A TEENAGER from County Durham has impressed overseas as one of the first horse-riders from England to compete in an international rodeo contest.

Jessica Darnton, from Sedgefield, finished up in 88th position out of 850 youngsters at the National Barrel Horse Association’s (NBHA) youth world championships in Perry, Georgia, in the United States.

Originating in the USA, it is a sport which is primarily for women and tests the rider to complete a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in the fastest time.

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The Sedgefield Community College pupil secured the top 100 ranking with her fastest time of 16.78 seconds, but just missed out on the finals.

Her mother Claire Darnton said: "We're so proud of what she achieved. Nine countries competed and all the different counties across America too. She was just out of placing [the final] by a split of a second. She did England proud."

Jessica had already been named UK Barrel Horse Association’s junior champion twice running and had collected dozens of medals.

She flew out to take part in the contest last month and spent a week training at Dei Gratia International Training Center, near Atlanta, Georgia, before battling it out on horse Shiloh.

Jessica and a girl from the North-West were the first to represent England at the championships.