Ellen Whitaker has become the first overseas rider to win a year-end award from the American Grand Prix Association (AGA).

Whitaker, 19, was presented with the coveted AGA Rookie of the Year title after notching up an impressive $29,500 in prize money during her debut AGA Tour. Her achievement marks the first time in the 27-year history of the American Grand Prix Association that a foreign rider has won an award.

Whitaker opened her AGA account with two big money class finishes in the spring. A third place in the $100,000 U.S. Open Jumper Championship on 22 March earned her a cheque for $22,000, while second place to her uncle Michael in the $75,000 Grand Prix of Tampa on 27 March won her a further $16,500.

A stunning performance in the recent Winter Equestrian Festival in Tampa Florida, where she won the $20,000 1.50m Classic riding AK Kanselier, sealed the rookie title for Whitaker.

The AGA Grand Prix Series is the world’s richest and longest running series of show jumping events. The AGA offers over $3 million dollars in prize money on a tour that encompasses 30 events and 20 different equestrian market locations across the United States.