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ScottishField

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EQy

EQy Magazine Bar EQy Magazine Bar EQy Magazine Barc Issue No 1 Issue No 2015 Issue No 11

Scottish Equestrian year

ISSUE 1, 2015, £4.99

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THE SUNDAY TIMES SCOTTISH INDEPENDENT SCHOOL OF THE YEAR 2014

Offering day and boarding education for girls of all ages, Kilgraston has something to inspire every young woman. 95% A–C at Advanced Higher

Scotland’s only school equestrian centre

Brand new science centre and 6th form study areas

Top sporting facilities and outstanding music provision

‘Kilgraston is flying high. It has been in the top three Scottish schools for Advanced

Small class sizes and excellent pastoral support

Highers for the past five years’ Tatler Schools Guide

To find out more, request a prospectus, or arrange to come to see Kilgraston for yourself, please contact Mrs Barbara McGarva, Admissions Co-ordinator, on admissions@kilgraston.com or 01738 812257

Bridge of Earn, Perth PH2 9BQ

www.kilgraston.com

KILGRASTON SCHOOL TRUST IS A CHARITY. SCOTTISH CHARITY NUMBER SC029664

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ScottishField

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Welcome to EQy

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PHOTO: JIM CRICHTON

‘‘

s well as working on Scottish Field for the past few years, I also own a livery yard and have four horses which I showjump. Every spare waking moment is taken up with horses – they are what makes me tick. Spending so much time with horses and some of the 250,000 Scots who ride each week, I know that many people share my frustration that there is no exclusively Scottish equestrian magazine – so we’ve set about trying to change that. Scotland desperately needs its own top-quality equestrian magazine that understands the needs of Scottish riders, which is where EQY comes in. When we sat down to design our perfect equestrian magazine, we wanted EQY to be of such quality that it would redefine the world of horse magazines in Britain, and provide the Scottish equestrian world with a much-needed voice. My background is designing beautiful magazines and above all I want EQY to be a thing of beauty, with lush photography and the finest production values. As it’s going to be a magazine for all the Scottish equestrian community, we took the decision to include all of the disciplines, from show jumping and eventing to polo, horse racing and vaulting. I hope you enjoy reading this inaugural issue as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together over the past few months. Whether you have or haven’t, please drop us a line and let us know what you think.

Scotland desperately needs its own top-quality equestrian magazine which understands the needs of Scottish riders – which is where EQY comes in...

Heddy Forrest, Commissioning Editor

Equestrian Year @eqymagazine www.eqymagazine.co.uk

Contributors MELANIE REID

Anyone who loves horse riding will have been mesmerised by the writer’s unflinchingly honest column in The Times. We met her at her Stirlingshire farm

ZARA PHILLIPS

The London 2012 silver-medallist talks about being a professional rider and mother, having a rugby-playing spouse, her love of Scotland and her hopes for 2015-6

DAVID HARLAND

The well known coach talks about how he coaches in all four corners of the country while also keeping his dream of showjumping glory alive

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INSIDE

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SUNNY SIDE UP The stunning stallions and young stock on offer at Solaris Stud in Perthshire

Contents COVER PIC: Steph O’Neil with Ballbreaker

10 IN THE FRAME Exclusive pictures of the most cute, unusual and downright gorgeous horses in the country

80 HORSEMEN OF THE APOCALYPSE Equestrian charity Horseback helps to give injured servicemen a new lease of life

28 JOANNE AND HANNAH ECCLES: THIS MUCH I KNOW The incredible sisters dominating the world of vaulting

88 NORTHERN SOUL Jackie Steven talks about the challenges of being Britain’s most northerly trainer

30 A CLASS ABOVE EQY shines a spotlight on Scotland’s equestrian stars of the future in a variety of disciplines

90 LESSONS IN LIFE David Harland balances coaching with a successful career in showjumping

40 THE RIVALS Top showjumpers Steph O’Neil and Emily Ryder on their friendship and personal duel

96 SHOW OFF Sandra Low-Mitchell and Balcormo stud are flying high

48 DOG DAYS Equestrian professionals on the dogs that share their horsey lives

98 NICOLA’S BIG JUMP Nicola Gillespie Crolla’s transition from jumping to dressage

56 HACKING HEAVEN Ten of our all-time favourite Scottish hacks

104 JOCK MCFARLANE The godfather of Scottish carriage driving on a life less ordinary

70 TRAIL BLAZING Argyll’s David Hay-Thorburn talks TREC

102 EQUESTRIAN ART From Stubbs to the Kelpies, equestrian art is hot

78 HORSE POWER The importance of horses to the country’s economy

130 THE RIGHT TO ROAM Equal access to land for horses is a contentious issue

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RIDING OUT THE STORM The writer and journalist Melanie Reid on life after breaking her back in a riding accident

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102 30

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ZARA’S ROAD TO RIO Zara Phillips has her sights set on Olympic gold

40 Also inside 06 HOOF BEAT News and views from the world of Scottish equestrianism 112 ONLY THE BEST The best new kit and innovations for your delectation 118 EVENTS What’s happening, when it’s happening, and what’s worth attending 117 BOOK REVIEWS The best horsey reads of the year

ISSUE 1

126 SOCIAL SCENE Our candid camera captures the action from the most prestigious equestrian bashes

EDITORIAL AND DESIGN Editor: Richard Bath Creative & Commissioning Editor: Heddy Forrest Photographer: Angus Blackburn Staff Writers: Cal Flynn, Morag Bootland, Melanie Scott Sub-editor: Rick Wilson Artworker: Jamie Smail Production Controller: Madeleine Smith Intern: Sophie Arnot Contact: editor@scottishequestrianyear.co.uk; Tel: 0131 551 1000; www.eqymagazine.co.uk PUBLISHING Publisher: Alister Bennett, Scottish Field, Fettes Park, 496 Ferry Rd, Edinburgh EH5 2DL

SALES AND MARKETING Sales Director: Brian Cameron Advertising Sales: Janice Johnston, Greg Morris Sales & Marketing Assistant: Mikaela MacKinnon SUBSCRIPTIONS AND DISTRIBUTION Address: Wyvex Media, Trinity House, Sculpins Lane, Wethersfield, Braintree, Essex CM7 4AY Tel: 01371 851868 Email: wyvex@escosubs.co.uk If you experience any difficulties in obtaining EQy Issue 1, please contact 01371 851868

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NEWS

Hoof beat

Helping hand to understand feet FASHION HORSE

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Luxury French fashion house Hermès has created a limited edition silk scarf for the international charity World Horse Welfare, to help raise money for its vital work in the UK and around the world. The horse has been at the heart of the company since founder Thierry Hermès established a leatherwork shop in Paris in 1837 and became renowned for his exceptional expertise in harness-making. Today, the horse is still very much a source of inspiration for Hermès’ products, including hand-crafted saddles, handbags and of course scarves. The scarves retail at £310 and are available to purchase from Hermès’ online shop or by contacting its UK stores. www.worldhorsewelfare.org

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Scottish horse owners are needed to take part in a study to help the Animal Health Trust, one of the UK’s leading veterinary charities, in its mission to understand equine laminitis, a serious and debilitating disease which can lead to long-term lameness and pathological changes in the foot. The charity has launched the CARE about Laminitis study and is collecting data to investigate the frequency of the disease as well as factors that increase or decrease its risk. It hopes to provide owners with evidence-based guidelines to reduce the impact of the condition nationwide. To take part, owners simply need to fill in a montly questionnaire providing details of their horse’s management. In return, owners will have access to an online weight tracker which will allow them to monitor the weight and condition of their animals during the study. www. careaboutlaminitis. org.uk

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Atholl adventure BHS Scotland and Atholl Estates have come together to offer a chance for every rider to explore the stunning location of the 2015 European Championships, by organising a sponsored ride on Sunday 7 June 2015. There are three way-marked rides on offer, incorporating woodland, river and heather-clad hills in the footsteps of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl. For more information and to download a booking form visit www.bhsscotland.org.uk

ROOM FOR THE GROOM The British Grooms Association has announced the appointment of its new chairperson, Dr Liz Williams. Dr Williams is a lifelong rider and is now an active breeder of high-performance sport horses. In her professional life, she is an expert in information technology and law for electronic commerce companies around the world. Retiring from the current Chair role is Brigadier John Smales, who has held the position for the past eight years.

RED, PINK & BLUE TAPE Kinesio taping is used by athletes and sporting celebrities, including Gareth Bale, Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Andy Murray. The tape is effective in treating sporting injuries, creating a lifting effect which improves circulation, relieves pain and either relaxes or stimulates muscles, depending on the tension. The tape is now being extensively used on horses and Kinesio run courses to guide users through application of the tape. For further details and Scottish dates visit www.kinesiotaping.co.uk 7

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NEWS

KELPIES AHEAD The Kelpies have been voted the UK’s Landmark of the Year by readers of the BBC Countryfile Magazine. This is the latest in a host of official accolades which the iconic equine artworks at the Helix Park near Falkirk have won, including the UK National Structural Steel Award and the Saltire Award for Civil Engineering. The gigantic steel horses, which were designed by Andy Scott, were completed in November 2013 and have become one of Scotland’s most photographed tourist attractions. Plans to open a visitor centre on site this year are now underway. www.thehelix.co.uk

Equine flu alert A horse in the Scottish Borders has been diagnosed with equine influenza. As the inaugural issue of EQy goes to press, this is only the second time the condition has been detected in the UK this year. Horse flu was confirmed in a four-year-old unvaccinated mare in North Yorkshire earlier in the year. ‘Since mid-August 2014 there have been 25 reported outbreaks of equine flu throughout the UK, including eight in Scotland,’ says Nicola Snowden BVM&S MRCVS equine veterinary advisor for Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy. Equitait is a Scottish veterinary practice that has been actively involved in outbreaks of equine flu. ‘Given the recent surge of cases in Scotland we are keen that horse owners are well educated about the disease and its prevention,’ comments practice owner Colin Tait. ‘These recent outbreaks have been in horses with an incomplete vaccination history, following the normal pattern of symptoms including a snotty nose, coughing, raised lymph nodes and generally feeling pretty unwell.’

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IN THE FRAME

Frame In the

EQY’S CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER HAS BEEN OFF ON HIS TRAVELS WITH A CAMERA TO SNAP SOME OF SCOTLAND’S MOST BEAUTIFUL, UNUSUAL AND DOWNRIGHT MASSIVE HORSES PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

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Image: Searching for the perfect way to keep her horse at the ideal temperature, Jill Scott began to create individual intricate clippings that allowed her horses’ skin to breathe without giving too much exposure. Jill has changed clipping from a necessity into an art-form, free-handing everything and anything from stunning dragons to her favourite leopard print.

