A nine-year-old showjumper who was riding before she could walk has taken part in her first national competition.
Thalia Nuttall was just two weeks old when she first sat in the saddle riding her family’s beach donkeys.
Now the Ingoldmells schoolgirl has made her debut competing against the best young pony riders in the country.
It was a proud moment for mum Michelle and dad John who operate Nuttall’s Beach Donkeys in Skegness, Ingoldmells and Cleethorpes.
There was a double celebration, with Thalia reaching the final of the British Showjumping National Championship at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire and qualifying ninth for the Scope Festival Supreme Championship in Stafford.
Michelle said: “Thalia started riding beach donkeys when she was about two weeks old and always had natural balance in the saddle.”
She added: “We are over the moon and never expected her to get to the finals, it is beyond our wildest dreams how well she did. Thalia was competing against more experienced riders, but she had an amazing experience.”
Hogsthorpe Primary Academy pupil Thalia started riding ponies when she was five and registered to compete in national showjumping events last year.
Thalia rides every day and spent hours working with her trainer Jo Adams from Friskney to prepare for the competitions.
She gained four double clears on her ponies Another Victory and UB Little Cruise to qualify in ninth place at the National Showjumping Final.
Competing at The Scope Festival, Thalia exceeded expectations placed ninth out of 58 competitors on U B Little Cruise.
Taking part in the pure feed Tiny Tots class which is a 90cm track ridden by under 10s she rode an excellent double clear to qualify for the finals.
Another Victory, who’s stable name is Victor, won the consolation final in the Tiny Tots competition.
Victor also qualified 13th out of 111 competitors for the Cats and Pipes final which is held on a 75-85cm track.
Michelle added: “Thalia loves the showjumping and we are trying to work her way up the ladder.
“She helps her dad working with the beach donkeys during the summer and is the first to sit on the new ones when they arrive to make sure they won’t buck the kids off.”