A PONTELAND pony has been recognised as one of the best nationally.

Baz, who is loaned by the Errington family, of Ogle, to the Morpeth Group Riding for the Disabled Association, finished fifth in the RDA Horse/Pony category of the first, virtual SEIB Search for a Star competition.

The volunteer-led charity, based out of the Pegasus Centre, in Tranwell, aims to improve the lives of children and adults with developmental and physical disabilities through sport.

The centre’s horses and ponies provide vital therapy, achievement and enjoyment to over 100 riders weekly.

And despite Covid-19 putting paid to the group’s sessions, their animals are still getting the recognition they, rightfully, deserve!

With over 300 entries across 10 classes, judges Richard and Marjorie Ramsay had the difficult task of selecting the top RDA Horse/Pony.

Richard said: “Again, a hugely difficult class to judge because we did look and thought, these are the sort of animals, good bodies, that basically if you put a saddle on them and a disabled rider, they look very much like they’d be able to carry that person.”

Whittling down the class, Baz was selected as one of a “mixed bunch of six animals” that they ‘really really liked.’

Another of the group's horses, George, was also entered into the competition, but was not placed.

In a statement, the RDA said: "Following the decision around the lockdown from November 5 to December 2, the majority of RDA sessions will have to be suspended over this period.

"Riding centres and stables can remain open for the care and exercise of equines during this period to protect animal welfare."

The Pegasus Centre is a partnership between the RDA, Northumberland County Council and Active Northumberland, the county's sporting body, who manage the facility.

Due to mark its 50th anniversary in 2021, the Morpeth Group relies on donors and fundraising efforts to deliver its vital work to young people and adults across the county.

And in a bid to keep funds up, the Group has launched an Adopt a Pony Scheme, with donations going toward hay, farrier and vet bills.