YOUNG Northern riders Holly Stevenson and Adam Valks are both through to the finals of a national show jumping championship after excellent performances at Moorhouse Equestrian Centre near Doncaster.

Both were among the entrants in the Kitt Junior Coral qualifier at the popular Northern arena. The class, for riders aged 16 years or under on ponies, offered eight tickets to the final at the national Blue Chip Championships, due to be staged in the West Midlands in April.

Holly, from West Rounton, fared best on her 14.1hh grey pony Stainsby Irish Mist, a Connemara cross. The 14-year-old finished fifth in the Coral qualifier and also claimed sixth spot and a ticket to the finals in the step higher Blue Chip Sparkle qualifier.

"We bought the pony off international eventer Helen Bell two years ago," said Holly's mother, Mrs Liz Stevenson. "Holly has brought Hector, as the pony is known at home, on from a novice and she is trained by Peter Allen from Stainsby Grange. She jumped good double clears in both the qualifiers at Moorhouse."

The Eaglescliffe School pupil also finished second in a 1.15m Scope Select qualifier at a junior BSJA show at Stainsby Grange, Thornaby a week before the Moorhouse competition.

"It was a very stiff course at Stainsby Grange and there were only two double clears in the class," added Mrs Stevenson. "That means Holly is also through to the Scope Festival for the second year running, a national end-of-season championships which run in Staffordshire in the autumn."

The talented teenager, who just missed out on a place at the Horse of the Year Show last year, is also bringing on a young pony which came from Helen Bell.

Adam Valks, from Barnard Castle, was sixth in the Kitt Junior Coral qualifier on the bay 148cm pony One to One, who is owned by Steven Faragher.

Adam's mother Mrs Janet Valks said: "Steven's daughter Katie used to ride the pony, but she went out of the age category in December. He's a fabulous pony and a real member of the Faragher family - lots of people wanted the ride, but Steve offered it to Adam."

The pair, who have also qualified for the Scope Festival after finishing fourth at Stainsby Grange, came from the last draw in the Coral jump-off.

The 13-year-old rider has also secured a place in the Blue Chip Sparkle final after winning a qualifier at Richmond Equestrian Centre at the end of last year on the mare Golden Fortune.

Mrs Valks added: "Golden Fortune is a wonderful pony - she's only 138cm, but has a big stride. Adam was on the gold medal-winning team at the Welsh leg of the Home Pony Internationals last year with her. He is very much the jump-off king - he either wins or nearly dies trying!"

The youngster has recently gained some sponsorship from specialist equestrian firm Nutri-Science.