CHIPPENHAM eventer Alicia Hawker has been named as the winner of the 2017/18 Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Scholarship.

The 23 year old, full-time eventer, who recently graduated from the University of Bath, secured the prestigious scholarship judged by the expert panel of Gill Watson, Lizzel Winter and Wiltshire-based Sir Mark Todd, alongside representatives from sponsors Keyflow Feed and The Mark Todd Collection.

Along with winning the scholarship, other 2017 highlights for Hawker have included a top-three placing at the Equi-Trek Bramham International CCI3* U25 Championships, third place in the CCI2* at Hartpury International Horse Trials and successfully completing her first CCI4* at Pau International, France.

The Wiltshire rider is now setting her sights on debuts at the Badminton and Burghley trials next year.

Her prize package includes three individual training sessions plus mentoring from Todd, a year’s worth of Mark Todd Keyflow Feed for one horse to the value of £1,500 along with nutritional advice and clothing, tack and horse-wear from the Mark Todd Collection to the value of £1500.

Todd said: “Choosing our Scholar always involves a great deal of debate and selecting this year’s winner was especially difficult.

"Ultimately however, it was a unanimous decision and we hope that all of our finalists enjoyed the day and took something positive away from the experience - we certainly look forward to following them as they progress through the ranks.”

Lizzel Winter added; "Last year Alicia was the runner-up and it was great to see such clear progression.

"She also has a good depth of horses behind her and brings forwards determination, enthusiasm to get to the very top of her sport."