A TEENAGER from the Staffordshire Moorlands has been named the country's best horse rider under the age of 14.
Charlotte Chadwick, aged 13, of Waterhouses, has been riding horses ever since she could walk, and has won the Endurance Great Britain award for Top Junior Endurance Rider under 14 for England and Wales for 2013.
Winners are chosen on their average points from regular endurance rides they have completed throughout the year.
She is also the Top Endurance Rider for Derbyshire.
The Leek High student is now preparing to compete in the Young Riders 14 and Over Competition.
She said: "We travel all over the country on set routes which are mapped out for the competition.
"We ride to speed, and trot and canter are the main gaits.
"I also won the Snowflake Trophy in 2011, and got into it after my mum, Ruth, who has done endurance riding for the past 12 years.
"I tried show jumping and came second at the Beaver Hall competition in 2011, but my horse was better suited to long distance riding and I really enjoy it.
"It is very addictive, especially riding competitively."
Charlotte has three horses Billy, Taz and Prune, but she did most of her training on her previous horse Abbi from when she was eight-years-old.
She trains every day from home and mainly rides around the Manifold Valley, Oakamoor and Dimmingsdale, except from October to December when they and the horses take a well-earned rest.
The first ride in this year's competition will take place in March, and they are usually every fortnight after that.
Charlotte added: "It's challenging and mentally and physically straining, because you've got to concentrate and look out for yourself and the horse for hours at a time.
"You have to have a really good partnership with the horse."
It took charlotte six years to get to national and regional competition level.
She said: "It takes a lot to get us and the horses ready and fit.
"We ride them every day and have someone who walks them in between. The horses have a specific diet with slow energy release food to keep them going for the long distances.
"It usually takes six hours to ride 50 miles and during rides we stop every 20 miles.
"It's a great thing to do because we go all over the country and see some lovely places."
Charlotte's ambition is to join the Federation Equestrian International and enter competitions in Europe and the Middle Eastern countries in 2015.
She added: "I'm hoping this year to go to France to compete and qualify to compete with the British Young Riders squad in Denmark.
"I want a career in the equestrian industry, ideally equine nutrition and physio."
Charlotte always makes sure to do her school work, but she does not take part in school exchange trips as they often fall at the same time as the rides.
But she said: "I'm not missing out at all; I see my friends at school and I've got a lot of friends through doing this.
"My parents do everything for me and if it wasn't for them I'd never have been able to get as far as I have."
Charlotte's parents Craig and Ruth buy and breed their horses, predominantly Arabs, which are ideally suited to endurance riding.
Charlotte's mum Ruth, who is a psychiatric nurse, also competes in the Endurance Great Britain and trains with Charlotte. She came fourth in the senior class nationally.
Ruth said: "She is very focused and determined and very ambitious, and she keeps us very busy."
Craig, who is a property developer, is part of the support crew who check the riders and horses are ok during the rides.
He said: "It's taken her all these years to get to the top of her class and she is never happy until she's top. I'm very proud."