ShannonCoxDedication and determination are proving the key factors in the rise to prominence of young Island rider Shannon Cox.

Shannon is still only 10 years of age, but has been riding for six years. And she already has a fine collection of silverware to show for her efforts, and is eager to build on her achievements over the coming years.

She virtually swept the board in the recent Isle of Wight Riding Club junior awards, winning the dressage section on Blondie with 18 points; the showjumping on Newoak-Liquorice-Allsort with 11 points, and also on Blondie, finishing equal first with Ffleur Harris on Classic Czarina in the Showing.  That made her overall champion with a combined total of 27 points.

Shannon added to her collection of awards in the Sue Lightbown Memorial Dressage by winning Class 3 – Prelim 7 and Class 4 – Prelim 19, on Blondie, and taking runners-up spot in Class 2 – Prelim 1.

Shannon got her first pony just after her fourth birthday. She started by doing lead rein and has progressed from there. She acquired Mo (Newoak Liquorice Allsort) two and half years ago after selling her lead rein pony, and since then they have done all disciplines together, excelling in showing. This year they won Part Bred Ridden at the IW County Show and then went Part Bred champion.

Shannon not only has ponies as a big part of her life, she also enjoys drama and has been busy preparing to do a school production at Arreton Primary School of the Lion King. However, she finds ponies her escape route from a sometimes difficult life at home with her brother who has learning and behavioural issues. But she copes very well, and he goes along to support her whenever he can.

He mother Joni, pictured above with Shannon, said: “Ponies are fun, but she also has to do the hard work with it. As a 10 year old, having to come home after school every day to muck out and ride two ponies as well as keep up with school work can be hard, but she tries her best and that’s all that we can ask of her. We try to keep her down to earth as having a pony is a big thing and most girls’ dream. So I do try to make her aware of how lucky she is.”

Joni continued: “Blondie has come from a pony that was turned out in a field as a youngster to a terrific ridden pony that doesn’t stop amazing us. As with all youngsters, we have ups and downs. But Shannon is never put off and just keeps trying. She wouldn’t be where she is today without the help of her riding instructor Sarah Holmes, who has helped her with everything, knowing when to push her and when not to. I can’t thank her enough for what she has done. Shannon wants to be an eventer like Sarah when she grows up!”