A LOCAL junior rider has her sights firmly set on the European Eventing Championships and took a step closer towards her dream last weekend at Barbury International Horse Trials.

Fifteen-year-old Chelsea Pearce, who is based near Marlborough, rode mare Catherston Nutsafe to victory in Barbury’s Open Novice section, while her second ride Little Indian Feather came third. Both jumped double clears and came home inside the allotted time.

Pearce, who has already represented Great Britain at the Pony European Eventing Championships in 2013 with Catherston Nutsafe, said: “It’s our local event. I'm also lucky enough to use the Barbury Estate gallops for the ponies' fitness work. Barbury is an amazing event, when I first competed there last year I was quite in awe of it all.

“There is a lovely atmosphere and the viewing is the best you can get. For us pony riders, it is the ultimate aim to be selected for the Europeans so to be long listed to ride at Barbury in the final trial, you know you're one step away.

“My main hope for the season is to make the final six for the Europeans and finish in the top 10, and if I'm being completely honest, only a medal will do.”