ONE member of the Tweeddale Rideability Group is rightly sitting a little higher in the saddle after winning a third-place at the coveted Riding for the Disabled Association's (RDA's) National Championships.

Alexander Clark had already won the regional dressage competition in May to qualify for the Championships in Gloucestershire.

It was a near perfect performance aboard Gleann Albainn in the walk-only, unled dressage class to claim the victory at the Scottish National Equestrian Centre.

But problems with transporting the Tweeddale group's Clydesdale cob down to Hartpury College for the national championships put Alexander's finals place in doubt.

Thankfully, staff at the Ravelrig Group offered the Peeblesshire rider use of one of their horses.

And, competing against riders from across the UK, Alexander and new mount Thumper came third.

Katherine Carson from the Tweeddale Rideability Group told us: "A very generous offer from the Ravelrig Group of a ride on their lovely big, grey horse, Thumper, allowed Alexander to enter and he and his family travelled to Gloucester to experience a weekend at this truly amazing and inspiring event.

"The Championships showcase all the RDA disciplines - dressage, show jumping, carriage driving, vaulting, showing, the countryside challenge and, for the first time this year, endurance.

"There are also competitions for musical rides recorded on video, and arts & crafts.

"The event grows every year and is now the largest event of its kind in the world. There are hundreds of competitors of all abilities, supported by their families and many volunteers and it is often a stepping stone for riders going on to join the Paralympic team.

"Alexander was placed third in his dressage class, competing against riders from across the UK, and he also won a distinction in the Horse Care test."

Alexander was supported throughout the Championships by his parents, Carol and Gordon.

And they are delighted with the benefits as well as rosettes horse riding has brought for their son.

Carol said: "Alexander has been riding with the Tweeddale Rideability Group since primary school.

"Riding has improved Alexander's core strength resulting in significant improvements in his balance, posture and muscle strength, particularly in his legs.

"RDA has helped improve Alexander's confidence and self esteem.

"He has been encouraged to attend the RDA Borders Quiz, as part of teams from Tweeddale. He has also been supported when taking part in dressage competitions which has resulted in successes such as his first place in his class at the Regional Dressage Competition and third place in the RDA National Championships."

As well as saddling up with the Tweeddale Rideability Group, Alexander volunteers every Saturday morning to prepare all of the horses ahead of sessions.

Dad Gordon added: "RDA is a big part of Alexander's life but this could not happen without the incredible team of coaches and volunteers who give up a huge amount of their time to support all riders."

Alexander wasn't the only Tweeddale rider to return from Gloucestershire with a rosette.

Oscar Lowther also won a third in class at the national championships in the Arts & Crafts section for his sculpture of a horse and rider.