BETH McGuinness has belied her years to qualify for the Under-18s British National Dressage Championships.

The 12-year-old Bolton School Girls' Division pupil has been riding since she was two, and this year made remarkable progress after being paired with new pony Gwallwy Elfed Sion in April.

Within a month of training together the pair finished third at the regional championships for Beth's age group and were then bumped up to the first round of the Area Festival Regional U18s.

Amazingly, they made it all the way through the rounds before earning a place at the national finals, which will be held at Hartbury in Gloucestershire next April.

“I never expected to do it in our first year,” said the stunned Year Eight pupil, from Smithills, after her success at the u18s regional championships.

Beth began competing in local pony club shows when she was four, initially focusing on show jumping before discovering her talent for dressage, aged six.

She trained her first pony, Merlin Vi, with her mother and had continued success before last year finishing top 10 in her age group at the regionals in her first season affiliated to British Dressage.

But Beth outgrew Merlin Vi this year and had to restart the process with Gwallwy Elfed Sion, a 14.2 Welsh Section D.

After making a stunning start to their time together they were selected to ride in front of the GB under-21s trainers earlier this year, before booking their place at the nationals.