Royal date for teenager Katie

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A SEAHOUSES teenager will be riding in a Royal setting next month as she takes part in a prestigious international equestrian event.

Katie Dawson, along with her 12-year-old pony Indi, are members of the Mounted Games Association of Great Britain (MGAGB) and compete for the Yorkshire junior team (17 years and under).

For the second year in a row, 15-year-old Katie has been selected to represent England North at the Junior Home International, which takes place at the Queen’s country residence, Sandringham, on Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11.

She and Indi will compete as part of the team, facing sides from England South, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Katie, a pupil at the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick, said she was very pleased to be selected, if a little surprised.

“I didn’t expect it at all, because it’s my first season on Indi and I have trained her myself,” she said.

“Before that, I rode Bambi for five or six years.

“I only started training Indi properly in the middle of 2010 but I had been getting her there slowly since I got her in 2009. She’s improving all the time.”

Katie started out competing on Bambi as part of the Percy Hunt Pony Club, competing at the Horse of the Year show in 2007 and 2009.

At the event in 2009, the Percy Hunt team won the Prince Philip Cup, the trophy awarded to the champions of the Pony Club Mounted Games.

Only six teams compete as finalists at the show from 250 entrants.

Looking for a new challenge in 2010, Katie moved over to the MGAGB, and represented England North with Bambi last year.

The selectors for the team attend competitions all over the country in places such as Newbury, Chepstow and Newark among others.

England North represents a region from Birmingham to the Scottish Border, giving the selectors a large number of riders to choose from – the other members of the team this year are from Cheshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire.

Ahead of the Home International, Katie recently competed for Yorkshire at the Welsh Championships in Chepstow earlier this month.

The team came third out of 28 sides, despite competing with only four riders instead of the usual five, meaning they had to compete in every race.

And Katie and Indi have two tournaments in which to get some final practice and hone their skills before the international in September.