WEE COUNTY Vaulter Joanne Eccles took a podium spot in the USEF/AVA National Equestrian Vaulting championships despite having only half an hour practice with her horse.

She and her sister Hannah competed in the event held at the epicentre of all that is Equine in America (and the home of the 2010 World Equestrian Games) Lexington, Kentucky.

It was the AVA's (American Vaulting Associations) 40th anniversary and the first time the National Championships had been held in the state.

Joanne and Hannah had been invited to compete in order to check out the venue prior to the World Equestrian Games next year.

The girls competed on the horse Espoir Ardent a 16-year-old, 18 hand Selle Francais horse owned and lunged by Nicole D'Auriol from the Blue Star Vaulters, Virginia.

Over 50 horses took part in the competition which also had 218 female vaulters participating.

Despite only having half an hour training on the horse prior to the competition starting and very little warm up prior to the 1st freestyle round due to a lightning storm, Joanne managed to win the first round with Hannah also being placed high enough to make the second second round cut.

Joanne then managed to take third place in the second round technical test before taking first place in the second round free test. The combined scores allowed her to secure first place overall in the second round with Hannah finishing a creditable 11th place.

Having won both rounds Joanne was the overall winner of the class, however the American Championship first place went to Alicen Devita from Woodside Vaulters, California.