A schoolboy from Northumberland has returned from the European Appaloosa Championships in Aachen, Germany with a clutch of medals.

Chris Dalton, a 16-year-old from Alnwick, took gold in both the trail class and the youth halter gelding class at the competition in Germany. He took silver in Western equitation (riding a pattern in three gaits) and a bronze in youth showmanship-at-halter, all with his six-year-old mount Zips Tardy Impressive.

Chris also walked away with the title of all-round youth champion for the highest overall points across all the youth classes. The prize was a bronze effigy of an appaloosa horse.

“He was absolutely over the moon,” said his dad, Rob. “It was the first time he had competed in Europe, and he only really went there to test the water.”

Rob said the plucky A-level student fought off competition from about 13 riders in each class — from all over Europe and the US.

Chris, who has ridden since he was two, became interested in Western riding after visiting horsey friends in Texas when he was 14. At that time Rob decided to encourage his son by importing an American Paint Horse from Texas.

“Now he wants to get into western horses professionally — his ambition is to become a professional trainer of western horses in England,” said Rob.