Horse rider, Georgie Spence
PUBLISHED: 18:25 01 February 2010 | UPDATED: 14:52 20 February 2013
This young rider is rapidly making a name for herself in the highly-competitive world of eventing with a European medal already under her belt.
Georgie Spence is a young rider who is rapidly making a name for herself in the highly competitive world of eventing. Her achievements already include a team silver medal at the 2006 European Junior Championships at Necarne Castle, Ireland, and the 2006 British Junior title.
Recalling the Europeans, Georgie says, "It was fantastic, a great experience, although it was pity we didn't win gold!"
She is very much aware that the path she has chosen will be tough, with many setbacks along the way, but with her quiet determination Georgie looks set to make her mark in senior competition. Georgie confirms, "I know how lucky I am to have such a great support from my family to give me the chance to make a living from my chosen sport, and realise there will be many ups and downs along the way."
Eighteen-year-old Georgie, who is sponsored by Tottie, HorseHage and Mapei, attended Stonar School, and is based at Foxham, near Chippenham, where she has 10 horses for competition. She explains, "I am very fortunate in that my grand parents live nearby and have 250 acres of land that I can hack around to get the horses fit at the beginning of the eventing year."
Georgie's top horses are her 2006 European partner, Song For Gull, together with Trenear, Running Brook II, and Richard and Billie Harding's Cottage Craft Spirals. After good performances at spring selection trials she was short-listed with all four of these horses for the 2007 European Young Rider Championships at Blair Castle (August 23-26), her preferred mount being Cottage Craft Spirals.
Running Brook II was second in the under 25 section at Bramham and 13th at Chatsworth three star event, while Song For Gull was fourth at Somerley Park. Georgie finished fourth, fifth and seventh in the under 21 section at Stockland Lovell with Tom, Trenear and Cottage Craft Spirals, and qualified Tom for the Novice Championship at Gatcombe's Festival of British Eventing. Plans are for Running Brook II to contest this month's Blenheim International Horse Trials.
Looking to the future she has high hopes for a Dutch-bred five-year-old called Olie, explaining, "He's only just broken but seems very special, so I'm quite excited about that."
Georgie enjoyed considerable success as a junior show jumper, her favourite pony being Dreamtime Outlaw. After a great deal of thought Georgie decided to switch to eventing with her other show jumping pony, Darraks Tonto, who took to his new job with gusto, the pair being selected as non-travelling reserves for the 2004 European Pony Team.
"I suppose from then on I was just bitten by the eventing bug and wanted to learn more about the sport and the challenges it brings," Georgie explains.
Georgie is trained by dressage rider/trainers Pammy Hutton and Tessa Thorne, and is a member of the World Class Start programme that provides funding for training for potential Olympic riders.
2006 was a busy year for Georgie, as, in addition to her European team silver medal, she was victorious in the Chepstow under 18 British Junior Championship (Song For Gull) and won the Avenches international one star event in Switzerland (Trenear). In 2005 she and Song For Gull captured the Junior International one star event at Necarne Castle.
Recalling her first visit to Necarne, Georgie says, "It was my first trip abroad and my first CCI* on horses. The dressage and show jumping was in a walled arena and the cross-country course was fantastic. I think it also helped that I won, so it was perfect."
Georgie, who celebrates her 19th birthday at the end of September, has taken the first steps up the ladder. She explains, "Thanks to family backing and my current owners, trainers and horses, I feel I am starting to establish myself in the sport, but you must never stand still. It is a tough game and I aim to be in it for many years.
"I am fortunate to have some wonderful horses currently but we are always looking to the future and I realise I must constantly search for talented, new rides and sponsors that can help me through to four star level."
In addition to the European Young Rider Championships, Georgie has another goal for this year, stating, "I'd love to win the Weston Park under 21 title." What of ultimate ambitions? "An Olympic Gold would be great and the Rolex Grand Slam would be a good one to win along the way!"
By the time these words are read Georgie Spence could well have consolidated her rise up the ladder by doing well in the European Young Rider Championships.
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1: Moreton-in-Marsh Show. Tel: 08708 777409
6: Warwick Flat Races. Tel: 01926 491553; www.warwickracecourse.co.uk
6-9: Blenheim International Horse Trials (Woodstock). Tel: 0871 789 4037; www.blenheim-horse.co.uk
8, 16: Stratford-on-Avon National Hunt Races. Tel: 01789 267949; www.stratfordracecourse.net
9: Worcester Way Endurance Ride (Stourport-on-Severn). Tel: 01299 823806
9, 28: Worcester National Hunt Races. Tel: 0870 220 2772; www.worcester.racecourse.co.uk
15-16: Gatcombe International horse trials (Minchinhampton, nr Stroud). Tel: 01453 887730
22: Arab Racing (Stratford-on-Avon). Tel: 01635 524445
22-23: Moreton Morrell one day event (nr Warwick). Tel: 01926 318313