A TEENAGE equestrian is a step closer to fulfilling her dreams of riding for Great Britain after being selected for British Dressage’s prestigious Foundation Academy and being placed fourth in a national schools’ competition.

Tabby Wood, 17, of Burley-in-Wharfedale, represented Bradford Grammar School (BGS) at dressage in the finals of the National Schools Equestrian Association at Keysoe International, in Cambridgeshire, on her beloved Bequia (nicknamed Baggy), her 17.2hh Hanoverian chestnut gelding.

It came after Tabby was selected for the British Dressage Foundation Academy; a supportive pathway aimed at increasing the chances of young riders being selected for Great Britain.

The determined teenager has come so far having undergone surgery for a rare form of fast-growing ovarian cancer, which was diagnosed when she was just 13. Shortly after she got the all-clear, she launched her own charity, Tabby’s Trust, to help other children and their families on the teenage cancer ward at Leeds General Infirmary and has successfully raised £25,000.

“I got the all-clear for another six months recently and I’m feeling really well. Everything seems good,” she said.

Tabby has only owned Baggy for a few months and, as she has grown stronger, her dressage has improved hugely, helped in part by Baggy being the half-brother of the famous Bella Rose, ridden by Isabell Werth – the multiple Olympic gold medal-winning German dressage star.

Said Tabby: “I was really proud to get into the academy. I’ve been riding most of my life, since I was about four, and I started dressage when I was 12. Dressage is very technical, and it does look a bit like horse dancing. The horses have to be very supple and strong in their legs and it’s harder than it looks.

“When I’m riding Baggy, we work together rather than me just telling him what to do, especially in competitions. He knows when it’s a competition and he loves to compete and show off. It would be great to swap the BGS initials one day for GB!”

Tabby is currently studying for A Levels in biology, chemistry and history at BGS and would love to be an equine vet when she leaves school.

At the foundation academy she will be taking part in specialist training with GB selectors, coaches and international judges as well as physios and mindset professionals.

Dr Simon Hinchliffe, headmaster at BGS, said: “We’re very proud of Tabby and her success in her equestrian pursuits. She’s a remarkable pupil and has shown real perseverance and dedication to achieve her goals. It was fantastic to hear she’d ridden so well for BGS at the National Schools finals and I’ve no doubt she will ride for Team GB one day.”