By KELSY TAYLOR
Web Editor and Feature Writer
AIRBORNE TEAM: Meighan Ferguson trains one of her prized Irish Sport Horses at Airborne Stables located in Bixby.
KELSY TAYLOR for GTR Newspapers
Meighan Ferguson has developed an exciting career as a professional equestrian that tells a story of training, competition and success. Today, Ferguson trains both horses and students to follow in her footsteps at Airborne Stables located in Bixby.
Horses captured Ferguson’s imagination while she was growing up in Bixby. “When I was four years old my parents took me to watch the Tulsa Charity Horse Show. I wanted to learn to ride and jump horses like the riders I had seen.” Ferguson began taking lessons and competing as one of the youngest riders in the Hunter Jumper circuit.
While gaining experience in competitions, Ferguson became a member of the Council Oak Pony Club where she developed her love of eventing by the age of 12.
Mike Huber, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time representative in the World Equestrian Games, noticed Ferguson’s talent and gave her the opportunity to become his working student at Gold Chip Stables located in Bartonville, Texas. There she had the opportunity to learn from one of the top riders in the world at the age of 16.
Ferguson was quickly considered to be among the top ten young riders in the nation and was invited to train in a Young Riders session at Gladstone Arena located in Allentown, N.J. Jimmy Wofford, Olympic rider and coach, trained the riders from the organization during the session. Following the training sessions, Wofford invited Ferguson to become his apprentice at age 21.
Ferguson then returned to Bixby where, with the help of her family, created Airborne Stables. “It was always my goal and dream to one day have my own training facility. The property features two dressage arenas, a cross-country field and a large stadium jumping arena.”
Ferguson remained involved in working with Wofford and under his guidance “was a member of a selection committee to select the area Young Riders for the North American Championships, also known as the Junior Equestrian Olympics, for nine years.”
Ferguson currently focuses on training talented students to compete in eventing on the local and national levels at Airborne Stables.
With challenges of endurance and strength, eventing is sometimes referred to as an equestrian triathlon. There are three tests that make up the competition including: dressage, cross-country, and stadium jumping.
Dressage, the first in the series, challenges the obedience of a horse. Judges take into consideration the horse’s accuracy, form, gaits and a willingness to perform movements in a predetermined pattern.
Cross-country, the most challenging of the series, is set on a course that requires the horse to jump through obstacles that might be encountered in a wooded setting. Some of the obstacles might include large logs, ditches, banks, drops, and water.
Stadium jumping is the final test in the series. The horse must have an extraordinary athletic ability while maneuvering around a course and clearing each jump along the way.
The Irish Sport Horse has the willingness to learn and competitive nature that makes it one of the best breeds for eventing. Ferguson began traveling to Ireland once a year beginning in 1997 to bring this breed back to Airborne Stables. The horses are young and have had little training but as soon as they come into Ferguson’s hands they have the potential to become champions. Cappataggle Clover was chosen on one of the trips and has now become an exceptional eventing horse with a lot of potential. “He has great work ethic and is extremely talented,” adds Ferguson.
For more information, visit www.airbornesables.net or call (918) 366-9166.