A RIBBLE Valley woman will fulfil a lifetime’s dream when she flies the flag for East Lancashire and competes at the Horse of the Year Show.

Claire Crutchley, from Ribchester, said she was ‘over the moon’ after qualifying from the regional heats in Congleton, Cheshire.

The 33-year-old was riding her nine-year-old horse Made By Design.

The 16.5 hands Dutch Warm Blood, who is known as Rico at the stables, and Claire finished second on the day but made it through to the grand final at the Birmingham NEC in October because the first placed rider had already qualified at a previous event.

Claire, who is married to amateur rally car racer Ross Miller, said: “I couldn’t believe it when we qualified. I just put my head on my hands and burst into tears.

“I’m so proud of Rico and my family were really pleased as well.

“I have never competed in the Horse of the Year Show and I’m really looking forward to it.

“Rico did so well during the heats. It has taken a lot of hard work to get where we are and it’s going to be a great day.”

Claire, of Gallows Lane has lived in Ribchester all her life and is an accountant at Beaconfell Bikes, Whalley.

The Horse of the Year Show celebrated 65 years in 2013 after being established by Captain Tony Collings.

The first show was staged at the Haringey Stadium before it was moved to Wembley in 1959 and then to Birmingham in 2002.

Last year, the show featured 1,600 horses and ponies, 1,500 competitors and 65,000 spectators.

It will take place from October 8 to October 12, with Claire and Rico competing on the final day.