This is equine art with a difference

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IN THE FRAME

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Only a lunatic was going to take him

Image: James Mackie and Lincoln, the Shire horse who is thought to be the tallest in Europe, at Tannoch Stables near Cumbernauld. Lincoln stands over 20 hands high or 6ft 10in to the shoulder. The fruit and veg wholesaler and farmer acquired Lincoln, who was covered in sores and was more than half a tonne underweight, for the price of ÂŁ450 cash, a bottle of whisky and a box of vegetables. Mackie is the perfect owner for this gentle giant. With a huge appetite for vegetables, Lincoln eats more than 30 kilos of food every day.

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IN THE FRAME

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If I had to choose a sporting idol I would be hard pressed to choose between Ian Stark and Andrew Nicolson

Image: Wills Oakden is a Fife-based event rider who had an amazing 2014 season and is the only Scottish rider to be placed on the 2014-2016 UK Sport National lottery-funded World Class Development Programme. The hard-working Wills, seen here on Mrs D Whalley’s Merikano, rides anything between eight to ten horses a day. For more on Wills’ hopes for 2015 turn to page 38.

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INTHE THEFRAME FRAME IN Image: Red Castle Chloe is just a few hours old in this photo. Her owner John Anderson is a property developer and Clydesdale breeder from Drummygar Mains near Arbroath who sells the majority of his horses to Canada. Her mother Red Castle Miranda bred a winner at the Royal Highland Show in 2014.

?and blah blah blah

Image: James Mackie and Lincoln who stands at an amazing ?? hand high. Caption here about how he was recued and has grown so huge and that has been helped by eating tons of fruit and veg

Red Castle Chloe takes her first steps

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ZARA PHILLIPS

The GB team has qualified for the Olympics but we don’t yet know who is in the team

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Image: Zara Phillips photographed for EQY at Blair Castle

Zara’s road to

Rio

ZARA PHILLIPS ALREADY HAS AN OLYMPIC SILVER MEDAL, BUT HER SIGHTS ARE SET ON GOING ONE STEP FURTHER IN 2016 BY CAL FLYNN PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

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ZARA PHILLIPS

After pregnancy you lose all your fitness. I didn’t realise how fit I was until I lost it

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here aren’t enough hours in the day for Zara Phillips. The Olympian and former eventing world champion has 25 horses and a oneyear-old daughter to look after, and that’s before taking into account the punishing competition schedule that sends her criss-crossing the country, living out of lorries for days at a time. ‘There are competitions every weekend from March to October, and we’ll often take more than one horse. So that’s...’ She tries to calculate her total annual competition entries aloud and fails. ‘...quite a lot.’ But the 33-year-old, who is 15th in line to the throne, does not seem fazed. ‘Every week is different and there’s a lot to keep track of. Each day I try to ride as many horses as possible; the eventers need training for dressage, jumping, fitness, cross-country schooling. The key is to write it all down in the diary, to remind yourself what’s already been done. And you’ve got to have a good team.’ The Land Rover ambassador lives in Gloucestershire on her mother Princess Anne’s Gatcombe Park estate with husband Mike Tindall, the former England rugby player, and their daughter Mia Grace. Zara and Mike’s wedding, at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, followed hot on the heels of the other royal wedding – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s – in 2011, and Mia’s birth in January 2014 followed that of Prince George by a mere six months. But the similarities end there. Typical of her nononsense style, Zara continued to compete at the top levels of her sport during early pregnancy, and rode on until it became ‘too uncomfortable’ at five months in. She was competing again by April, three months after Mia was born. In August she confirmed her return to form, riding alongside William Fox-Pitt, Tina Cook and Harry Meade to team silver at the World Equestrian Games in Normandy. Now Zara takes Mia on the circuit with her, sleeping with her in the lorry and passing her to a groom before leaping on and thundering off round four-star courses, over obstacles that can be up to 1.45m high and 2m wide. ‘Well,’ says Zara, with a flicker of annoyance

when I express amazement, ‘I couldn’t take her with me.’ But doesn’t a child in tow bring new challenges? ‘Yes and no. A lot of people on the circuit have kids. I followed my parents around the circuit, it’s very normal. They travel with you and it becomes part of your lifestyle. You just need to be a bit more organised. Once you’re on the horse it’s about that focus. You get the job done.’ In this, as in many things, she is following her mother’s example. Princess Anne, also a former Olympian, returned to compete at Burghley in 1981 only four months after giving birth to Zara. Not that this should undermine the achievement. Pregnancy and childbirth transform the body; Zara has previously complained of how it had ‘shredded’ her core muscles. Far less has thrown careers off-kilter. She reluctantly concurs. ‘It’s definitely been hard work. After pregnancy you lose all your fitness. I didn’t realise how fit I was until I lost it. But when you stop for that amount of time it drops completely. Even when I got back for the Worlds, I wasn’t 100% of what I was before. But hopefully, eventually, it will come back. ‘Being able to get back for the Worlds was my main aim. I managed to do that, and jumped a double clear, so hopefully I can just work on that and see what happens in the next couple of years.’ By ‘see what happens’, she’s primarily referring to the two big selection processes coming up. Firstly, in July, it will be decided who will represent Great Britain at the European Championship, will be held at Blair Castle in August. Nothing is set in stone, but Zara’s chances look good following her solid performance at the Worlds.

Right: The former world champion is quickly getting back to her best after the birth of her daughter last year.

Worlds...

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ZARA PHILLIPS

Above: Four legs beats four wheels in the wintry grounds of Blair Castle.

Plus, as host country, Great Britain may select an extra six riders, bringing the total up to twelve (a GB squad of four, plus eight individuals). Secondly is selection for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. After a team silver in London, Zara is itching to get back for another bash at the top spot. ‘The Olympics were just fantastic. To come away with a medal... well, it would have been better to get gold, but silver was pretty good.’ Her expression as she stood on the podium, bowing her head as Princess Anne placed the medal around her neck, suggests that ‘pretty good’ is an understatement. Was it strange to receive a medal from her own mother? ‘No! She gave me my first one as well, actually – at Blenheim [in 2005]. She’s part of the FEI. It was really nice to get it from her – I can’t think of anyone better to give it to me.’ The GB team has already qualified for the Olympics. ‘We’ve just got to get ourselves qualified now – I find that really weird. The team has qualified, but we don’t know yet who’s in the team. So I guess it’s just working hard over the next year and a half to make sure we’re up there and hopefully in the reckoning. It’s only a year away! Oh my God! It’s so close!’ If she is picked, she’ll have a chance to equal her father’s medal haul. Captain Mark Phillips won team Olympic gold in 1972 and silver in 1988. Has she ever felt under pressure to follow her parents into ‘the family business’ and live up to their success? ‘Not really. It was so long ago, and it was such a different era back then,’ she laughs. ‘They’re going to hate me saying that. But as a sport it has

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My parents put me on this track, put me on a horse, and I’m very grateful to them for that. But I didn’t feel any pressure

Xxxxxx

changed a lot. Obviously they put me on that track, put me on a horse, and I’m very grateful to them for that. I wouldn’t have done it, I guess, if it hadn’t been for them. But I didn’t feel any pressure. They didn’t push me. If anything, they probably tried to get me not to do it – because it’s hard work. You work long days in cold weather, and you put a lot of work into the horses and it doesn’t always come out the right way.’ Nevertheless, both of her parents have been influential in her career. Captain Phillips still coaches her jumping. ‘He gives a lot of criticism and not much praise when you’ve done well. But I guess that’s good, because I expect a lot from myself and that probably comes from him. I expect to do it all properly. But we’ve definitely had moments when we didn’t agree at all.’ The same goes for her mother and the rest of the famously horsey royal family. ‘They’ve always got… their opinions,’ she laughs. But there must always be people to ask for advice, I hazard. ‘Yeahhhhhhh…’ Zara doesn’t sound convinced. But she laughs. ‘Well, of course. It’s a passion within the family. It’s easy to talk about it.’ As well as eventing, Zara has a foot in the racing world and trains pointto-pointers. ‘I grew up around racehorses as well, because when my mother finished eventing she went race riding. And of course my grandmother has a passion for the flat racers and breeds a lot. It’s in the family. I started riding out with the racehorses when I was about nine.’ Their passion is obviously contagious, as husband Mike recently made his first foray into racing – in an admittedly unplanned manner, pledging 23

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Above: Zara and High Kingdom in action during the London Olympics.

to buy thoroughbred Monbeg Dude for £12,000 after ‘a boozy dinner’ at a Cheltenham auction. (Rugby player James Simpson-Daniel, one of the quartet who later agreed to ‘take a leg each’, later explained: ‘I think he was bidding against himself – right hand, left hand.’) Nevertheless, ‘the Dude’ as the gelding has become known, has proven an unlikely success, winning the Welsh National in 2013 and a reported six figures in prize money thanks to trainer Michael Scudamore and intensive jump schooling with Zara. She has plenty of experience. Eight of her horses are used for racing, plus ‘we’ve got a few broodmares at home – Mum’s got about four or five that she breeds for racing, and I’ve got one too. It’s a lottery, that. If they’re not good enough they go on to eventing.’ So her eventers and racers come from the same pool? ‘Well, you find there’s a certain type of horse that you get on with. Just like people, they’ve all got different characters. I personally prefer riding the thoroughbred horses. All of mine, apart from [CG] Masterlux, who has a bit of Irish breeding in him, are thoroughbreds.’ But not all racehorses make good eventers: ‘They have to be a bit more disciplined. The racehorses don’t need the brain quite so much, while in cross country you do need the discipline to get them back [under control], to jump something technical, the different combinations,

Each day I try to ride as many of our horses as possible

and then to gallop on again. ‘You look for something brave and athletic but also very trainable, with a good brain, good jumping and movement. It’s a lot to find in one horse, so you’re very lucky when you do find a good one.’ Over Zara’s career, she has found two truly great horses: handsome chestnut Toytown (‘Noddy’), with whom she made her name, winning both individual and team gold at the 2005 European Championships before scooping the world title in Aachen the following year aged only 25; and High Kingdom, her current top horse, a 13-year-old bay gelding she’s had for eight years. It was with High Kingdom (‘Trev’) that she finally made it to the Olympics, after injuries to Toytown in 2004 and 2008 knocked her out of contention. ‘I was very lucky with Toytown. I was just starting out, he was a young horse, and we kind of came up the levels together. We had a very solid partnership and trusted each other inside out. I can’t thank him enough. He was a really flamboyant horse, a good mover, a bit of a showman really. He loved a crowd, loves the attention. He’s very different from High Kingdom, who’s very laid back, hates being pampered, just wants to be left alone. I’ve had High Kingdom since he was a five-year-old. He was always a good jumper, but he’s quite naughty and wasn’t always great at competitions. But when he got to about nine he stepped up – this was the year before Olympics – and he just gets better every year, really.’ Baby Mia has already had her first ride on Toytown. They’ve also bought a Shetland pony for her, although Zara is keen to highlight that she won’t be forced into horses. ‘Obviously they’re going to be a part of her life because they’re part of ours – it’s a big passion. But she can do what she

