Badminton beckons for rider Rebecca

LOCAL rider Rebecca Ferguson (24) who is based in Oldmeldrum has qualified her horse, Loanhead Apache, for the prestigious Badminton Horse Trials in May.

The former Inverurie Academy pupil who studied Law and Management at Robert Gordon Univeristy will travel the 1106 mile round trip with her horse to tackle the most awesome, technical cross country course in the UK.

Looking back to when she bought the 11-year-old mare, Rebecca said: “Originally, when I bought her as a six-year-old I was looking for a dressage horse, but Patch liked to jump. She wasn’t quite good enough for pure dressage but I fell in love with her and decided to try my hand at eventing. I started at riding club level and built up from there until she was ready to affiliate to British Eventing in 2008.

“I was quite surprised at how good she was. We came across fences that were a bit tricky at times and we had the odd stop at cross country but we worked on those and she was improving all the time.”

Working at affiliated level intro (90cms) and pre-novice (100cms) Rebecca said she is hoping to do a couple of novices this year. Fences at Novice level are 110cms in height.

Explaining the qualification process, Rebecca said: “If you finish in the top ten per cent of any BE 100cm classes, you qualify for the Regional Finals. I qualified for the Regionals in 2009 at Aswanley. The Regionals in 2010 were also held at Aswanley, which we also won and this qualified us for Badminton in 2011.

“I suppose I knew we were in with a chance. I knew Patch was good but it was still a bit of a shock. I don’t think it’s sunk in just yet and it probably won’t until I get there. Of course I’ll be nervous, excited and scared – a bit of everything.

“I never thought in a million years I’d end up in Badminton. Patch is a clever horse, she picks things up really quickly and helps me out of trouble.”

In the main Rebecca trains with local trainers Niamh Meehan for flatwork, Steven Cruickshank for show jumping, with occasional sessions from visiting trainers David Harland, also for show-jumping and Scottish event trainers, Alison West and Avril Johnston, when the opportunity arises.