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Free Spirit trailblazers

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Free Spirit trailblazers thumbnailFree Spirit Equestrian, Bessbrook have taken up a new sport

NOT only are they free spirits but Bessbrook's equestrian vaulting team are blazing a trail when it comes to their chosen sport.

Free Spirit Equestrian, Bessbrook have taken up a new sport which involves doing gymnastics while riding a horse and they will compete in their first competition on Saturday (November 5).

Five-year-old Jocelyn Hutchinson, Tilley Tumilty, Lilly McBride, Molly McBride, Izzy Frizell, Sophie Hamilton, Sophie Nesbitt, Eimear Hughes, Rosa Quinn, Rebecca Hutchinson-Rolston (niece), Sarah O'Shea and oldest member Lucy Campbell(17) make up the team and their equestrian coach Lorraine Hutchinson insists they aren't travelling to Meath solely to make up the numbers.

"I would like to come back with prizes if I am being honest, they are all very competitive," said Hutchinson.

"We would like to win but it is all very new to us and I think it is quite new to Ireland anyway."

The teams sessions are facilitated by Free Spirit Equestrian and taught by Fiona Fitzgibbon.

At the start the moves are practised on a specially made barrel, before progressing to the horse. Each girl chooses a piece of music, a costume and a sequence of moves that last around one minute.

"There is a freestyle routine and a compulsory routine," said Hutchinson.

"The barrel is used first of all and then the girls move onto the horse. The barrel is especially made, it is just a long barrel with handles on it and the girls practice on this before progressing onto the horse."

Hutchinson said she came up with the idea after seeing it on Fiona Fitzgibbon's Facebook page and she is delighted with the progress her team has made.

"Our group is only going this past couple of months and it is sort of new to Northern Ireland," said Hutchinson.

"I think we are the only group from Northern Ireland going to Meath."

The Bessbrook team will compete against other squads from all over Ireland and of course cost is and on-going issue and they'd appreciate additional sponsorship.

They have been sponsored so far by CEW Newry, National Auditing and Training Ltd and Jim Burton Insurance Armagh.

"The horses have to have their backs checked regularly and get vaccinations kept up date with travel to different places but especially with the vaulting, I like to look after the horses backs and give them plenty of physio to keep them right," Hutchinson said.

"They are getting a mini bus down, so it is very exciting and we will have a ball."

Anybody who would like to experience this activity or would like to offer the team some sponsorship can contact Lorraine Hutchinson at Free Spirit on 07775724667.

And there will be a chance for beginners to have a go later next month.

"There will be a beginners class, you don't have to have experience in riding, it is more like gymnastics on horse back," said Hutchinson.

"All the kids I teach though go to the Riding School and it would help if you have done gymnastics, but it is not essential."

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