Meldrum is lifted by ‘X-Factor’ triumph

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JEDBURGH’S Ellie Meldrum will seek back-to-back victories at this weekend’s Countryside Live after success at last year’s event ignited her career.

Meldrum won last year’s ‘Search for a Talented Showjumper’ run by equestrian experts Graham and Tina Fletcher.

The 14-year-old went on to spend a weekend with the Fletchers after winning the X-Factor style competition with her pony Sylvester – before ultimately representing the British Showjumping Association Scotland Junior Academy team.

One year on, the teenager will compete in this weekend’s Northern Show Cross section, but with a keen eye on the competition she won last year. The Fletchers put dozens of entrants through their paces over a series of heats throughout the weekend, before choosing the winner in a nail-biting finale. The competition is open to riders aged 10 and over and Meldrum says this year’s lucky winner is in for a treat.

“The whole experience has encouraged me to go for it and believe in myself,” said Meldrum.

Now in its 12th year, Countryside Live takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the Great Yorkshire Showground in Harrogate, with around 12,000 visitors expected.

Organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the event, dubbed the little sister of the Great Yorkshire Show, features a host of other equine events.