Community rallies to support Hassocks show jumpers

A Downlands show jumper
A Downlands show jumper

A show jumping team with limited resources is coming on in leaps and bounds with the help of community sponsorship.

Girls at Downlands Community School, Hassocks, have been fundraising to help them compete at the highest level.

Gemma Johnson, a mother of one rider, said: “This show jumping team is giving the girls something to want to go to school for, and is giving them a little bit more confidence.

“It gives them something to focus on. This is something that they may not get the opportunity to do otherwise.”

The school entered three teams at Hickstead Showground last year at an event organised by Hurstpierpoint college. Downlands entered three teams, one of which came third to two teams from Hurst.

“Although it might not sound that great we are competing against mostly private schools with some having lessons everyday, so it is a very hard task,” Gemma said.

“The girls are having some lessons all together which is helping build their confidence in a show environment, and they are building friendships too.”

Due to their success, the school invested in a membership as a National Schools Equestrian Association team.

This year they have been entering more events.

Gemma continued: “After talking to the girls we felt it would be nice if they had matching saddle cloths so that they felt like more of a team.

“We went looking for some sponsorship to help us pay.”

Profiles Health and Beauty Salon chipped in to help pay for the saddles.

“The girls were still short of a little bit of money, so they had a cake sale outside Profiles on a very cold and wet day,” Gemma added.

“With a donation from Botanica Professional Tree Care they made all the money.”

“On their first outing the team jumping in the 60cm category came 4th which was a great achievement. The other girls who were jumping in the 70cm and 80cm categories completed some lovely clear rounds.”