MARLBOROUGH teenager Josie Symons helped British Showjumping’s Team NAF Children win European Team Gold at the FEI European Championships in Slovakia.

Having put themselves in a strong position during the first qualifier in Samorin, with three of the four Team NAF riders jumping clear to keep the team on a zero penalty score, the British team carried no penalties forward to the gold and silver medal jump-off with Belgium.

Great Britain then held their nerve to deliver three jump-off clears, a tally that the Belgians could not match.

Symons, 14, jumped clear with the British-bred Concordette RR, a 10 year-old bay mare.

The combination went forward to the second round of team competition with a zero penalty score after having jumped two initial clears, before collecting four penalties in the final round of the team competition.

Symons, who will enter Year 10 at Pangbourne College in Reading this September, came through tough qualifying at the end of April at Chepstow International to secure a prized GB place.

Concordette RR is a British-bred, 10-year-old bay mare owned byher mother Julie. In the opening rounds of competition in Samorin, the pair went clear twice before picking up four penalties in the final round.

In 2015-16, Symons, then a Year Eight pupil, was crowned county and national showjumping champion.

Pangbourne Equestrian Head of Riding Stacey Donnison said: “It is incredible. Josie is relatively new to the international circuit, so to put such a stamp on it, in such a short space of time puts her up there with the best.

"What is better than gold? When I found out the news, it sent tingles down my spine.

“Josie is very good to work with. You always knew she had much bigger goals than even schools’ equestrian.

"Once, at the start of the year, she put down ‘the Olympics’ as a future aspiration. Now, with most pupils you would take that with a pinch of salt, but with Josie you knew she was 100 per cent committed to that goal.

“As huge as this achievement is, I really do believe it is a stepping stone for her. Josie has the mindset and the ability to go so far in the sport.”