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An Ardnamurchan High School pupil has came fourth in her first venture into a national carriage driving competition.
Katie Cameron, 17, and her family took on a 28 hour round trip to take part in the Ashfields National Carriage Driving Trials in Essex
The youngster only started competition driving four years ago and is delighted with her result.
‘Coming fourth in my first national competition against young drivers who are far more experienced than me at this level is definitely the highlight of my driving career so far, added Katie.
‘I have grown up around ponies and could ride almost before I could walk but, after a bad fall that resulted in me breaking my arm badly when I was three, I preferred to drive rather than ride.’
‘My mum drove and I always helped and really enjoyed it, I like that you get to focus on three disciplines and not just one.’
The phases Katie talks about are dressage, marathon and cone driving, which are normally done over three days, with the scores from all three phases combined to give a final result.
Events are run at grassroots, club, national and international level and, having now moved to national level Katie hopes to make the final selection for team GB young drivers who will travel to France next September to compete in the European youth driving championships.
Preparation, training, and setting up for competition in her chosen sport is a fete in itself for Katie.
On average in a competition season she will drive/ride her 13-year-old Gypsie Cob Jim Bob five days out of seven and keeps her self fit by playing shinty and attending online fitness classes. In a average day Katie will Spend one hour before school and two after school caring for and exercising Her pony .
‘It’s very much a family affair,’ she added.
‘Mum (Claire) supports me with my training and driving competitions while my sisters Amber and Iona help with keeping Jim fit while I am is busy with school. Dad (Jim) and Granpa are great at keeping my carriage and the trailer well maintained.
‘When we travel we need to take all of our kit with us for the completion . We have our trailer converted to hold all of our kit the pony and carriage . It converts into a stable for Jim and we have a large gazebo that become home to mum and I for the duration of the competition.
‘It’s a lot of hard work setting up when you arrive and making Sure that all the harness , Carrage’s and all of your outfits are clean and ready.then you need to walk the obstacles so you can plan your route to ensure you get a fast clear time.’
Katie is currently in her fifth year at high school and is hoping to study to be a vet nurse in Glasgow.
She is now looking for sponsorship from local business to support her in her journey to represent her country.