A working mother from West Sussex has been crowned winner of the inaugural Saracen Horse Feeds/H&H eventing bursary.
Laura Durkan, 32, beat off competition from 150 entries when impressing judges Francis Whittington and the team at Saracen with her goals for the season ahead.
Laura will now receive 8 months’ worth of nutritional support and advice from the Saracen team, plus training sessions with Francis Whittington, Laura Renwick and Spencer Wilton.
“I can’t believe I was picked,” Laura told H&H. “As a true working amateur, this is such an incredible opportunity.”
The sports coach currently competes her 15.1hh Jumbo mare Jing Mai at one-star level, but is hoping to use the support from the bursary to move up to two-star this season.
“Jing struggles in the dressage against her bigger-moving competitors, so I’d like help on making her more consistent and improving her accuracy,” Laura said. “I’d also like to gain advice on pacing myself better and getting her canter right.
“I want to show everyone how amazing she is and what a star she can become.”
Saracen marketing manager Liz Reid said: “This is a great chance to support a dedicated amateur who represents the future of the sport.”
First published in Horse & Hound on 8 May 2014.