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ZARA PHILLIPS SECTION

Right and above: The snow brings out Zara’s lighter side as she takes a break from training.

wants to.’ Zara herself has ridden for as long as she can remember – learning on family Shetland pony Smokey as an infant, then hacking on the Balmoral estate. ‘We had our summer holidays there, so we used to bring the ponies up and do a bit of riding. Scotland has a place in my heart. I’ve had good times here.’ Enough to move north? ‘Well… I don’t know if I could persuade…’ she laughs. ‘The winters are proper winters, so it probably wouldn’t be that great for eventing, but it’s such a beautiful country it would be hard to not want to come up here in the summer.’ She went to school here as well, at Gordonstoun. ‘I loved school. Not the academic side, but there was so much to do, sport-wise and outdoors. I did a lot of hockey and athletics. We went backpacking in the mountains – and there was a sailing yacht.’ Given these interests, if she hadn’t become an event rider, might she have pursued another sport professionally? ‘Probably,’ she agrees. ‘I’d have done something to do with sport.’ She trained in sports

massage – human and equine – at university, she adds. Then why choose horses? She considers. ‘It’s probably what I was best at. I thought I’d have a go and see if I was good enough to get to the top.’ She has certainly managed that. But Zara isn’t ready to wallow in her success quite yet. ‘There are a lot of very experienced people, you know. Some of my team-mates who are a bit older than me are still riding at the top and still winning, so I’ve got to aspire to that.’ And in the meantime, the jury’s out on whether there will be time for more kids. ‘Well, not yet. We’ll see if we can get to Rio. And just see what happens from there.’

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Great Scot is quite different. This rapidly growing, luxury-clothing brand is inspired by their love of horses and history, but they are strides apart from the tired, mediocre silhouettes that have become synonymous with countryside uniform. Featuring luxurious British tweeds, rare tartans and rich velvets, each of their head-turning styles is based on a historical classic and is beautifully tailored with unique and striking details. Already this year the company have introduced a Victorian style three-season vintage cape, a military inspired jacket, as well as their own version of an Edwardian sidesaddle habit. And that’s just the beginning. Expect to discover two new waistcoats inspired by Regency period fashion, exquisite new variations of their sell-out Lady Mary style (pictured) and a range of Georgian blouses. There is also a collection of accessories in product development right now, and it’s clear that these will be quite unlike anything in the market place today. The brand is committed to the stylish equestriennes, but also to the growth of the professional sport; with sponsorship of Rebecca Hughes of Hughes Dressage, as well as sponsoring a brand new class, with the grand finale at the Horse of the Year Show: The Great Scot Side Saddle Championship. The brand has amassed over 50 thousand devoted social media followers and is already being courted by high profile fashionistas in the UK, in Europe and the USA. Recently they were named Brand of the Year by a Scottish lifestyle magazine. Added to this, the company is passionate about producing everything in the UK and about making the experience of shopping with them every bit as pleasurable as wearing their gorgeous clothes. Described as, ‘Ralph Lauren meets Lady Mary,’ by fashion editors you can check them out here. Pictured above: Great Scot Vintage Tweed Bonington Cape - £225 Pictured left: Great Scot Lady Mary Country Classic jacket - £295

@StyleGreatScot

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www.greatscotscotland.com

greatscotscotland

01/04/2015 10:03:43


ECCLES SISTERS

EQY: How did you get in to vaulting? JOANNE: I started when I was eight, one of our neighbours was already interested in vaulting and they needed someone little to join their team as the flyer. I vaulted with the same club that she did for a couple of years and got into the Scottish team. From there my dad got involved and decided to get a horse and set up our own club. We built that up from there. HANNAH: Aged five, I’d go along to watch Joanne train. I was desperate to get started but my parents said I should wait until I was eight, so I had three years of watching her before I was allowed to start. EQY: What’s it like having your dad as a trainer? JOANNE: We have done it for so long we don’t really think about it. We go outside to vault and he’s the coach; we don’t really think of him as dad. We started our own club, the Wee County Vaulters, in 2001 and have been training together ever since. It’s just what we’ve always done. HANNAH: He started to learn coaching when we started and it works really well. Joanne helps me and I help her as well, it works really well; we’re just really lucky that that is our set up.

high

Flyers JUST HOW DID THE ECCLES SISTERS COME TO DOMINATE THE WORLD OF VAULTING? INTERVIEW BY SOPHIE ARNOT PHOTOGRAPHS ADRIAN SINCLAIR

EQY: Joanne, I know you don’t compete anymore, why is that? JOANNE: I decided at the beginning of this year that I really wanted to leave competitive vaulting on a high, and you can’t get much higher than winning two medals at the World Equestrian Games. I’d decided that I’d compete in Doha, but that it would probably be my last big competition. I’m probably not going to do any internationals but will still do shows and some home competitions. We have a new horse, Jack, that we’re bringing on through and I want to give him a really good first experience, so I’ll compete on him. I’ll hopefully do a little bit of lungeing, but be at the competitions more as a coach. I’m still training because Hannah and I train together. I have a laugh when I do it, so I’m not stopping vaulting because I don’t enjoy it, but I’d reached the peak and wanted to finish knowing that I did absolutely everything I ever wanted to. EQY: Vaulting is very physical – how do you train off the horse? JOANNE: I did ballet from when I was little until I was 18 and that helped a lot with my vaulting. Both Hannah and I did gymnastics, it’s important to have a good gymnastics background because that’s basically what you are doing on the back of the horse. Aside from that it’s all about being really fit. We had an exCommonwealth champion in gymnastics come down and he gave us a fitness programme. We do strength and conditioning two or three times a week, as well as some running and general exercise to keep us fit. It’s really what goes on in the background that makes the difference. HANNAH: Most of our training is done on the floor or on the barrel, a static practice horse. At the moment

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we are training on a horse three times a week, and stretching as well. Apart from that you’re trying to run some programmes on the barrel, that’s really important. We try do that as many times as we can on the barrel because if you can’t do it there perfectly you’re not going to be able to do it perfectly on a horse, so most of our training is off the horse. EQY: You get to travel a lot for competitions – where has been a standout place for both of you? HANNAH: We were really lucky – about a month ago we flew our horse out to Doha, Qatar for the CVI out there. That was incredible, the competition went really well for us as well. We flew our horse out to Kentucky for the last World Equestrian Games, and we were lucky when we were younger we were able to compete in Brazil, we borrowed a horse out there. I think I was 13 at the time, so that was amazing JOANNE: We have got to go to some amazing places, such as the World Equestrian Championships in 2010 in Kentucky. We also got to go to Brazil in 2005 and that was quite amazing because we also got to go and see some of the area. We were just in Doha recently and that was quite amazing, a totally different experience. I will continue to travel out with the team – we have a competition next week in France and I will be helping drive the lorry out and do a little bit of lungeing when I am there. EQY: Why do you think Britain in general and Scotland in particular has produced such good vaulters?

When I started, more often that not we would come last

Top left: Joanne gives sister Hannah a helping hand. Top right: Hannah returns the favour. Left: Joanne Eccles goes out at the top.

JOANNE: We have been really fortunate, Hannah and I, as has our club because we have had some really good horses. We have definitely had to work our way up. British vaulting was established when I started but we weren’t exactly big winners. Sure, we would have a good laugh, but more often than not we would come last. I think it has come from people, not just from our club, sticking with the sport and really learning from not doing so well at competitions, and having the drive to really want to improve and succeed. HANNAH: It has definitely been a long journey, but I think that in the British clubs there are some very committed coaches that really want to bring on the sport. That, above all other things, has really helped. We have tried to get as many international coaches or vaulters as possible across to give us more advice on how to train and what is the best way to do it. I think there are a lot of committed people who are really looking to bring the sport on, which is really good. EQY: How would you suggest that someone who was interested in vaulting try the sport? HANNAH: I would tell them to go on to the British Equestrian Vaulting website. They will be able to get in contact with them on there – just send them off an email and hopefully they will be able to put them in touch with a club near them. The sport is growing and there are definitely a lot more clubs out there. 29

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STARS OF THE FUTURE

Messaged the MGA Scotland FB page not heard yet so hassle them if not in by Wednesday

Scotland’s under-17 team: the future’s looking good MOUNTED GAMES

The future of mounted games in Scotland, as arranged through the International Mounted Games Association, is strong and wide because riders can compete in team, individual and pair competitions. The association was originally set up to allow riders who were too old for Pony Club games to continue riding their ponies. Such was the uptake that it has progressed to 21 nations around the globe. Competitions are split into open, under-17, under-14 and under-12 level, with ponies under 153cm. At the European Team Championships in Belgium, the under-17 Scotland team were one of the favourites but just missed out on a podium place after some more unfortunate luck with ponies, eventuallly finishing fourth. The team was comprised of Robyn Donoghue, Morven Mclean, Josh Ryder, Sophie O’Neil and Murren Addison. The under-17 team – this time comprising Robyn, Morven, Josh, Sophie and Callum Leach – were also fifth at the World Team Championships in France. In 2016 the European Championships take place in France, with the World Championships being held in America at the Kentucky Horse Park. 30

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a class

Above WE SHINE A SPOTLIGHT ON THE EQUESTRIAN STARS OF TOMORROW BY MELANIE SCOTT

SUSAN NASH

T

Above: The under-17 team came fourth at the recent European Team Championship.

hey say that a sport is only truly healthy if there is enough young talent coming through to make its success sustainable. If that is the benchmark for the strength of the various equestrian disciplines in Scotland, then the nation’s four-legged sport is in rude health. Everywhere you look there are talented Scottish youngsters champing at the bit to make their mark. The following pages are full of starlets with whom not even the most dyed-in-the-wool equine enthusiasts will be completely familiar, yet several are sure to become household names in the near future. To compile this list we scoured the country and consulted with coaches, competitors, judges and informed spectators in order to whittle down a long list of initial names into a hefty shortlist of young talent. Once we had done that, we pared it down further until we were left with just one example of youthful excellence from each discipline. Although there are many more runners and riders capable of one day dominating their chosen field, these are the young sportsmen and women who we currently believe are the most likely to go on and enjoy a storied equestrian career. So whether your particular tipple is eventing, showjumping, dressage, polo or whatever, keep an eye out to see if our choices make it big on their respective circuits this year. Their dedication and years of hard work have all paid off and finally a successful career doing a sport they love lies ahead.

