The News Leader, out of Staunton, VA spoke with our Series Creator and Director, Charlotte Mangin, and trick rider Fairland Ferguson about her incredible career and her interview for UNLADYLIKE2020. Ferguson–who performed with Cavalia–will be featured in our episode on Sonora Webster Carver, a fellow equestrian in the Progressive Era with an incredible act: Carver became one of the most famous female horse divers in the world, making history by diving 40 feet on horseback into a tank of water in Atlantic City, NJ. Sonora Webster Carver was blinded in 1931 when she hit the water with her eyes open. She continued to dive horses for another eleven years despite her blindness.
We’re excited to feature this interview with Ferguson, who shared many stories from her career, including the dangerous accidents she’s endured, as Webster did. Around age 20, Ferguson attempted to leap 70 feet from some rocks into the water at Smith Mountain Lake and hit the rocks below, breaking 46 bones. Doctors thought she may never walk again–let alone ride–could be blind in her left eye, but she made a full recovery following a year of intense rehabilitation.
Ferguson proceeded to have a vibrant career and continues to “wow” those who have the pleasure to see her perform. Ferguson joined Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede while attending college and then joined renowned global touring company CAVALIA in 2009, performing as a stunt rider with them for six years. Ferguson is currently transitioning from live audiences to film and television work, as seen in her appearance on UNLADYLIKE2020.
We were thrilled to speak with Ferguson, a talented athlete following in Webster’s footsteps today, and the amazing parallels between them. As Ferguson said, “Just drawing the comparisons, my injuries falling off the cliff and her overcoming and continuing to perform…There were so many similarities once we started digging in.”
Check out the article to learn more about Fairland Ferguson, Sonora Webster Carver and this special episode!