She’s young, hugely talented and just won her first senior cap jumping for Great Britain. But who on earth is she?

Showjumper Alexandra Thornton was born in the UK, but raised in the USA and switched nationality from American to British last year.

She represented Britain for the first time in the Copenhagen Nations Cup (17-20 May).

The 19-year-old, who made a name for herself on the Florida circuit, her first international win came in 2010, when aged 17, she became the first junior rider to win an international CSI** grand prix in Le Vaudreuil, France.

“It made sense to swap nationalities,” she told H&H.

“Competing in Florida, I was in my comfort zone, but the courses in Europe are more intimidating – I have to stand on my tiptoes to see over the fences.”

She was part of a less experienced quartet of riders sent to Copenhagen by British Showjumping performance manager Rob Hoekstra to cut their teeth at Nations Cup level.

Although Britain failed to make the cut at the halfway stage, she and the 10-year-old Caballero 84 were best of the Brits, along with Joe Clayton (Mr Darcy V) on four faults.

Alexandra, who was born in London and lived there with her parents and two brothers until she was 11, started competing in Europe while she was studying in France.

She is now based in Fontainebleau, just outside Paris and has a string of top rides, headed by Caballero 84 and Blue Cura §ao, who are contesting the international grand prix circuit.

Team GBR showjumping manager Rob Hoekstra said: “Alexandra is a very nice addition for us, especially as she is eligible for both young riders and seniors.

“She has a great mentor in [Olympic medalist] Norman Dello Joio and I look forward to working with her.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (31 May 2012)