In virtually every discipline there are talented Scottish youngsters desperate to make their mark

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STARS OF THE FUTURE

Kimberly Nicoll: riding to realise her childhood dream SHOWING

In her final year of intermediate show riding type classes, Kimberley Nicoll went out on a high at the Horse of the Year Show. Part of the successful Ayrshire-based family business Nicoll Show Team, Kimberley won the large height intermediate section, then the overall championship with her mother Mary Nicoll-Thompson’s Firefly. The 10-year-old dark bay mare is by well-known hack sire Fairlyn Gemini and out of the former HOYS champion Broadstone Dee. Despite being successful in intermediate and riding horse classes, the pair just missed out on qualifying for HOYS in 2013, having taken eight second places at qualifying shows and a championship at the Royal Highland. In 2014, however, they qualified early at the Derbyshire Festival of Showing. The family also produce and show M&M ponies, show hunter and show ponies. ‘As a young girl all I ever dreamt of was wining at HOYS, but to go champion was even better,’ says Kimberley.

Lewis Shaw: pushing ahead in his chariot of fire Fifteen-year-old Lewis Shaw is pushing boundaries in carriage-driving. Despite taking up the sport only 18 months ago, he has packed a lot into his time driving at the Chariots of Fire Driving Centre near Lockerbie. Lewis was born blind and first attended the centre through his school for four sessions. Despite having had limited experience of animals he was quickly hooked – and thanks to the charity Sports Driving Unlimited he has managed to continue driving each week. He qualified for the National Indoor Championships at Keysoe in Bedfordshire, and during the summer of 2014 aimed for the summer para driving championships at Sandringham, being placed third in the novice class. While driving, Lewis is accompanied by Amanda Saville, who has a spare set of reins and gives Lewis verbal directions. Lewis has progressed so well that Amanda has high hopes. ‘He takes training very seriously and is really focused,’ says Amanda. ‘It’s very exciting.’

LEFT - LIZA PERN

DRIVING

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A CLASS ABOVE

Have emailed HOYS re image nothing ever dreamed in yet!!!

As a girl, all I about was winning at the Horse of the Year Show

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STARS OF THE FUTURE

Iain Paterson: moving up ENDURANCE St Andrews University geology student Iain Paterson is one of Scotland’s most promising riders in the world of endurance. Bored of Pony Club, the 19-year-old was first introduced to the world of endurance nine years ago after his mum suggested trying it. Straight away he was hooked and, keen to progress, he shortly afterwards starting riding the family’s home-bred pure-bred Arab gelding Tannasg Primo Dancer. The combination quickly moved up the grades – they are at 80km level and qualified for FEI one-star. In 2014 Iain and Primo completed two 80km races at an average of 14-16km/ hr. Plans for 2015 include aiming for a 120km two-day race. Iain is also excited about Tannasg Ansomrob, a rising six-year-old home-bred stallion who gained his bronze thistle award and will be aimed at 80km races with hopes to qualify for one star in 2016. It’s a family sport as his sisters Fionnghuala (15) and Grainne (11) both ride pure-bred home-bred Arabians and are enthusiastically competing at distances of up to 80km.

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LEFT - JOHN PREECE, RIGHT - MELANIE HORNE

Adam and Matthew Dove: the brotherly rivals POLO

Sibling rivalry works to Adam (left) and Matthew Dove’s (right) advantage on the polo field. They are both members of the Edinburgh Polo Club and Dundee and Perth Polo Club, playing on grass during the summer and playing arena polo in the winter. Additionally they have played on tri-nation teams for the Schools and Universities Polo Association (SUPA). Twenty-year-old Adam is in his second year at Napier University, studying property development and valuation, while eighteen-year-old Matthew is enjoying a gap year in Australia. He will be based with professional Michael Henderson in Warkwickshire next season. The Edinburgh-based polo players were part of the Young Scotland team which beat Young England on English soil for a historic win in the Whitbread Cup at Rutland in 2014. It’s been several years since Scotland last beat England and this victory went to the wire, with a decisive goal in extra-time of the final chukka giving the Scotland team a well-deserved triumph.

Hannah Ballantyne: vaulting ahead VAULTING

I love horses and I’m very competitive – that drives me to train hard and to perform well

Eighteen-year-old Hannah Ballantyne started vaulting in 2008, after enjoying gymnastics when she was younger. She made the natural jump to vaulting when introduced to the sport through her younger sister. Training with Kinross Vaulting Group, she practices three times a week to ensure she is on top form for competition. ‘I love horses,’ says Hannah. ‘I am also very competitive; that’s what drives me to train hard and perform well.’ Competing in several national and international competitions in Belgium in both 2013 and 2014, Hannah overcame injury, undergoing knee surgery in June last year to be placed fourth in individual and second in pairs at the Scottish and British championships in October. Injury won’t stop Hannah, whose season was built around competing at the CVI Saumur in France on 3-5 April this year, and in Belgium int he first week of May.

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STARS OF THE FUTURE

Lucy Guild: a winning bond SHOWJUMPER

Lucy Guild has an impressive list of accolades with her consistent showjumper Titi D’Oase – all the more impressive since she has progressed from a novice seven-year-old to jumping international tracks. St Andrews-based Lucy was part of the Great Britain young rider team at the 2011 European Championships in Portugal, where the team finished in bronze position and Lucy placed fourth individually. The same year she won the Young Rider title at the Horse of the Year Show. In 2014 Lucy and Titi won the Young Masters title at the Royal Highland, as well as coming runner-up in the Grand Prix and following on with a win in the Hopetoun House grand prix. ‘We have built up a great partnership and know each other inside out – there is an incredible bond between us,’ says Lucy.

Emma Douglas: back in the saddle So determined is para dressage rider Emma Douglas on her quest for Olympic selection that she has moved from Inverness to her trainer’s yard in Buckingham. Emma had previously evented, winning the Scottish intro eventing championships, before her accident. She was riding a friend’s horse when it reared and fell over on top of her, crushing her spinal cord. Emma spent almost nine months in the Queen Elizabeth Spinal Injuries Unit in Glasgow. Determined to start riding again, she got involved with paradressage, where riders are classified by their physical disability, not their riding skill. The Grades are Ia, Ib, II, III, IV, with Ia being the most seriously impaired and Grade IV the least. Emma is Grade II. Emma has built up a good partnership with Apart, winning the Nirvana Spa Para Winter Championships and finishing second at the Para Dressage Championships at Hickstead and the National Championships. She is part of the potential squad of the BEF World Class programme.

LEFT - CATCH IT QUICK PHOTOGRAPHY ABOVE - JIM CRICHTON

PARA DRESSAGE

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STARS OF THE FUTURE

Eilidh Grant: high hopes DRESSAGE

Eilidh Grant from Aberdeenshire has set her sights high following a Team GB appearance at the 2012 Junior and Young Rider Championships in Berne, Switzerland. The 21-year-old and her mother Lorraine’s British-bred mare Comanche Crumble joined the team as reserve and achieved the best score in the team test in Berne with 68.684%, leaving them 12th in the large field of 58 riders. She is currently producing Beau Rouge, a Dutch-bred eight-year-old mare by Santana, and following an exciting visit to the Summer Nationals, Eilidh has high hopes for the mare. ‘She hadn’t done anything before I got her a year ago,’ says Eilidh, who trains with Hannah Moody, works full-time teaching and competing and has a livery yard at the family home. ‘She’s very trainable with a big, expressive trot. She is very talented and I hope she’ll be at Prix St Georges (PSG) shortly.’

Wills Oakden: ‘so talented’ Fife-based event rider Wills Oakden (25) has had his best season to date. The highest-ranked Scottish rider residing in the UK to be placed in the top 30 leaderboard, he is also the only Scottish rider to be selected for the 2014-2016 UK Sport National Lottery funded World Class Development Programme. He was recently awarded the horsescotland Performer of the Year Award for 2014. ‘We knew Wills was an immensely talented rider, but even so, his work with Merikano has completely exceeded our expectations,’ says Debbie Whalley, owner of Merikano. The Malcolm family’s McFly gave Wills his first ride at CIC4* level in 2013 at Pau. Since then David Kenwright’s home-bred Greystone Midnight Melody has given him top placings at Blair and Blenheim and her showjumping success has included winning the Star of the Future class at the Royal Highland Show.

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LEFT - JIM CRICHTON, ABOVE - STEPHEN HAMMOND

EVENTING

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STEPHANIE O’NEIL & EMILY RYDER

Rivals the

TWO PERTHSHIRE LASSES ARE AMONG THOSE VYING FOR THE TITLE OF SCOTLAND’S TOP YOUNG RIDER… BUT THE RIVALRY IS CLEARLY VERY FRIENDLY INDEED BY CAL FLYNN PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

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Image: The two girls have known each other since their childhood days at Strathearn pony club.

One is blonde and the other brunette, but otherwise they are strikingly similar

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STEPHANIE O’NEIL & EMILY RYDER

LEFT - DAVE CAMERON PHOTOGRAPHY

Above: Stephanie in action with Mrs Frost in the 3* at Blair last year. Mrs Frost also won the coveted Stirlingshire Saddlery Arena Events Series in 2014 with Beek Fee finishing second. Right: Stephanie with her horse Ballbreaker.

T

wo girls sit huddled over coffee and hot chocolate in a Perthshire café, giggling and looking for all the world like two idle students bunking off lectures. But Emily Ryder and Stephanie O’Neil have already proven themselves as two of the most talented Scottish riders of their generation having found serious success already, aged only 20 and 21. One is blonde and the other brunette, but otherwise they are strikingly similar – close in age, height and origin, having known each other since childhood they now find themselves in step as they venture into the world of professional eventing. At 18, Emily was competing in CCI** classes and had been selected as a reserve for the European junior team; this year Stephanie is in the running for the CIC** senior team. Both currently feature in the Goldman Cup top 100, the annual league of British eventers aged 21 or under; at the end of 2014 Emily sat in joint 51st place, while Stephanie was in sight of the leaders in 12th. Stephanie’s high score is the result of a very fruitful year in 2014. Among other successes, she came third in the CCI** at Hopetoun in June on Millridge Auroras Diamond (Frosty), before moving up to three star level at Burgham and Blair Castle, where she placed 26th and 35th respectively.

