Freya stars for England before striking gold

A DIGGLE-BASED young horse rider who beat a serious condition starred on her debut for England.Freya Shaw was named as one of the riders in the British Dressage Youth Under-25s Dressage team for the Home Internationals.

And she was certainly not left awestruck as she ended up in ninth place overall for the two-day competition which took place in Grantham, Lincolnshire, on July 26-28.

On the second day, she finished second out of 43 riders from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales and was beaten only by a woman who trains with the Great Britain Olympic Team.

After impressing for her country, 19-year-old Freya went on to the British Dressage U25 Championships at Sheepgate Equestrian in Lincolnshire on August 23 and 24.

Riding for the North West in the novice section, she found her team in second position.

However, on day two she and her team-mates took first, second and fourth place out of 49 riders giving them the top position and first place on the podium.

As an individual, Freya was placed seventh out of 49 and was delighted with the result.

Freya’s achievements come despite being diagnosed with scoliosis – an abnormal curvature of the spine – and undergoing a seven-hour operation five years ago to have titanium rods fitted to correct the condition.

She was unable to take to the saddle until the summer as she completed her 12-month recovery.

But now she has come back and been selected for the regular side as she is not registered as disabled and does not qualify for a para-riding side.

Proud dad Nigel saluted her achievement, saying: “It’s amazing. Especially when you think of the journey she’s been on.

“It had always been her goal to pull on an England top and compete under an England flag. Who knows what her goal is going to be now?”

Freya has been riding since she was four-years-old and is a member of the Saddleworth and District Pony Club.

She was introduced to it by her aunt Carol and refused to let her spell on the sidelines dampen her spirits.

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