A horse-loving Doncaster girl has ridden her way to British success in the world of reining.
Yasmine Russo, aged nine, of Pinfold Lane in Moss, is the youngest person ever to win the Under 13 Youth Award at the British Championship Show, topped this week by news that she had also been awarded the International Rookie Youth Award.
Yasmine has been riding since she was two, originally starting with The Pony Club before she took up the new Western style discpline of reining in the world of horse riding.
Mum Dee, 29, herself a keen rider, explained: “It’s a family thing. She has always been a horsey type and we’ve always had horses.
“Reining is quite new, it’s a difficult discipline, high speed dressage.
“You have to wilfully guide and have a bond between you and the horse, everything should be small and minimal. It’s very technical.
“In competitions we run a pattern and have to learn 12 manoeuvres.”
To reach the level of success she has, Yasmine rides every day on three or four different horses. She trains under the watchful eye of American reining trainer Dusty Kerby.
Dee said: “She has competed all around the UK and has been over training in Europe. Hopefully she will be going to America at the end of this year, or the next.
“To win this is brilliant. Riding Bay Reinier she was the youngest competitor and the youngest to ever win this award, there are no children competing at her age.
“Despite huge pressure she has had some amazing runs this year and has worked incredibly hard for someone so young.
“This is Yasmine’s first year of competing in reining which makes the win even more special.”
She has already started concentrating on next year, training, before returning to competitions in February.
“We are trying to raise her game to be able to compete in Europe next year and the competition is tougher over there and the winnings are higher,” said Dee.
“She’s pretty cool, she works hard for it.”
And when Yasmine, a pupil at Silcoates School in Wakefield, is not riding?
“She does take part in school teams,” said Dee.
“And she enjoys hanging out with her friends, but the majority of the things we do are horse related - we have 10 at home! It’s a lovely thing that we do together and I’m hoping as she gets older it continues.”
And, although is may seem like a family affair, it doesn’t include 36-year-old dad John - he’s allergic to horses!
n Reining comes from the athletic movements that made the early American settlers ranch horses such invaluable assets.