IT'S probably not often our sister paper the Malvern Gazette is quoted as evidence in Royal circles, but a report from an August edition way back in 1955 has been lifted from the archives to support the case for former Worcestershire international show jumper Dawn Wofford gaining a Queen's Award for Equestrianism.

Nine individuals have been put forward for the 2007 awards, with Mrs Wofford's nomination coming from the Pony Club for her services to young riders over more than half a century.

As part of its CV, the Pony Club has produced a yellowing page from the Malvern Gazette all those summers ago which says: "A day for young, inexperienced riders at juvenile hunter trials was crowned by the attendance of Dawn Palethorpe to distribute the prizes."

The citation adds: "Fifty years on (Mrs Wofford), is still an inspiration, hosting and teaching as grass roots rallies, while as A-test co-ordinator bringing on the most talented senior riders. A brilliant all-round horsewoman, still hunting regularly, she draws on her deep understanding of the horse to share her knowledge with children and young instructiors, who readily respond to her warmth and enthusiasm."

Three of the nominees will eventually be chosen for the Queen's Award, and because Prince Philip, Douglas Bunn, "master" of Hickstead and Yogi Breisner, leader of the British eventing world, are among them competition will be stiff. But the lady's used to that.

Back in the Fifties and early Sixties Dawn Palethorpe - who later married American show jumper Warren Wofford - was a familiar figure on television battling against the other great woman rider of the day Pat Smythe.

Dawn Palethorpe rode Earlsrath Rambler and Pat Smythe rode Tosca and to most of the general public watching at home on their black and white sets, they WERE British showjumping.

Of course there were the men like Alan Oliver with his "flying out of the saddle" style and the military Col Harry Llewellyn (on Foxhunter), but the ladies always cut more glamorous figures.

The Palethorpe family home was at Blakedown, between Kidderminster and Hagley, in north Worcestershire, where young Dawn was put on a pony virtually straight from her cot.

"I really don't remember a time when I couldn't ride," she said.

Her inspiration was her father, Capt Jack Palethorpe, who besides being a member of the pork pie and sausage dynasty, cut a dashing figure and was also a fine all-round sportsman.

Amazingly, for someone from Worcestershire, he excelled at ice hockey, skiing and sailing a yacht. He also played polo, which was where the ponies came in.

His daughter joined the Albrighton Woodland branch of the Pony Club and competed at all levels, eventually coming runner-up in the Leading Junior Show Jumper of the Year in 1951.

She then switched to horses and in 1953, at the age of 17 and on her first open horse Holywell Surprise, came second in the Leading Showjumper of the Year, winning the event the next year.

Then along came Earlsrath Rambler and one of the great combinations of British showjumping was born.

The pair won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at the Royal International Horse Show in both 1955 and 1956.

They won the puissance at Aachen in 1955 and were reserves for the British team at the Stockholm Olympics in 1956, where Dawn first met Warren Wofford. They were married the following year. She said: "Earlsrath Rambler was a once in a lifetime horse.

"You simply couldn't afford great strings of horses like some riders have at their disposal today, so we became known as a pair.

"Showjumping seemed to have a much higher public profile than it has today, probably because it was on television more, and the leading riders got asked for their autographs wherever they went.

"Funnily enough, when I retired from international competitions in the early 60s after my family began arriving, I thought I might miss all this attention, but I didn't. I simply moved on to another part of my life."

When Rambler retired, Dawn was selected for British team at the Rome Olympics in 1960 on her new horse Hollandia and the combination won the silver medal in the European Women's Championships in the same year.

But domestic duties called and she gave up the limelight.

For the past 25 years, Dawn Wofford has been one of the leading figures in the Pony Club. She was national chairman from 1991-1997, chairman of the showjumping committee from 1985 to 1991 and in 1997 was co-ordinating editor for a re-write of the Pony Club "bible", its Manual of Horsemanship.

Since 1997 she has been co-ordinator on the member training committee for Pony Club A, AH and B tests.

She said: "I love it. I love the thrill of getting the young riders going, getting them kicking on and having fun. It's so rewarding."

Every year she plays host to a four-day summer rally for nine-year-olds and under at her farm at Outhill, near Redditch.

Maybe a report ends up in the local paper. Just like it did back in 1955.