was a bumper year for medals and titles for Cranleigh riders. 

At the NSEA National Championships in October, Issy took the national titles in the Open and Advanced Open Arena Eventing, with Tom taking Silver in the Advanced Open, just a few points behind her. Georgia Stephenson joined them in the Open team competition for Bronze medal. In the individual Dressage Championship, Georgia went through to ride-off for Prelim title, finishing in Silver medal position. 

The Surrey County Show Jumping Championships came fast on the heels of the nationals and Cranleigh’s riders once again produced outstanding performances: Darcey Blaze Marcus was crowned individual Surrey Novice Champion; Lucy le Masurier Intermediate and Open Champion and Tom Smith Advanced Open Champion. Cranleigh’s teams were Surrey Champions at Novice; Intermediate and Open, all going on to represent Surrey at the National County Finals at Hickstead in May. 

Cranleigh’s Dressage team won the Surrey title in February, and in the tightly fought National final the dressage team finished in Bronze medal position. The Eventing team was crowned National Champions at the National Eventers Challenge Championship, Hickstead in May. 

The future looks bright for Cranleigh riders too, with sisters Annie and Kristy Vitek continuing to impress on the Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) circuit in Europe, riding for their national Czecholslovakian team and Year 9 pupil, Tara Moore, selected for U18 Southeast team for the BE90 Youth Championships for the second year running.