It is with both Frosty and eightyear-old bay Beek Fee that she has been longlisted for the GB team for the European CIC** championship in August this year. As a result, she’ll attend training in Aston le Walls in the spring with 14 other hopefuls before the final eight are selected. Emily was also invited to the initial selection phase, with Zippo and skewbald mare B So Milly, but ‘I pulled out ages ago. Part of the competition involves doing a test as a group – like synchronised dressage. I don’t think Zippo is anywhere near well behaved enough for that!’ Although she might be in attendance to support her friend. ‘I haven’t had the season I hoped to have this year,’ she continues. ‘I didn’t really achieve anything I wanted to – I think I under-ran him [Zippo], and he just overcooked. Then I sold a lot of horses, includ-

horses....

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When looking for horses you want something with good movement, something trainable

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DAVID HARLAND STEPHANIE O’NEIL & EMILY RYDER

It feels like more of an achievement when they are home produced

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RIGHT - DAVE CAMERON PHOTOGRAPHY

Above: Emily with Zippo at Eglington last year. Left: Emily was singled out for support by the Bank of Scotland’s Local Heroes programme.

ing Milly who went to a lovely home in the Borders, and since then the yard has been feeling a bit bare. ‘But I’ve just qualified for CCI*** with Zippo and I’m looking for new rides…’ She sighs, philosophically. ‘Horses are so up and down. They make you feel rubbish more than they make you feel good, and you just have to try not to worry when other riders, younger riders, are suddenly doing better than you.’ Stephanie chimes in: ‘I agree. Horses are great levellers. In 2010/11, my top horse Frosty hurt a leg and the vet thought she wouldn’t come back from it. She had bone chips in her hock, and arthritis in her stifles. It was a disaster. We put her in foal, which she unfortunately lost but she came back sound after that, even – touch wood – better than before. ‘But when it happened I had nothing else to ride – only ponies – and it pushed me to build up my other horses so I’d have more than one prospect.’

Hence Beek Fee – on whom she has placed at Intermediate and CCI* level – as well as Ballbreaker, a youngster she is bringing on, with whom she won the five-yearold class at Hopetoun last year. ‘It feels like more of an achievement when they are home produced,’ she says. ‘When looking for horses you want something with good movement, something trainable. They need to be quite sharp; quick reactions over a fence are needed, particularly during cross country.’ With Blair Castle occupied with the European championships this year, the calendar for Scottish riders at advanced level is looking rather empty, making it more difficult to compete on points with those down south. But Hopetoun in June, which offers up to CIC***, will be a highlight, say the girls – as will a quick hop over the border to Burgham in Northumberland in July. Eventing is also a notoriously expensive sport, making it difficult for newcomers – even proven sportsmen – to make a living, but both Stephanie and Emily have attracted financial support from development programmes. As a member of horsescotland’s eventing ‘performance squad’, Stephanie receives specialist training, video analysis and a bursary to cover instruction fees; Emily was singled out by the Bank of Scotland for support through its Local Heroes programme.

programme.... 45

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STEPHANIE O’NEIL & EMILY RYDER

I guess I was sent to Kilgraston as a teen for behavioural reasons

It too is a sport often dominated by equestrian ‘dynasties’, particularly among its younger elite (among Emily’s team mates on the juniors in 2012 was Emily King, daughter of Mary, and Isabella Innes-Ker, whose parents the Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe host the Floors Castle horse trials each May). Neither’s parents ride professionally, however Emily’s father, an FEI-accredited vet, can be spotted judging the trot up at Blair Castle every year; Stephanie’s parents, were not horsey, but bought her her first pony at the age of five. The two met through their local pony club, Strathearn, shortly after and rose through the age groups together, finally competing together as team-mates on the club’s Interbranch squad under the tutelage of top showjumper Ernest Dillon. ‘It wasn’t a normal pony club experience, I think. We were really fortunate,’ says Stephanie. Emily nods in agreement. ‘We had very high quality instruction; Ernest even found Zippo for me.’ They attended local schools in Perthshire. Steph was a pupil at Auchterarder High School, but left half way through sixth year to concentrate on riding and currently works two days a week in an office to help stay afloat. ‘I’ve no spare time.’ Emily initially went to the high school in nearby Pitlochry, but was ‘sent, I guess’ to Kilgraston as a teen ‘for… behavioural reasons’. The girls laugh. ‘I did get into university when I was seventeen,’ adds Emily,

‘to study law. But I didn’t want to go. I wanted to have a go at riding [professionally], and that’s not something that would be easy to go back to in later life.’ For employment, she breaks and schools horses for private clients, and offers livery at her yard in Perthshire. Stephanie is based at her family home, but Emily had moved in with her boyfriend and a new kitten only the day before we meet. ‘He’s a farmer and his family are into horses, so it all ties in quite well. He can cope with the horses if I’m not around.’ Looking forward to the rest of 2015 and her future prospects, Emily is upbeat. ‘The only thing I’d have changed is perhaps to have taken a winter out to go and work for another yard [as a working pupil]. But we’ve had really experienced teachers, and we both had the right horses at the right time – that’s so important.’ ‘Yes,’ agrees Stephanie. ‘We’ve been very lucky.’ But it’s clear from a glance at their results sheet that their success is down to a lot more than good luck.

Above left: Emily breaks and schools horses for a living. Above right: Stephanie left school prematurely to concentrate on her riding career.

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DOG DAYS

Heather McKay VETERINARY PHYSIOTHERAPIST, OLD PENTLAND, MIDLOTHIAN Pixie and Betsy, Miniature Dachshunds aged 4 and 2 years THE DOGS are great company for me when I’m out on the road for work. They’re loyal, entertaining and so much fun to have around. I fell in love with the Miniature Dachshund breed many years ago. They may be small, but they are full of character and very bold. Pixie came from Clentry Dachshunds in Fife. She was the last pup left in a litter of four, but a touch of fate as she was just perfect. Betsy is my sister’s dog and came to live with me in August last year. Pixie was eight weeks old when she was first introduced to horses and Betsy was around 18 months. Socialising them at an early age reduces the risk of them barking and worrying the horses. It’s also important to teach them to wait on command and stay back when horses are passing to keep them safe from big hooves. The girls can be naturally wary of horses, given the considerable size difference, but they both appreciate and enjoy a sniff from big, warm nostrils – especially in winter. Pixie and Betsy are amazing little dogs with big hearts and, most importantly, there’s never a dull moment when they’re around.

Days dog

FIVE OWNERS PRAISE THEIR WITH FINE WORDS TO GET

HORSE-FRIENDLY DOGS A FEW TAILS WAGGING

BY LISA TONER PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

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The dogs enjoy a sniff from big warm nostrils

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DOG DAYS

Lee Murray FARRIER, EDINBURGH Charlie, Jack Russell Terrier, 8 years old FARRIERY can be lonely work so it’s great having Charlie with me. She’s more than just a companion. Having her around relieves stress and cheers me up if my day isn’t going well. I chose the Jack Russell breed because they’re small, full of life and great characters. They’re also excellent ratters, which comes in handy when you’re working on yards. Charlie came to us when a farrier friend of mine offered me the pick of his Jack’s litter. We went to view the pups and Charlie chose us by breaking away from her siblings to climb on my wife’s lap and make herself comfortable. I introduced Charlie to horses at 12 weeks old. Dogs must be trained not to bark around horses and spook them, but other than that they just have to figure it out for themselves. They soon develop an awareness which keeps them alert to what the horse is doing. Charlie and I both benefit from working together. My job is the perfect life for a dog and she keeps me entertained with her antics. She’s become my best friend and her amazing temperament has made her very popular on the yards we visit too.

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Mine is the perfect life for a dog and Charlie keeps me entertained

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31/03/2015 16:19:29


DOG DAYSINSIDE

Karon Carson FREELANCE RIDING INSTRUCTOR & COACH, DUNBAR, EAST LOTHIAN Pob is a Lakeland x Border Terrier, aged 10 TEACHING away from home can be lonely and is much more enjoyable with Pob by my side. He’s very sociable, loves to travel to yards and events and has built up quite a fan base among my clients. I chose Pob because I knew his mother. She was an exceptional little terrier – friendly, big-hearted, loyal – but also very independent and robust. I fell in love with her ways and Pob is definitely his mother’s son. Pob was introduced to horses as soon as he came home to my yard at the age of nine weeks. In the early stages of the dog’s education, it’s most important for the owner to make sure that they are sensible and obedient around horses. That said, Pob learned his best lesson when my ex-race horse gave him a gentle nudge with his back leg – he has respected horses ever since. Pob is beginning to slow down now that he’s getting older. He’d rather spend time with my current horse Nico in his stable than be out and about. His days of wanting to go everywhere with me may almost be behind him, but working alongside him has brought me so much happiness. 53

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DOG DAYS

Colin George Tait

Jane Hunter POINT-TO-POINT TRAINER, HORSE BREAKER & SCHOOLER, ROSEWELL, MIDLOTHIAN Rambo, Labrador aged 5 years MY HUSBAND and I live on a farm. I train the horses on our yard and often work alone, so having Rambo around is great for me. He loves to come along for a run when I go out riding. He came to us from a retiring gamekeeper friend looking to rehome him. My husband needed a gundog and I wanted a lab, so we travelled to Northumberland to meet him. He was so good-natured and handsome that we quickly decided to take him. We introduced him to horses as soon as he came to live with us, although it’s important to be sure a dog is obedient before such introductions are made. When they do come to accept each other, it’s a good education for both. We are extremely lucky to have found Rambo.

EQUINE VETERINARY SURGEON, DUNS, BERWICKSHIRE Millie and Buttons, working Cocker Spaniels aged 5 years and 17 months THE NATURE of my job allows me the privilege of taking the dogs to work and also provides them with an enriching experience. It’s important for clients to see that we enjoy our pets too. It enables us to understand how they’re feeling and to act compassionately. Working Cockers are fun, loyal and good with people and animals. They’re eager to please and easy to train, but also independent enough not to require constant attention. Millie came from a gamekeeper in Hexham and was chosen for being the most inquisitive and friendly of her litter. Buttons is Millie’s daughter. She was the smallest pup, but the most outstanding and characteristic. Both dogs were introduced to horses at a young age. Good training stems from basic obedience such as reliable recall and control commands. It’s also important to socialise them in a calm, controlled and gradual manner with dog-friendly horses in the first instance. I enjoy working alongside the dogs. Millie has learned to carry my twitch device which I often put down and forget about. I’m also guilty of leaving sets of hoof-testers lying around and plan to train Buttons to retrieve these for me.

