Castle Manor Academy students, Jade Wecke (15) and her younger sister, Kelly-Jean Wecke (13) have ridden to success over the weekend as the girls took part in the Wales and West Derbyshire Championships at the David Broome Centre, in Wales. Jade rode two ponies over the weekend, Smudge and Cherokee Lass, while Kelly-Jean concentrated her riding on one, Nellie.
Jade collected a host of victories throughout the event in various classes. These victories included finishing first in the 80cm derby, 7th overall on the Saturday, 2nd in discovery class and first pony to complete a clear run. She also finished well in the “Take your own line” competition, which requires the rider not only to finish quickly, but also to choose the best route through the course. Kelly-Jean also competed in various events including a 4th place in the 80cm derby.
The competition was open to riders under the age of 16 from all over the UK and some classes had over 45 riders.
Both girls have been riding since they were very young, following a family history of competitive horse riding. Their mum, Tricia Wecke, was a top show jumper in her native South Africa, before moving to the UK. She now works with racehorses in Newmarket and helps to train her two daughters, who both hope to ride professionally in the future. Jade will this year progress to horses, from ponies, and is currently looking forward to what the future might bring. Jade commented, “I’m taking a year off competing next year to focus on my GCSEs, but will still ride regularly. It’s a wonderful sport to take part in and I’m really grateful to my mum who has taught me all I know.”. Jade is generously supported by Penny Ballard, along with her sister, to whom they are both extremely grateful for her continual support. Jade continued “Penny has been a real support and none of the competitive rides would be possible without her. She stepped in to support me and I’m extremely grateful to her.”
Kelly-Jean is similarly keen to ride professionally in the future, but understands the importance of a good education as well “It’s a lot of hard work, looking after the horses, but it’s worthwhile when you compete. Mum has always encouraged us to ride, but also to concentrate on our school work. Everyone at Castle Manor is very supportive and encouraging.”
Jade has qualified for the pony of the year show this year and competes in her school sports kit all over the country. She would love to see an Academy Show Jumping Team and is keen to encourage more young people to take up horse riding.
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