Bures youngster Amelia Lee performed the perfect round to claim third place at the Horse of the Year Show at the Birmingham NEC last week.
The 11-year-old made her third appearance in the world famous horse show last Thursday, competing in the British Show Pony Society Mountain and Moorland 122cm Working Hunter Pony of the Year class.
Lee, and her pony Annandale New Approach, trotted with presence in front of a huge crowd under the lights, and were awarded a total of 84 points out of a possible 100 to be placed third.
Ruby Ward took the top two positions, riding Blackhill Imogen to second with 85 points, while Kyregate Peter Pan went one better with 86 points to win the class.
It meant Lee was just two points short of finishing in top spot herself, and mum Hayley hopes this result has given her plenty of belief to go even better next year.
“It definitely without a doubt showed her that she can get up there and win it,” she said.
“There’s no reason why not. She was so close to winning it and we really didn’t expect her to finish as high as she did this year to be honest.
“But Amelia put so much into it and it was so nice for her to be rewarded.
“She’d never been placed at the Horse of the Year Show before, so to finish third and for there to be just two marks between her and the winner this year is a great achievement.”
The Horse of the Year Show is widely regarded as the pinnacle of achievement in the equestrian world, with qualifying classes held up and down the country between March and September each year for owners and riders to try to secure a spot in the annual competition.
Lee qualified for this year’s event at the third attempt after jumping an excellent round at the British Showjumping National Championships and Stoneleigh Horse Show in August.
In Lee’s class at the Horse of the Year Show, the British Show Pony Society Mountain and Moorland 122cm Working Hunter Pony of the Year, ponies must be a native breed to this country and be no higher than 122cm.
Competitors in the class begin by jumping a course of imposing, spooky and clever fences, with marks awarded for the number of fences which are jumped clear, as well as the style and presence in which they jump them.
In the next section, competitors have to show their pony in front of the judge, where they will perform a ridden show of walk, trot, canter and gallop.
The final section sees the pony’s confirmation judged, which starts with the competitor taking their pony’s saddle off and stand their pony in front of the judge.
They will then walk away from the judge and trot back, with all the points from the three sections being put together to give the competitor their final score.
Lee was joined in Birmingham last week by her trainer Charlie Letham, who runs the livery yard in Bulmer where they keep Annandale New Approach.
Letham has been giving Lee lessons in the lead up to last Thursday and supported her at the show by walking the course with her.
“It really was an amazing experience for Amelia,” mum Hayley said. “Just to get to the show was wonderful enough but to be placed so high was just unexpected.
“As you can imagine, this has been a year of hard work and lots of training for both of them and it’s so nice to be rewarded for this.”