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IN STORE 46 The Square & 22 Horsemarket Kelso, The Scottish Borders 31/03/2015 15:49:32


TOP TEN HACKS

Heaven hacking

WELCOME TO TEN OF THE BEST HACKS IN THE SCOTTISH COUNTRYSIDE – BUT BE WARNED,THIS FEATURE WILL HAVE YOU LONGING TO SADDLE UP AND HEAD FOR THE HILLS, FOREST AND BEACH

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LARGO LAW, FIFE ALI VOTIER leads members of North East Fife Riding Club on an incredibly scenic hack up Largo Law. This ancient volcanic plug is an iconic feature in Fife’s landscape. The ride pictured was hosted by Bill Clark and Louise Docherty of Largo Law Livery, who took participants across private farmland and up this steep hill to take in the amazing views across Fife to the north of Scotland and across the Firth of Forth to the Scottish Borders. Riders who would like to try this hack can get in touch with Largo Law Livery on Facebook. There are plans to turn this amazing hack into an annual charity ride, so if you fancy an adrenaline-fuelled ride up the hill before descending for a gallop on the beach at Largo Bay, just get in touch. Image: Nigel Hutchison Photography

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TOP TEN HACKS

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THE STONE CIRCLE, PITFICHIE FOREST, ABERDEENSHIRE This hack is fantastic on my 16.2 KWPN gelding Alfie. It takes you up to the The Stone Circle at Pitfichie forest, Tillyfourie, Aberdeenshire. This is a 14.4km (nine mile) track with the most amazing views of the Vale of Alford, Bennachie and all round that is used by horse riders, bikers and runners. We are lucky to have such great hack just up the road from our yard. We particularly enjoy this hack due to the up and downhill terrain and different optional tracks which are excellent for getting our horses fit for the eventing season. Stef Slater, Aberdeenshire

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CULBIN FOREST & SANDS, NR FORRES A century of tree planting and dune grass restoration has created 7,000 acres of forestry crisscrossed by myriad tracks leading down to the beautiful Culbin Sands – an uninterrupted stretch of sand running from Findhorn Bay to Nairn. We ride there often, and love the variety of this stunning location, from wide forestry roads and tiny, sandy, heather-lined tracks to the vast open beach. Louisa Stewart Howitt, Glenferness

THE BIRCHES, STRATHARDLE

This hack along the Cairngorms’ southern fringe passes through wooded valleys of larch and Scots Pine, past huge Ice Age boulders, across open SSSI heather heathland with wild flowers, before we canter along drovers’ roads. We pass the head of Strathardle glen and enter ancient birch forests before hitting the Alpine high ground and winding back through the woods. Lucy Holt, Enochdhu, Perthshire

TENTSMUIR WOODS, FIFE My nine-year-old daughter Shanyn (right) and I leave the box at Kinshauldy Stables and head onto the fab sandy beach which stretches all the way to St Andrews – it’s great for giving it a blast. Tentsmuir forest is wonderfully quiet and full of amazing grass tracks (just try not to get lost!) Lorraine Hamilton, Errol 58

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6 SANDHEAD BEACH, DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY

BENNACHIE, ABERDEENSHIRE This ride is near the base of Bennachie, in Aberdeenshire. There are several tracks you can take around the mountain so there are endless opportunities. You can be out for a half hour or as long as you want. I like to start out at the Back of Bennachie car park and finish in a loop, or somewhere completely different. This particular photograph of Jasper is taken while hacking around the forest near Whiterashes and Logie Durno. That’s a bit further away from Bennachie, but I can access those tracks from my house, although it does involve a bit of road work. I would recommend Bennachie for its fantastic hillwork, perfect for getting the horses fit. And its storm drains and streams give excellent opportunities to get event horses used to ditches, steps and water, giving them valuable experience. Caitlin Padfield, Aberdeenshire

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AROS, ISLE OF MULL

On Mull, thanks to our friendly farmers, we can ride pretty much anywhere, but I love the Aros River estuary right in front of our house. At low tide the beach’s black sand is a perfect all-weather schooling surface. Last summer we hacked the 15 miles to Calgary Beach, one of Mull’s best known beauty spots on the north of the island. It was a hot day, and by the time we’d hacked there and reached the Machair, both we and our horses were ready for some fun. Juliet Knight, Aros, Isle of Mull

Hacking is a wonderful way to take in some amazing views, and this ride is one of the most popular in our area. My father and I have ridden on this amazing beach for as long as I can remember. It is always lovely, rain or shine. You can hack through a forest called Ringdoo to the beach which is eight miles long and takes you all the way to Sandhead, or drive down with horses in the box and get straight to the beach. Either way it makes the most amazing and memorable ride. Andrea Fitton, Dumfries and Galloway

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LINDORES, NEWBURGH, FIFE Part of the reason that riders love to head to the cross country course at Lindores is for the fabulous off-road hacking around the farm, which gives riders an amazing 360 degree view across Fife, Perthshire, Tayside and Angus. The views are stunning, like this one looking over Newburgh and the River Tay. Visitors can take their horses and stay at Lindores Lodge to appreciate the landscape for days on end. Find Lindores Lodge on Facebook. Image: Suzanne Black Photography

THREIPMUIR PARK & RESERVOIR, EDINBURGH

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Pictured is my event horse Juliet and I hacking in Threipmuir Park & Reservoir on the outskirts of Edinburgh. We are incredibly lucky that Threipmuir is less than 10 minutes’ drive away from the yard, so I try to get up there at least once a week for some fabulous hacking. This is Juliet's favourite route around the reservoir, possibly because it doesn't include any of the long stretches up the hills that are so good for her fitness. I love it because of the variety of terrain, from nice roadways to stream crossings and then more rocky mountainous pathways. All of it is fantastic preparation for eventing, as she needs to think about where she puts her hooves and keep her wits about her. There is also the odd log and river to have a pop over and splash through, which she and I both enjoy immensely. Sarah Wright, Edinburgh

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01/04/2015 18:49:03


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THROUGH YOUR HORSES’ EARS

Top Left: Gwen Peddie and Ciara regularly enjoy rides along Fife’s Coastal Path. Top right: Karin Rodger and her horse Fantasi Sky love this view across the lochan to the mountains of Glencoe. Above right: Angela Meachen and 25-year-old Holly enjoy this ride at Alyth in Perthshire. Below: Nicole Simmonds is lucky enough to be able to ride on Traigh beach at Morar.

Above: Lindsay Stewart and Tim love going for a canter on this ride in Perthshire which takes in old Newtyle rail line. Below: Jill Philip and Dupes savours this ride past Kellie Castle in Fife.

Left: Sophie Scott and Socks relish the ride through Cheyne Hill Forest, then a canter in the fields and finally these views over Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire.

Above: Jemma Docherty and Charlie with friend Eilidh Camron and Coisty enjoy this ride around the fields at Halymyres Farm, Dunnotar. Below: These handsome ears belong to Mar, who enjoys a hack with owner Joanne Orr along the fields beside Rescobie Loch in Letham, Angus.

through your

Horses’ ears

WE GOT SO MANY FANTASTIC PICTURES SENT IN BY OUR READERS THAT WE THOUGHT WE WOULD SHARE THE BEST OF YOUR HACKING SELFIES 61

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MELANIE REID

I get letters from people who’ve lost their children. That’s when you realise that you’re bloody lucky and that everything is relative

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Storm riding out the

MELANIE REID’S LIFE CHANGED FOREVER WHEN SHE FELL FROM A HORSE AND BROKE HER BACK. BUT THE WRITER AND JOURNALIST HAS NO INTENTION OF GIVING UP ON IT BY RICHARD BATH PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

‘T

hey say there are things worse than dying, and I never believed it. But there are, and this is it. Being in a wheelchair is probably the least of it. All the rest of it – not being able to go to the loo normally and that kind of stuff – is more crippling.’ Melanie Reid is a force of nature, one of the most remarkable women I have ever met. In the five years since the well-known Stirlingshire journalist fell off her horse and mangled her spinal column, she has written a brutally honest weekly column in The Times which has laid bare her travails as a newly disabled and deeply traumatised human being. The combination of her beautifully crisp writing, unremitting honesty and gallows humour has turned Spinal Column into required reading not just for horsey folk but for anyone with a pathological aversion to sugar-coating. Yet Reid’s weekly posting has done more than give readers a glimpse into her world of pain; it has also helped her retain her sanity, given her a purpose and an income. It has, she says, forced this go-getting, deeply impatient soul to intellectually confront her wheelchair-bound condition and to come to a firm conclusion each week. ‘The process of talking stuff through and giving it a shape and an end has been a form of therapy,’ she says. ‘It has probably helped stop me going mad.’ If her column has been difficult to write, at times it’s been almost as tough to read. The humour in one recent column, where Reid once again detailed the indignities of disability, was as black as tar. ‘I was sitting in

Image: At home in Stirlingshire.

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MELANIE REID

Xxxxxx

Above: Melanie in her eventing days.

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the hairdressers and realised my colostomy bag was leaking,’ she says. ‘I managed to get out of the salon and Dave [her husband] was attempting to help me. We were trying to shelter behind the car door and I had a lap full of poo and this distinguished chap came up and sort of peered over and hovered and said: “Melanie Reid, I do enjoy your column!” You could not have made it up. But being able to write an amusing column about it allowed me to articulate issues which mean a lot for the silent army of people who deal with grinding, chronic illness; I have been able to give a voice to those people.’ One of the most remarkable things about Reid is her positivity. This comes in part because she spends much of her day answering the ‘couple of hundred’ letters she receives most weeks from readers, some of whom are in a far worse condition than her. The fact that a robust, energetic 52-year-old could go from an active, highachieving lifestyle to a wheelchair in a heartbeat has also deeply affected many others. ‘I get a huge amount

of letters from able-bodied readers who say, “When I am about to be really grumpy or upset about something I think about you, and I think, no, I’m actually really rather lucky and I’m not going to moan.” And that’s quite nice.’ Reid uses her razor-sharp mind to fight her disability. Although cracks regularly appear in the dam, she does her best to project a wall of positivity. Her resolve is bolstered by coming into contact with others in a far worse position than herself (‘I get letters from people who’ve lost their children, which is the worst thing that can happen – that’s when you realise that you’re bloody lucky and that everything is relative.’). In particular, she constantly casts her mind back to the days after her fall when she was in the spinal unit in Glasgow. ‘I was alongside PE teachers, stonemasons and joiners – what are those poor buggers going to do?’ she asks. ‘The PE teacher still referees rugby matches because one of the kids pushes him around the pitch in his chair so he can still referee a match, but if I was a stonemason or a joiner my career

career... 01/04/2015 10:05:26


I’m still mourning what I lost, and until you come out of bereavement you don’t start living with the new

