Meghan Blackwood jumps to success in Scottish league
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A talented Halkirk rider is among the top 10 showjumpers competing on the Scottish circuit at her level.
Meghan Blackwood (29) only made her debut with British Showjumping (BS) last October and due to Covid restrictions has only had seven months of competition so she has risen through the ranks pretty quickly, despite the long distance she has travelling to affiliated events in the south. And she balances all this as a working mum, studying to be an accountant with Victor T Fraser & Co in Thurso.
She has come 10th equal in Scotland out of 705 riders in the NAF Five Star Bronze Horse/Rider Combination League rankings riding her own 11-year-old homebred mare Kash II. She ended on 197 points which were accrued in the spring/summer bronze league for those jumping from 85cm to 1.10m which ran from April 1 to September 30, 2021.
Meghan travels south every other weekend to compete in classes near Perth, Glasgow or Edinburgh, with the closest BS venue situated at The Cabin Equestrian Centre, Inverurie. This means she doesn't get to as many competitions as riders living in central Scotland so she has to make every event count in getting clear rounds and placings.
She is self-funded with some additional help from her mum Kathryn Blackwood who lives at the family property at Torranshandall, Harpsdale, where Meghan's horses are kept.
After coming fourth out of 371 in the BS winter league jumping 1m she decided to up her game to 1.10m which was a bit of a gamble as she thought this might sacrifice her rankings however not only did it benefit her horse's ability but she continued to get good results, with only three riders in the bronze league jumping at that height.
Her recent successes have meant she has qualified for nine different competitions, including the league semi final, which would mean travelling south of the border. So far Meghan has not been able to go to any of these events, but she is planning to go to the Dodson & Horrell National Amateur & Veteran Championships 2021 being held at Aintree, Liverpool, from November 9-14, if she can organise transport.
She said: "I am planning to do more next next year. They will both be eased off over the winter then I will be looking to take them out again in February – Kash will be moving up to 1.20m and end up in the silver league the next time I take her out."
Meghan has bought her own lorry which should make travelling to competitions easier once it is converted and ready for use. She currently sets off at the weekends towing a trailer and has to sleep in it too.
Meghan, who trained Kash herself, previously evented but found her mare was more suited to showjumping and was enjoying it more. She said: "I do still love eventing but I think Kash just excels in the showjumping. I was having problems on the cross-country with her."
Asked how she managed to balance the rest of her life with competing, she said: "It has been a bit of a nightmare – it has just been non-stop and keeps me busy."
Kash and Meghan's other horse Just Bob VI are by a locally-based thoroughbred stallion. Just Bob also took part in the bronze league and finished sitting in 94th place out of 705, he is younger and described as being still a little bit spooky.