Ellie and Sylvester show they’ve got the X factor

X Factor winner Ellie Meldrum aged 13 of Jedburgh on Sylvester with Tina & Graham Fletcher.
X Factor winner Ellie Meldrum aged 13 of Jedburgh on Sylvester with Tina & Graham Fletcher.

A Jedburgh schoolgirl is celebrating after beating tough competition to win her dream ticket of training with two of the UK’s top show jumpers.

Thirteen-year-old Ellie Meldrum was picked by Olympic show jumpers Graham and Tina Fletcher as the winner of their X Factor style competition held at a leading North Yorkshire countryside show.

The Jedburgh Grammar School pupil competed in the Search for a Talented Showjumper competition held at Countryside Live, in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, an annual agricultural show run by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).

Combining some of the best in the UK’s cattle, sheep and pigs, the show also plays host to a series of leading equine classes. As well as Search for a Talented Showjumper, Countryside Live stages a Ridden Mountain and Moorland qualifier for Olympia, as well as the North Eastern Driving Trials.

Search for a Talented Showjumper, run by the two Olympic stars, saw a total of 52 young riders being put through their paces over the weekend under the watchful eye of the world-famous show jumpers.

After winning through to the second day of the contest, Ellie was delighted to take top place in the competition, riding her 21-year-old Belgian pony Sylvester.

As well as winning £250 in prize money, Ellie has won the opportunity to work with the Fletchers and enjoy intensive riding training at their Oxfordshire stables.

The youngster, who has been riding since she was a toddler and has partnered Sylvester for just eight weeks, was delighted with her success.

“I am ecstatic, it’s just fantastic,” said Ellie, who is representing Scottish schools at a showjumping competition in London later in the year.

“I didn’t think I would get through. I just tried my hardest and can’t believe that I did it.”

Graham Fletcher said it had been tough choosing the winner out of a record-breaking number of entries for the competition – but Ellie stood out for her “enthusiasm and willingness to learn”.

“He’s a really nice pony and Ellie wants to learn which help her progress to the next stage,” he added.

“Competition gets tougher and tougher each year, and we have had a very high standard of entries. It’s a competition that Tina and I really enjoy being part of.

For more information visit www.countrysidelive.co.uk