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MELANIE REID

My advice to anyone is go with your heart. Don’t wrap your life in cotton wool for fear of what might happen

T Right: Caption in here

here aren't enough hours in the day for Zara Phillips. The Olympian and former eventing world champion has 25 horses and a one-year-old daughter to look after, and that's before taking into account the punishing competition schedule that sends her criss-crossing the country, living out of lorries for days at a time. “There are competitions every weekend from March to October, and we'll often take more than one horse. So that's..." She tries to calculate her the total annual competition entries aloud and fails. "...quite a lot." "Then," she adds thoughtfully, after a pause, "there are events in the middle of the week as well." But the 33-year-old, who is 15th in line to the throne, does not seem fazed. "Every week is different, which is nice. There's a lot to keep track of. Each day I try to ride as many horses as possible; the eventers need training for dressage, jumping, fitness, cross country schooling. The key is to write it all down in the diary, to remind yourself what's already been done, because you'll never remember otherwise. And you've got to have a good team." She lives in Gloucestershire on her mother Princess Anne's Gatcombe Park estate with husband Mike Tindall, the former England rugby player and their daughter Mia Grace. Zara and Mike's wedding, at the Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh, followed hot on the heels of the other royal wedding – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s – in 2011, and Mia's birth in Janu-

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would be over. If I wasn’t educated, how could I recreate my life and earn a living? One of my great mates in the spinal unit was a squaddie who was shot in the neck in Afghanistan. He didn’t have any trade to fall back on – what was he going to do? That’s when you realise you’re lucky that you can still write.’ While Reid still has a first-class mind, the accident completely changed almost every other aspect of her life with a suddenness and violence that she is still trying to come to terms with. Some days it is more of a struggle than others. ‘I have my moments, but for the sake of the people I love, Dave and my son Dougie, I try to do my grieving in private. I feel incredibly self-pitiful sometimes, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. The only way you can get somewhere is if you take another Ibuprofen, go into the kitchen and have a strong coffee and think, “What am I going to do today?” ‘I was always tomboyish and sporty, so in some ways my attitude is quite masculine. My way of dealing with it is to regard it as a physical and mental challenge, and to actively fight back against the physical cage in which I’m confined.’ Staying as upbeat as possible has been crucial. ‘You realise how important it is when you’re in hospital and you see some poor people who you know are not going to be able to fight it – be it through the injury or through their temperament or through their support. So much depends on your temperament; there are some people like me who kind of take it on and regard it as a Caledonian Challenge, but there are those who can’t.’ Yet for all her fighting talk, there are times when Reid is clearly overwhelmed by her change in circumstances. Her worst moments come when she feels what she describes as ‘the torture of possibility’. Tiny improvements in her neural networks over the past five years mean that if she is helped into an upright position she can now stagger a few feet along the living room on a heavy-duty walking frame. She has regained a small amount of function: she now has some feeling in the skin on her legs and a lot of feeling on the soles of her feet, and she can now feel her legs when on her exercise bike. ‘I keep thinking that maybe if I try a bit harder I could walk down that ramp and make a cup of coffee and actually carry it back into the living room,’ she says. ‘It keeps me hoping, but sometimes I think it might be easier if I could just accept and move on. There’s still a bit of me that has this huge hope. I know I’m never going to run up mountains again, but part of me would love to think that I might regain some continence and I might be able to move around and get in the car normally and get some semblance of a life back. Until I can lay that to rest there will always be that torture of possibility.’ The prospect – however remote – of moving back towards her old life is a cruel chimera, especially as she freely admits that she has yet to fully come to terms with the loss of her independence. ‘I haven’t found my new self because I’m still mourning what I lost, and until you come out of bereavement, you don’t start

Left: Since her accident five years ago, Melanie Reid has charted her new life in a weekly column for The Times.

living with the new.’ Her distress at what she has lost is heightened because Reid so clearly loved her life, and was proud of the existence she had forged for herself. ‘When people meet me now I don’t feel they get to know the real me, because the real me was someone who was over 6ft tall. My height was part of my identity. If you’d met me, I would have come bouncing out on long legs to show you around and we would have gone striding off. I can’t do that any more – I can’t even see what’s in the pan on the Aga – and I have not yet found my new identity. I think that’s part of the ongoing struggle. The world changes in a couple of seconds but the ongoing struggle to get to know the new world may take the rest of my life.’ Her old life, she says, was absolutely full-on. ‘I used to do so much. I would get up at quarter to six and do the horses and go to work in Glasgow by the back of eight. I would do a high-powered job and then head home where I might school the horses in the evening and then I’d watch the ten o’clock news and go to bed. Being tall was somehow part of it. It gives you an advantage in life – getting your legs cut off is bloody hard, particularly for me. You lose that sense of yourself, and experience a sense of impotence which must be even worse for a guy because you can’t have sex, and all that is left is your head.’ Although Reid has experienced some small increase in feeling, she remains confined to a wheelchair and has just enough digital mobility to type with two fingers. Just how fragile she is physically became clear when she was undergoing some physio and broke her hip. It was a devastating blow which forced her

forced...

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MELANIE REID

Above: Melanie enjoyed a brief return to the saddle with Riding for the Disabled.

to give up Riding for the Disabled, a diversion which had restored a welcome fragment of her former life. ‘There’s something about a great big gentle animal that is good for your head and your soul. I loved getting back on the horse - being up high again, feeling that sense of movement and height and, God, the arrogance of being a cavalry woman. You’re up high: it’s that age-old thing where being on a horse gives you this amazing advantage because you’re looking down on your enemy from a position of might and power. It was wonderful, but I realised I couldn’t use the reins at all and was entirely dependent on the kindness of the horse just walking in a straight line. I realised it was just too risky.’ These days, there are no glossy competition horses on her farm; instead she makes do with trips on her Gator four-wheel-drive vehicle. Dougie takes her along the tracks where she used to hack and prepare her horses for the Buccleuch hunt. These are bittersweet expeditions

that make her feel exhilarated yet wistful. But what, I ask, would she change? Wishing she had gone from eventing to dressage is a familiar regret, but Reid is not a woman naturally given to looking in the rear-view mirror. ‘You are fated to rerun in your head what you might have done differently,’ she sighs. ‘I was as fit at 52 as somebody in their thirties but accidents happen to the best of us and it could have happened doing dressage. But of course I have regrets - I wish I had stuck to doing groundwork and flatworking a horse. ‘But I’ve never regretted having horses in my life because it was always a passion. My advice to anyone is go with your heart, don’t wrap your life in cotton wool for fear that something might happen – live! We only have one life and it’s better to have cracked on and done something than to have sat at home in fear of what might go wrong. That has to be my philosophy. I think it should be everyone’s philosophy.’ And with that we’re done. As Reid leaves me and heads towards her bedroom, she pauses as her wheelchair is halfway down the ramp, and in a poignant ritual she leans over and presses her nose up against the leatherwork of a bridle that she’s nailed to the wall, just as she does right before she goes to bed each night.

There is something about a great big gentle animal that is good for your soul

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01/04/2015 10:09:42


HORSE HEROES Image: David Hay-Thorburn, loving his high-level view from the saddle

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Blazing trail

FORMER WORLD AND UK TREC CHAMPION DAVID HAY-THORBURN DISCUSSES WHY THE SADDLE IS THE BEST WAY TO SURVEY THE SCOTTISH LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHAANGUS BLACKBURN

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renfield Estate in central Argyll, on the banks of Loch Fyne, is home to David Hay-Thorburn and his horses. From this stunning base he runs a livery yard and offers riding lessons, horse holidays and TREC training. ‘TREC is a fun riding competition that usually consists of three phases – namely, orienteering on horseback [POR], Control of Paces [CoP] and a cross-country obstacle course [PTV],’ explains David. The TREC competition involves using these skills and simulates the challenges any rider may encounter when out hacking. David first started because he thought it would be a great way to explore areas of natural and historic beauty that would not usually be accessible on a daily basis. TREC has many benefits for both horse and rider. It encourages general horse knowledge and care, and develops a wide range of useful skills in the partnership. In the horse it encourages calmness and versatility and in the rider personal development making them more independent and confident with their riding and also enhances social capabilities. When asked about what makes exploring Scotland on horseback such a special experience, David happily waxes lyrical on the subject. ‘Riding horses offers the chance to see the countryside from a different perspective,’ he says. ‘The extra height a horse gives you means that you are able to take in views that would be impossible to glimpse on foot. Also there is the opportunity to glimpse wildlife that you wouldn’t be able to on foot. Most wildlife do not see the horse as a threat, meaning that you can get a lot closer to some species.’ 71

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SOLARIS STUD

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sunny

Side up PERTHSHIRE’S SOLARIS STUD IS HOME TO SOME OF THE COUNTRY’S MOST STRIKING STALLIONS BY CAL FLYNN PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN & ROS SEREX

K My breeding horses must have the X factor. Without that, you might as well give up

ambarbay is truly a beautiful creature. Inside, in the dim of his stable, he strikes a pose, arching his neck and flaring his nostrils as a shaft of afternoon light plays across his platinum flanks. He is Rosalyn Serex’s pride and joy. She has been breeding professionally since 2004, as Solaris Sports Horses near Dunblane, and Kambarbay is the yard celebrity. ‘He has been featured in every horsey publication you can think of. He is my baby. He just has such a nice temperament. Look at him...’ We lead him outside; Kambarbay swivels his head like a bird, peering up as Angus, our photographer, positions flash guns on the roof of the stableblock. Spooked, the horse shows the whites of his eyes, but stands obediently. ‘I’d never be able to do anything like this with other stallions.’ Kambarbay is a beautifully put-together example of an Akhal-Teke, one of the world’s oldest living breeds, famed for their endurance and agility. Although originally numerous and highly valued, the breed was decimated during the famine years of the Soviet Union, when they were slaughtered for meat. At one point there were barely more than 1,000 left, and an export ban was brought in, which continues today in modern Turkmenistan. As a result, Akhal-Tekes are rare in the west, desirable specimens changing hands for tens of thousands of pounds. Rosalyn bought Kambarbay as a foal from a specialist stud in Estonia, whose stock descend from horses likely smuggled out after the ban came into place – Kambarbay’s parents, Kuvvatli and Sonata, were both born at the Komsomol Stud in Turkmenistan. As well as their sturdiness, Akhal-Tekes are prized for

Left: Rosalyn Serex with her pride and joy, Akhal-Teke stallion Kambarbay.

