Kettering schoolgirl wins equestrian award just months after breaking spinal disc

A 14-year-old girl from Kettering has won an equestrian award just months after breaking a disc in her spine.

By Phoebe Radford
Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 4:58 pm
Izzy Thomas, pictured showjumping, won a Shining Star award this month. Photo by Alison Parker Photography
Izzy Thomas, pictured showjumping, won a Shining Star award this month. Photo by Alison Parker Photography

Izzy Thomas has been awarded the NAF Shining Star Award for January, a British showjumping accolade sponsored by the equine supplements company NAF.

A rider is recognised every month and Izzy is the first shining star for 2020. She said: "I was surprised to be nominated for the award but I am over the moon to win! The ponies are giving me a great time on the junior circuit and I can’t wait for the next two years with them."

The award goes to members of a junior showjumping academy who has shown commitment, progression and outstanding behaviour along with their riding ability.

Izzy, a pupil at Pitsford School, broke her T5 vertebrae in her spine in a freak fall in a car park at a competition in October last year.

Her mum, Natasha, said Izzy was allowed to ride four weeks later and was back competing soon after but she'd had to work very hard.

Natasha said: "Winning this award has given Izzy a huge boost!

"It is very hard to train through the winter as we don't have arena lights, we often have to travel after school and hire somewhere else.

"We are of course very proud of the hard work she puts in and the dedication she shows."

Natasha added that Pitsford School's headmaster, Dr Walker, is very supportive of Izzy and as long as she catches up with school work, she can leave school early to travel to shows or training.

Izzy was nominated for the award by coaches from the Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire Academy, Mia Palles Clark and Alison Tee, who wanted to reward Izzy for the hard work and perseverance she showed over the last year.

Alison said: "It’s visible to see the incredibly hard work that Izzy has put into producing her ponies both at home and at her Academy training sessions. Both Mia and I have been so impressed with Izzy’s positive mental attitude and resilience and we feel she is totally worthy of being crowned the NAF Shining Star for January."

Izzy said: "The Academy is really beneficial, it has helped with my riding as well as course walking, goal setting and warming up.

"The coaches are so supportive and patient. I have improved so much since joining the academy."

The award comes with a selection of NAF products and Lisa Field from NAF said: "Congratulations Izzy, a very deserving winner of this month’s Shining Star!

"It takes great determination and patience to keep riding and training. Izzy’s commitment to her Academy training has clearly worked, helping her achieve such amazing results.

"Well done Izzy, we wish you all the best for 2020!"

Looking forward to the rest of the year, Izzy said: "In 2020 I want to keep having fun with my ponies as well as being consistent. I have qualified for a couple of Championship Shows and I would like to go to the National Championships in the summer."