Francesca Finneran from Nottinghamshire is the latest NAF Shining Star

Thursday 23 May 2024

Francesca Finneran from Nottinghamshire is the latest NAF Shining Star

Francesca Finneran, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, has been awarded the latest NAF Shining Star accolade. Francesca, a member of the British Showjumping Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Academy, was nominated for the award by her coach Joanne Burns Firth.

Twelve-year-old Francesca currently has three ponies that she currently competes – Falaza, a 23-year-old mare and former winner of the Pony European Championships in 2011, Hazy Meara, a 16-year-old mare who has not long started her Showjumping journey and Magic Monkey, a 34-year-old gelding owned by Tilly Shaw, a former winner of the NAF Shining Star Award.

Francesca was over the moon to have been nominated for the NAF Shining Star Award: “I was in shock at first that I had won but also absolutely delighted! There are so many wonderful riders in our Academy that I am extremely honoured to have been chosen.”

Having only started her British Showjumping journey at the start of 2023, Francesca has relished all the experience she is gaining: “I loved competing at the British Showjumping Academy Championships last year as well as competing at Hickstead and the NSEA Championships and hope to be able to do it all again this year.

“So far in 2024, I have competed at my first Just For Schools Championship, won a STX-UK Pony British Novice class at Arena UK’s Large Pony Premier Show and competed at my first POYS, which I loved.”

Looking forward to the second half of 2024, Francesca outlined her future goals for the year: “I would love to qualify for the British Showjumping National Championships and compete on the Academy Teams. I would also like to move up the heights, hopefully jumping Foxhunters by the end of the year. I am also hoping to compete at a Home Pony International this year for the first time too. It would be a dream to compete at HOYS or Olympia and I hope that one day these dreams will come true!”

Joanne Burns Firth, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Academy Coach said: “Francesca is a regular attendee at Academy training, often training with two ponies. She always looks forward to coming to training and enjoys both riding and socialising with the other riders. Francesca is always polite and willing to learn. She has represented the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Academy at the National Team Championship, and it has been a pleasure to watch her and her ponies progress.”

Talking about what she enjoys most about the Academy, Francesca said: “Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Academy is the best! Our Lead Coach Jo always makes our Training Days so much fun and I always learn lots. She includes lots of exercises that I can take away and practice at home which are helping me to reach my goals.

"We also have lots of different and interesting guest speakers and coaches who all help me with my performance. I have made lots of new friends in the Academy and we always have a great time whilst learning. At the Academy Championships last year, we all got together every day to cheer each other on and all had our faces painted to match – we all loved it.” 

Lisa Field from NAF added: “Congratulations Francesca on being chosen as this month’s Shining Star. It is wonderful to see how you are embracing training with your Academy to help chase after your dreams. We look forward to seeing what else you can achieve with hard work and dedication. Well done, Francesca!”

The NAF Shining Star Award was introduced when NAF became a British Showjumping Business Partner. The award is for members of a Junior Academy who have shown a great deal of commitment, progression, and outstanding behaviour, along with their riding ability and much more. Riders are nominated by their lead coach, and then judged and awarded by NAF to one person each month.

For further information on NAF follow them on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates and rider stories or visit the NAF website at naf-equine.eu/uk

Further information on the British Showjumping Academies can be found here: britishshowjumping.co.uk/training/Academies-1

 
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