At just 14 years old, Tichy Sanders, a student at Shebbear College, has already made a name for herself in the equestrian world. 

Recently, she returned to school after a remarkable performance at the prestigious Badminton Grassroots 2024 Championships, riding Sparhanger Velvet, owned by Camilla Albery. 

Tichy's journey to Badminton was no easy feat. Last year, she triumphed over 105 competitors, most of them adults, in her BE90 class at Bicton. Her victory not only earned her a place at Badminton but also caught the attention of the national press, with an article in Horse and Hound magazine.

"I couldn't quite believe it when I found out I had a place!" said Tichy, who is currently in Year 9 and starting her GCSEs next year. "I didn't quite think it was true, to be honest; it was only when I was driving up the road to Badminton and standing outside the estate that it really hit me.

"The atmosphere at Badminton was incredible! At the cross country, there were so many people watching, and it was amazing! My most memorable moment has to be galloping in front of the house with everyone cheering – but seeing William Fox-Pitt and Ros Canter was also a highlight!

"Velvet really enjoyed herself too and I am so proud of her. We didn't have the best dressage, but she loves the cross country, like me."

Tichy is a member of the Shebbear College NSEA (National Schools Equestrian Association) team, which has gone from strength to strength this year. They celebrated some fantastic results at the regional Arena Eventing and Show Jumping NSEA competitions and qualified for the national championships at Hickstead, which takes place next week.

NSEA team manager and teacher Marie Webber, said: "Tichy is just such an inspiration to everyone in the equestrian team at Shebbear. We're all so proud of her and were cheering her on from school – we spent all day clicking 'update' on the live scoring system, and a group of us gave a big cheer when the result of the clear round cross country came through! 

"The talent, skill, and trust between Tichy and her horse Velvet were beautiful to watch, and having an experience like this at such a young age is something she'll remember forever. I know she's going to continue going from strength to strength with her riding."