A TEAM of girls from the North Herefordshire Pony Club have won a place at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

Lottie Edwards, 14, Sophie Beach, 13, Charlotte Wilson, 14, Georgia Barrett, 14, Ottie Thomas, 13 and Jennifer Arnold, 11 will compete for the Prince Phillip Cup in Mounted Games, which will be held at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham from October 4 to 8.

Now one of the top six teams in the country, this is the first time in the club's history that they have qualified for the HOYS and they now will prepare and fundraise in order to compete.

"These girls thoroughly deserve their place at HOYS," said team trainer Edward Chamberlain.

"They have practised week in week out and have supported each other as a team brilliantly."

The competition involves teams of five riders competing in a series of relay-type races, where they will tackle a number of obstacles which vaulting on and off their ponies.

‘It’s a complete dream come true – we’ve all worked so hard for this and to qualify for HOYS is the ultimate goal," added team manager Rachel Barrett said.

"We now have so much to learn about competing at HOYS and have a month to get ourselves ready - including some serious fundraising, as we need to raise around £14,000.

"Many of the larger pony clubs get their equipment, team clothing, training venues and costs donated, but as a small, not-so-well-off club, we will need to raise this ourselves.’

Alice Arnold, who is Jennifer's mother, said that it will be the last chance for the riders to compete as a team due to two of the riders being too old next year.

"HOYS will be hard work for us parents too - we will have to take a week off work and camp in a car-park, but I’m sure it will be worth it," she said.

The team's daily routine will start at 4.30pm, with daily competitions from around 3pm and 7.30pm.

"It will be a fun but gruelling, exhausting and expensive week," said the club's district commissioner Sally Pearson.

"If anyone can help us put Herefordshire on the map with offers of stable or pony team equipment, clothing, practice venues or funding, we will be really grateful."