AN EAST Lothian horse rider is representing Great Britain at the carriage driving world championships for the first time – and is the only Scot in the team.

Rebecca March is in the single pony class in the FEI Driving World Championship for Ponies, which started last week on Thursday and ran until Sunday in Le Pin-au-Haras in France.

Rebecca, who lives near New Mains Farm, north of Whitekirk, got into carriage driving after a bet with mum Carol Boswell, who runs Seacliff Stables, and husband Jamie at the national championships in 2015. Carol also helps coach her daughter.

Carriage driving also runs in the family, as Rebecca’s grandmother Gladys Dale was a household name in the sport and is known in the Welsh breeding circles, and Carol is a tandem and single driver.

Rebecca, 32, will be competing with 14-year-old horse Elwood, also known as Woodie, who she found by chance after Carol took him for some schooling from his previous owner, who bought him from travellers passing through Kelso.

Woodie started out at ridden shows, club driving trials and also took part in an RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) driving camp. Woodie and Rebecca had a lot of fun together and their relationship has blossomed from there.

They began at novice level in 2016 and progressed from there, replacing and improving the equipment as they went, such as the adding of brakes to their first carriage.

Rebecca, who works in sales and evaluations for property consultancy Galbraith and helps Carol at the stables in her spare time, said: “I had to sell my ‘proper horse’ as I was unable to continue ridden eventing due to work commitments and I thought a driving pony would be simpler.

“However, that soon went out of the window once we started competing and moved up the levels.”

And the competition will be a family affair, with Carol her groom for the dressage phases and Jamie on the carriage behind her for the marathon and cones phases.

Rebecca, who trains at Seacliff Stables and has one daughter, 18-month-old Zara, added: “The reason we love this sport is because we are able to combine the family and social element with the competitions – it really is a family affair.

“I’m thrilled to have been selected for the British squad. After all of my hard work, especially during Covid, it’s the best news. It is my biggest achievement so far.

“We’ve seen so much uncertainty recently but this was just such fantastic news and I’m really excited; it’s my first time going. It all came as a bit of a shock.

“It is also really nerve-wracking but hopefully it will go smoothly. I thought this would never happen.”

Carol’s partner Rich is playing his part as well and helping keep Zara entertained while Rebecca and the family are competing.

To keep track of how Rebecca and Woodie get on and to find out more about carriage driving, visit Seacliff Carriage Driving on Facebook.