A teen horse rider has only been partnered with her horse for 10 months but the duo are already winning competitions.

Isla baron, a Year 8 student at Whitworth Community High School, stables her horse Sycamore Charm, who goes by the nickname Bernie, at Tong End Farm in Whitworth.

Isla competes for clubs including Rochdale Riding Club and Saddleworth and District Pony Club and has achieved impressive titles in competitions.

Her most recent event was a Showing and Jumping competition held annually at Tong End Farm organised by instructor Jenny Fallon-Cooper.

Lancashire Telegraph: Isla and her horse Bernie in a competition Isla and her horse Bernie in a competition (Image: Agency)

Bernie and Isla jumped a course of eight jumps at 70cm and the puissance, which involved them jumping over a single fence at 1.05m. 

At the friendly competition, which has been run since 2006, the 13-year-old was crowned overall Champion for 2023.

A few weeks earlier, they competed at the Saddleworth and District Pony Club when Isla and Bernie were first in seven classes ranging from Equitation and Ridden Showing to Working Hunter and Show Jumping. 

Isla said: “My Nana, Mel Baron, always had horses and when I was born she had a thoroughbred Emily, she was 16.2H so quite big.

“I had a mini-wheelbarrow and would help with mucking out and my Nana would sit me on the horse; I would be about two years old and Nana would lead me round. Emily was really calm.

“I started having lessons when I was about five at Tong End Farm and I have been there ever since. I have gone through quite a few horses.

“I started learning on Danny and I always had a good posture on a horse. Then I bought Twirl, a Fell pony. She was only backed when she was six as she was supposed to be a brood mare and had been in a field for six years.

“She was a typical mare, very opinionated and I had to get off her several times to be able to move her away from cars, but she taught me how to ride nicely and not be so bossy. We learnt together.”

After Twirl suffered an injury, she could not be ridden for six months, so Isla rode 16.1H Bella who taught her how to tackle larger jumps.

In August last year, she bought Bernie, who is still a ‘baby’ at five years old and 15.3H and has another two years of growth.

Lancashire Telegraph: Isla and Bernie with their winning trophyIsla and Bernie with their winning trophy (Image: Agency)

Isla said: “At the Saddleworth competition we beat a rider who had been at the Horse of the Year Show and in the show jumping we went over fences 85-90cm and he did really well. We ended up winning it.

“Bernie does like show jumping and he learns so quickly, he is very patient and is always wanting to learn. He is what we call an ‘honest’ jumper and he will jump off any stride. He has lovely paces and we also enter Dressage.”

Bernie’s stables are only three minutes from her home so in winter she visits him before school to feed him and over the warmer months Isla is back at the stables as soon as school is over for a couple of hours.

Isla added: “We have a great bond; I enjoy his company and he enjoys mine.”