Wilkinson is driving on to international competition

A teenager from Shelf is preparing to take on Europe’s best juniors at her chosen sport after a whirlwind rise to prominance in carriage driving.

Tara Wilkinson, a student at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School, only became interested in the sport three years ago but has already won a number of top competitions.

That in turn has led to her being selected for the Great Britain Young Drivers team who will compete at the in Austria in July.

Wilkinson initially followed her father John into the sport, although he too has not been competing for too many years. Since then it has become something of a family affair with mother, Lesley, also getting involved.

“It all started for Tara when she bought a little pony - which she calls Joe - about four years ago,” said Mrs Wilkinson.

“They have done quite a bit of riding, eventing and dressaging and decided she wanted a change.

“Tara trained Joe to drive and it has gone on from there.

“The fact that she has done the different disciplines has certainly helped her

“Naturally we are very proud and Tara is delighted to have been selected.”

Wilkinson has caused a stir in major competitions having won the British Young Drivers Outdoor Championship and also the Northern Championship where she was competing with adults.

Earlier this year she qualified for the indoor championships held at Keysoe. The competition consisted of a dressage phase, cones phase and obstacles. Success at that event saw Wilkinson crowned British Young Driver Champion.

As well as that she also finished second at a national competition at Holker Hall in Cumbria, beaten only by an open age driver.

Wilkinson is due to attend a training session with the rest of the Great Britain team in Essex this weekend with the competition itself taking place in Wr. Neustadt between the 10-15 July.