A KEEN Bridgwater horse rider will represent England at the Mounted Games later this summer after an impressive start to the season.

Sam Willis will travel 1,700 miles to Italy to represent the England squad for the European Team Championships on August 1-5 and hope to defend the title that the previous England team had won in 2011.

The 26-year-old has also been picked for the Southern England Team for the Home International Competition, which will take place at Uttoxeter Racecourse, Staffordshire this weekend.

She said: “I am so excited and proud to be representing my country- and Sega will definitely be getting some extra carrots for his tea.”

Mounted Games is an equestrian sport in which very fast races are played by people of all ages on ponies.

Willis was picked to represent the England Mounted Games Team in Switzerland and at the Royal Welsh Show in 2006 with her pony Holly but, on the day of selection she had an accident and we weren't able to ride in the team.

Her new pony, Sega, is one of the bigger horses on the circuit and Willis has been deep in training for more than a year to try and impress the national selectors.

The pair have already won the Welsh Pairs competition and the Middlesex Individuals competitions before Willis put her name forward for the England teams in 2012.

Willis was a successful member of the Quantock Pony Club Prince Phillip Cup Team, riding at Horse of the Year Show in Wembley in 2000 which she said was one of the highlights of her riding career.