At the tender age of 10, talented rider Lottie, from Hassocks, has qualified for four classes in the 2022 Nationwide Schools Equestrian Association Championship.
She also has qualified as an individual to represent West Sussex in the NSEA County Championships next year.
And it’s all down to her love of horses.“I just love them, they are my favourite companions,” says Lottie.
She owns two: Monty and Lexi and has an unbreakable bond with them.
It all started when she first set eyes on Monty when she was aged eight and Monty was seven.
She instantly fell in love with him, despite most people advising her and her family against buying him because they thought him ‘too green’ and too big for her at the time.
But she wouldn’t be put off. “She tried numerous other ponies,” said mum Georgie. “However she kept coming back to Monty as she just knew he had something special, along with a great temperament and was up for whatever challenges they would be faced with.”
Lottie has equal love for Lexi - “A living unicorn who constantly brings in the rosettes.” says Georgie.
Previously, her parents had very little equestrian experience and knowledge.
Now, mum Georgie and dad Michael, along with Lottie’s younger sister, Kitty, are Lottie’s key support team but admit they are all on a learning curve within the equestrian world.
Lottie represented her school - Atelier 21 Future School near Pease Pottage - in all her four qualifying classes for the NSEA Championship.
“My ponies Lexi and Monty are like my best friends,” she said afterwards.
“I don’t mind doing the jobs like mucking out and prepping for shows as it means I get to spend more time with them.
“You really have to care for and respect your horses like they are people to earn their trust and respect back.
“You need to work hard for your rides and accept that it will not always go your way.
“The horses’ wellbeing has to come first above everything else.
“My dream would be to become a professional rider, representing British show jumping on a European and International level.”
Mum Georgie added: “Lottie’s passion for riding and managing her ponies has helped her gain confidence and independence, along with so many valuable lessons in life.
“It’s really amazing. She is learning so many life skills such as organisation, perseverance, learning through mistakes - so much preparation goes into her riding, it’s remarkable.”
She also paid tribute to Lottie’s school, Atelier 21, who, she said had been very supportive.