AN AMATEUR horse rider has qualified and won a national competition against professional opposition.

Katy Stock, 46, of Lambrigg, attended the Horse of the Year Show with her pony, Rushfield Oh So Smart.

She said: "I burst into tears, and I still do thinking about it now. I had emotions like I’ve never felt before, there’s no other way of describing it apart from that I know I’ll never feel them again.

"I'm over the moon, it’s the highest accolade you can get in the horse world."

The competition, which took place at the NEC in Birmingham, is a chance for breeders to show off their hard work.

Horses are judged in three categories: jumping, show and confirmation.

They test the horses physical capabilities, as well as how well-trained and groomed they are.

Most of the horses are ridden by professional jockeys and sent by breeders who have teams to look after the horses.

Stock, however, was a teaching assistant at a school for autistic students and spends hours each day outside of working hours tending to her four horses - rising at 5.30am.

She can travel for up to seven hours to attend competitions around the country.

"My husband would say 'I never see her!'

"He made it down with me this time and it was a really nice occasion for us."

She won the competition two years after falling off her horse at the 2019 HOYS.

"In 2019, I qualified this pony but he threw me off at fence five.

"I had to do the walk of shame."

Going in, she was happy to be attending the event and just wanted to get around in one piece.

"I didn’t think I had any chance, I just didn’t want to do the walk of shame again.

"When it was announced, the whole room erupted in applause. I think it was really nice for everyone to see an amateur win something. I'll never forget that."

She was confident in her horse's abilities even at a young age.

She said: "He's 12-years-old now, in his prime, and I remember six or seven years ago people telling me he wouldn't be any good.

"I've been on horses since the age at which I could first sit on them though. I knew he had it in him.

"We're going to go to the Royal International Horse Show next year. Once he's completed that, he can retire."