HATTIE Aspell-Willington is out to prove that age is just a number after becoming the youngest showjumping judge in the country.
The 18-year-old, from Great Cheverell, was confirmed as a level one judge with the BSJA (British Show Jumping Association) last week and is the youngest adjudicator on record with the country’s national association.
Former Lavington School student Aspell-Willington has been a regular in judging boxes for more than two years but after waiting patiently to become a recognised official at the earliest possible age, the teenager is hoping to show that officiating can be a young person’s game too.
“I had to wait until I was 18 (in February) to begin doing the work to become a level one judge – that’s the youngest you can do it and people are usually more worried about the upper limit, when people get too old to do it,” said Aspell-Willington, who is studying A-level biology and also works as a waitress.
“I want to try and show that it’s something that young people can do too.
“I’ve ridden since I was little and started off doing a little bit of work on the weekends for the unfortunately now-late Jane Gregory, who was an Olympian. When I was 16, I started going in to a few judging boxes and I just picked it all up from there.
“I’ve sat with the judges and commentatiors and I’ve also been a groom, so I’ve seen what it’s like from both sides.
“I always want to try and go as far as I can in everything that I do and once you’ve done a certain number of shows, you can try and become a level two- I definitely want to go for that.”
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