BETHANY Lee says she didn't expect to win.

But the Mobberley rider was nevertheless thrilled to record a victory with Creevagh Hannah in the Petplan Equine Area Festival preliminary bronze championship at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.

The field of talented horse and rider combinations needed to demonstrate their skills when competing for the highly competitive bronze title and it was a serious achievement to finish on top of the leader board.

“I was really pleased with it, she was really good," said Bethany about Creevagh Hannah.

"She warmed up really nicely and remained nice throughout the test.

"She was relaxed and forward and I was thrilled with her at the end to be honest."

Pointing to her winner's rosette, sash and rug, Bethany added: "I didn’t expect to win but I was still so pleased with how it was and this just tops it off."

The combination qualified at the rescheduled Winter Area Festivals, which took place in April and May, winning their ticket to this prestigious Championship.

Creevagh Hannah, a seven-year-old, 16.1hh Irish bred brown mare, impressed the judges with a powerful performance achieving the winning score of 72.56%.

Summarising the week, Bethany added: “I’ve loved it; we stayed over last night – the first time staying in our lorry so that was really fun.

"It’s been a really nice atmosphere. Everyone’s been really friendly, the whole day has been lovely and it’s been great fun.”

The Petplan Equine Area Festival gives amateur riders the opportunity to experience the thrill of competing in top competition style conditions in classes from preliminary to intermediate II level.

565 riders took part in the area event, with over 2,641 competing for qualification in the latter part of last year.