December 2014: Long distance horse rider is British champ

JUNIOR British Endurance horse riding champion Izzy Wilson has dreams of taking on the world if her sport is picked as an Olympic event.

During the summer the 16-year-old and her horse Gizmo undertake two-hour training rides every day from her Edenfield home.

Last year the Haslingden High School Sixth Form student completed 10 long-distance horse rides up to 47.5k.

“Endurance riding is being considered as an Olympic sport,” said Izzy. “My goal is to go to Japan in 2020 and represent Great Britain in the Olympics.”

She was just two when her parents Graham and Kath introduced her to her own pony Tiny. Her mum would lead the pony while her dad ensured she stayed in the saddle – but, like her mum, Izzy was a natural.

Izzy first tried endurance riding at The Pony Club when she would complete a trek of 42km in four hours.

She said: “They give you a map and a series of checkpoints and you need to be in the right place at the right time and make sure your horse is fit and his heartbeat is not too fast when you get to the end. I found that I really loved doing it.”

This year she was asked to be part of the Endurance Great Britain’s North West Team riding against Sheik Mohamed’s elite endurance horses.

She was selected as a member of the England squad to compete in a home international in Scotland when England won and Izzy was crowned Junior Champion.

Her mum Kath said: “Izzy’s previous pony died unexpectedly. Izzy randomly selected Gizmo as her new horse despite him only being aged five and just backed.

“Despite this she has slowly brought him on, all on her own without any professional help, and they have gradually been noticed by Endurance Great Britain.”

She has been asked to be in the UK Junior Squad to compete in international rides and aims to be selected for the 2016 squad.

Besides endurance riding, Izzy used to do tetrathlon, a combination of running, riding, swimming and shooting. She also competes in mounted games, where a series of challenges are completed on horseback, show-jumping and dressage.

Her chosen sport does come with some injuries however – she fell off Gizmo and gained two black eyes, last year he stood on her foot and broke her toe, he kicked her in the leg causing a severe bruise and she fell off her brother’s pony and broke her collarbone.

Next year she will be competing in 80k rides building up to 180k rides – 100 miles in a day.

“I don’t let anybody else ride Gizmo,” she said. “I always know what mood he is in because we spend so much time together. We are inseparable.”

She would love to have an equestrian career, but if not she would like to be an animator.