AN OLYMPIC hopeful from Old Sodbury has finished second in the British Dressage Young Professional of the Year awards.

Beth Miller, 21, is a successful dressage rider and set up her own yard 18 months ago, specialising in training dressage horses and riders.

She was one of seven people aged under-25 who work professionally in dressage to reach the national finals at the Talland School of Equitation in Cirencester and is planning to use her £2000 bursary prize to complete her UKCC level three qualification.

Miller is also hoping it will act as a springboard to a successful career.

She said: “On the riding side, I would like to get to the Olympics. That is my ultimate aim.

“With the business, I want to carry on expanding it and hopefully it will become a top training and schooling yard in the country, producing top horses and riders.”

Miller won the regional event at Olympian Carl Hester’s yard in Gloucester, where she did a training session with her own horse, was interviewed about her business and asked for her five-year plan.

The format in the national final was similar, although Miller was assessed on her riding ability on two younger and two advanced horses by judges Richard Davison and Judy Harvey, and impressed, only losing out on the £4,000 first prize to Alex Hardwick.

She said: “I’m very pleased because I was one of the youngest there as well.”

Miller has competed at many national events and also represented the British Young Riders team once, finishing second at the Byrds Home International for under-25 riders in Wales three years ago.

A horse lover her whole life, Miller got a job at Talland when she left school and went onto become the yard manager, in charge of 115 horses before going freelance and setting up Lone Oak Stables in November 2010.

She currently has eight horses at her yard, but can take up to 14, and rides Hawtins Sirica, a mare nicknamed Silky, which she is hoping to have a lot of future success with.

“I grew up with horses and had my first pony when I was two.

“At 14 I was given a coloured pony to ride which was particularly good and I got into the talent spotting finals.

“From then on I decided I’d like to do dressage so I bought a horse that got to national level and I got to the talent spotting finals with him and came fifth.

“I’ve now got a young mare competing at Elementary level, and hopefully she will go advanced this year and be my top horse for the future.”