A TILLICOULTRY girl has come first place in her riding class at an equestrian competition with her pony.

Emily Bastow, 12, qualified for the STARS Champion of Champions tournament after finishing top of her class.

She joined around 60 different competitors in her class and outranked them all, taking the first place medal back to the Wee County.

Emily entered the competition with her new forest pony called Howen Tawny Owl (Tony, for short), who she got last year and went on to represent Strathkelvin Riding Club.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Emily said she was over the moon to earn first place at her first major tournament.

She said: “When going into my riding club pony class, I saw how many people were in the ring and I wasn’t expecting to get a place since it was such a big class.

“When my number got called out to stay in the ring for awards and placings, I was very happy that I was getting something in my class.

“They called out my number and I was over the moon with Tony, it was so surreal I couldn’t believe I had just won this massive class.

“When the time came, I had the awesome opportunity to have my own lap of honour in the spotlight.

“Being able to have a chance to do this, it was just absolutely incredible.”

Emily competed throughout the season in smaller competitions to accumulate enough points to earn her a spot at the Aintree qualifiers.

She earned a spot in the Riding Club Pony class, which means judges are looking for ponies with good temperament and manners.

The young equestrian had to do a short display to show judges how well trained Tony was, with Emily earning full marks in her class.

Emily received the unwavering support of her mother Tammy Bastow, who she can thank for the keen interest in horse riding.

Tammy explained to the Advertiser that she had Emily riding since she was very little, an interest she has gained from her mother.

“She’s been horse riding since before she could walk,” Tammy said. “I’ve always had horses so as soon as she could sit up, we had her on horses.

“I’m over the moon for her, I couldn’t believe it during the final 16 countdown. I was ecstatic when she won it.

“It’s a once in a lifetime moment for her and a dream come true for us all.”