THE Malvern St James girls’ riding team galloped off to a fine start to the academic year.

The girls, ranging in age from 10 to 17, started with a national schools’ championship qualifier at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire.

Four show jumping teams for various heights and a dressage team all performed well.

The 70cm team of Pippa Woollen, Jess Morris, Genevieve Manning and Isabel Watson won the jumping with style competition and took the first qualification spot.

Georgie Toole, from the 80cm team, was placed eighth as an individual.

The 90cm group of Octavia Manning Cox, Teya Thomas, Holly Coles and Jess Rogers were third and also qualified.

The 100cm team, comprising Eve Hobbs, Manning Cox, Rogers and Thomas, won their class to progress.

Hobbs was third individually.

Out of the four classes with more than 30 schools competing in each, Malvern St James qualified in third.

The dressage team of Toole, Watson, Coles and Manning came second and also made the championships, while Toole went forward as an individual.

Then, in the national schools’ championship at Addington, Buckinghamshire, Malvern St James pupils did well.

Martha Milton was second in the 1.10m individual show jumping class.

The tense 90cm show jumping with style class saw Thomas, Toole, Coles and Hobbs manage third place against more than 30 teams.

Toole, Coles, Manning and Watson in the dressage team were 17th out of 30.

Toole was placed eighth individually and Coles ninth.

Malvern St James also competed for the county championships and to make the national inter-county show jumping competition in the spring.

The 90 and 100cm team of Hobbs, Manning Cox, Thomas and Milton won both to be crowned Worcestershire champions and qualify.

Hobbs also claimed both classes individually as the school left the competition with an impressive array of cups and red rosettes.