Twelve-year-old Lily Payne boosted her dressage career after riding to victory during her international debut in Le Mans.
The Leverton-based Boston High School student was invited to ride in the Children on Horses classes after attending a high performance camp in the new year.
This resulted in her being invited to a viewing day where the competitors are picked.
Riding Ann Savage’s 10-year-old mare Beckhouse Cancara, Lily - who is based at Leverton’s Sheepgate Equestrian Centre - rode a foot-perfect test to take the elusive red ribbon, including two third places over the course of three days.
“It felt absolutely incredible simply to get there and have the opportunity to represent GB, but to then go on and win my test on the second day was something I’ll never forget,” said Lily.
“Because it was my first international competition I just wanted to go, enjoy the experience and get Cara used to the atmosphere - never did I expect to win.
“I was pleased with all my tests over the three days and Cara felt confident with each movement.
“She’s a fantastic horse to ride and I cannot thank Ann enough for the opportunity.”
After taking over the ride from mum Sarah Payne in 2015, the duo have been unstoppable ever since, scooping various regional and national qualifications over the last year.
“Lily and the young mare just exceeded all expectations whilst out in Le Mans,” said Sarah.
“The pair of them kept their cool and simply did amazingly.
“Having competed internationally myself I did all I could to prepare Lily for the arena which involved pilates sessions in the lorry before her tests each day and help her feel as confident as possible to go out there and ride a good test.
“I’m so proud of both her riding and determination - it’s a lot for a young rider to take in but she went out there and proved to be wise beyond her years.
“The harmony between horse and rider throughout all the tests were simply outstanding.”
The duo now have their sights firmly set on more international competitions including the Europeans.