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SOLARIS STUD

It’s good to get the foals out into the ring and used to being handled. It’s very good for their confidence

Right: Caption in here.

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their distinctive metallic colouring. The burnish of Kambarbay’s perlino coat – the iridescent white-gold of the unicorn – denotes his highly sought-after ‘double dilute’ genes, which guarantees a palomino foal from a chestnut mare, buckskin from a bay, or the unusual ‘smoky black’ shade from a black. This is obviously a boon for any breeder seeking to produce youngstock of striking appearance. Currently on the yard, Rosalyn has several home-bred foals sired by Kambarbay, including a tiny blond creature, knobble-kneed and fluffyfaced, perlino like his father and pintsized like his Welsh section A mother. When he’s grown, he’ll make the perfect My Little Pony for a little girl. ‘He’ll make 14.2hh at most,’ says Rosalyn. ‘We’ve been inundated with offers for him, but he’s not for sale.’ She also has a painted warmblood stallion, Solaris Buenno,

whose homozygous colour genes are guaranteed to produce striking tobiano (skewbald) foals. But, she says, although the stallions’ unusual colours are a draw, ‘movement, conformation and breeding are more important’. Buenno’s paternal grandsire, for example, was Nimmerdor, a horse declared by the KWPN studbook as ‘stallion of the century’ in 2000. All her stock are registered as sports horses – for use in showjumping, eventing or dressage – with some already finding success in their fields. ‘And, of course, my breeding horses must always have that special presence, the X factor. If they don’t have that, you might as well give up.’ The X factor is inarguably visible in black dressage specialist Amoureux, a showy black warmblood stallion with flowing gaits and impeccable breeding. Currently ridden by Mat Burnett, just made

Left: Looking after the horses is a fulltime job. Centre: Just Jet a 2014 foal by Amoureux. Below: Gilbert with Solaris’s 24-year-old foundation mare Quinine and her 2014 colt foal by Amoureux

Mat Burnett....

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his International Prix St Georges debut. Rosalyn herself no longer rides, instead sending her horses to Craigie Equestrian near Huntly for backing and breaking, but she spends her weekends out and about on the showing circuit. ‘It’s good to get the foals out, getting used to being handled, in the ring and in and out of the lorry. It’s very good for their confidence. ‘Obviously the Royal Highland Show is the highlight of our calendar but we’ll also be at the Dunblane, Perth and Stirling shows. As breeders, the KWPN Keurings [when new foals are judged ahead of studbook entry] are very important. In 2012 we had a very good result when our homebred filly Halexia was the highestscoring dressage filly nationwide.’ Halexia has since been sold on; Rosalyn sells home-produced stock on a rolling basis, while her four stallions – Kambarbay, Amoureux, Buenno and new boy on the block, four-year-old Gino – are available at stud via artificial insemination from £500 to £600, plus £120 shipping. Rosalyn operates a ‘no foal free

We’ve been doing well but it’s not about the money. It’s about the horses

Top: Ikonique, a Kambarbay colt, with his mother Edwina. Above: Another of the stud’s stunning foals, Fabianna by Buenno.

return policy’. ‘This entitles the mare’s owner to have a shipment for their mare each cycle over a period of two years, until a pregnancy is achieved. We also offer live foal guarantee – so if the foal is stillborn, aborted or dies within a few weeks of birth, we offer a free return, again until a pregnancy is achieved.’ Frozen semen from Kambarbay, two of her former horses – cremello warmblood McJonnas and tobiano showjumper Umenno – is also available from £700, plus shipping, although without the same guarantees due to the costs involved in storage. ‘Our largest markets are actually outside of Scotland. I think that too often Scottish breeders forget that high-quality stallions are available at home, and they go immediately to the continent. Although we have one or two local customers, most come from England and Europe – the Netherlands, France, and the Czech Republic. ‘We have even sold a palomino filly to a dressage yard in Germany – selling dressage horses to the Germans is like selling sand to the Arabs! There have also been three of our foals born in Australia, and Kambarbay’s first American foal is due next year. ‘We’ve been doing well, but it’s not about the money,’ says Rosalyn, as she regards her golden stallion fondly. ‘It’s about the horses.’ For further information, visit www.solaris-sporthorses.co.uk. 77

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ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE OF HORSES

Power horse

OUR WAY OF LIFE IS NO LONGER DRIVEN BY THE HORSE, BUT EQUESTRIANISM IS STILL A POTENT ECONOMIC FORCE BY HELENE MAUCHLEN

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ong after we’ve ceased to rely on them for transport, mining coal or ploughing fields, horses continue to permeate every aspect of our lives, often in ways which we barely notice. Every aspiring petrolhead, for instance, assesses the power of his prospective purchase through the prism of horsepower. We have Glasgow-born James Watt, who in 1770 assessed the amount of coal the average pit pony could lift out of a mine, to thank for that enduring measurement of equine strength. Since Watt’s days, the number of horses in Scotland has been deciEACH HORSE ON mated by the arrival of the AVERAGE PUTS £3,105 internal combustion engine, PER ANNUM INTO THE yet these wonderful animals LOCAL ECONOMY continue to play a powerful part in so many lives. Whether it’s bringing deer off the hills on stag ponies or the traditional riding of the marches in the Borders, our four-legged friends remain central to many communities’ way of life. Although we know that 250,000 people in Scotland – a staggering 5% of the population – ride regularly, the figures on the precise number of horses north of the border are a little more hazy. The best guess of several recent horse counts suggested that there are around 100,000 horses in Scotland, an estimate I believe to be on the high side: in 2011 the National Equine Database said that there were

£3,105

57,750 horses, ponies and donkeys registered in Scotland, and given the under-reporting of deaths the true number may well be less than that. There are, however, also a fair number of unpassported equines, so all we can say with any certainty is that there are between 60,000 and 100,000 horses, ponies and donkeys in Scotland. Of that number it was reported in 2013 that 35,000 were living on agricultural holdings, which means that a surprisingly high percentage are living in urban fringes and non-agricultural paddocks. Adding those facts into the equation, we at the British Horse Society guesstimate that there are about 70,000 horses in Scotland.

250,000

250,000 PEOPLE IN SCOTLAND – 5% OF THE POPULATION – RIDE REGULARLY

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870

SCOTLAND’S HORSE RACING INDUSTRY SUPPORTS 870 FULL-TIME JOBS AND HAS A DIRECT EXPENDITURE TO THE SCOTTISH ECONOMY OF

£55M

£217 - £310M Equestrianism’s economic value to the Scottish economy is often underestimated by those unfamiliar with the huge number of horse riders and enthusiasts. In 2011, Lantra put the equine industry as the second biggest employer in rural Britain. According to the British Equestrian Trade Organisation (BETA), each horse puts on average £3,105 each year into the local economy. This means that the equestrian sector contributes between £217m and £310m each year to Scotland’s economy, with an army of people involved in the supply of fencing, farriery, feed, tack, tuition, saddlery, veterinary care and the like. That’s before the surprisingly punchy contribution of Scotland’s horse racing industry, which a Scotland Means Business report in September 2014 estimated has a direct expenditure to the Scottish economy of £55m, a wider economic impact of £173m and supports 870 full-time jobs. Although there are pockets of Scotland where the horse still rules – the Borders has the highest ratio of horses to humans in Britain – there are generally less horses per person the further north you go. The membership of the BHS backs that up: we have 83,000 British members, of which just over 5,500 (just under 7%) are in Scotland, while BETA reckon there are 900,000 privately owned horses and 88,000 professionally owned horses in Britain. However, in most respects the Scottish experience is similar to that of the rest of Britain. The most recent

In 2011, Lantra put the equine industry as the second biggest employer in rural Britain

THE EQUESTRIAN SECTOR CONTRIBUTES BETWEEN £217M AND £310M TO SCOTLAND’S ECONOMY BETA National Equestrian Survey in 2010-11 revealed that: 3.5m people or 6% of Britons have ridden a horse at least once in the past year; 73% of riders are female, although there has been an increase in the number of male riders over the past 10 years; 8% of riders consider themselves disabled in some way; 25% of all riders are under 16 years old while 20% are over 45; of riders who ride once a week or less, 46% cited access to safe off-road riding as the biggest factor inhibiting their riding opportunities; the upkeep of the nation’s horses costs £2.8bn; other indirect consumer expenditure associated with equestrian activity is estimated at £557m per year. Yet, while Ronald Duncan once wrote in his famous 1960s poem The Horse that “all our history is his industry”, to reduce the impact of horses and ponies to figures on a balance sheet completely misses the point. The joy and fitness gained by those 250,000 Scots who ride each year is incalculable, especially as many are women and girls statistically unlikely to indulge in any other form of sport. And that’s without mentioning those who gain from Riding for the Disabled or hippotherapy.

Helene Mauchlen is Director of the British Horse Society (Scotland)

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HORSEBACK

Apocalypse horsemen of the

HORSEBACK, AN EQUINE CHARITY SET UP BY A COWBOY FROM DOLLAR, HAS BEEN REMARKABLY SUCCESSFUL AT OFFERING INJURED SERVICEMEN A FRESH LEASE OF LIFE BY RICHARD BATH PHOTOGRAPHS DAN PHILLIPS & ANGUS BLACKBURN

Image: An injured serviceman with his supervisor from Catterick personal recovery unit meets Skip, a horse bought with Poppy Scotland funds.

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Being around these horses has had an incredible effect on me

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HORSEBACK

Above: Snack time – Scott Meenagh, a Parachute Regiment private whose rugby career was cut short in Afghanistan. Right: another visitor from Catterick gets close and personal. Far right: Big smile from an RAF woman as she makes an equine friend.

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ou wouldn’t believe the difference in just three days,’ says Jeff Winder, who lost his left leg in an explosion in Basra ten years ago. ‘When I arrived here I shuffled in, and spent most of the time looking at my feet. I said nothing and avoided eye contact wherever possible. After treading on an improvised explosive device planted by the Iraqi police, who I was working alongside, I’d developed post-traumatic stress disorder and lost all my trust in people. I had become reclusive and was focusing on the pain in my leg, but being around these horses has had an incredible effect on me. ‘Even though my sister was a jockey I was even more scared of horses than I was of people, but this has been a life-changing experience because all of a sudden you’re not thinking about your own pain or discomfort, you’re thinking about the needs of someone – or something – else. You very quickly develop this bond with the horse; it’s really difficult to explain, but it works. In just three days I’ve become much more like my old, outgoing self.’ If ever there was a poster boy for the benefits of equine therapy for veterans, the 48-year-old from Preston would be it. The change wrought in three days doesn’t constitute a recovery, but it does show just why the centre run in Aboyne on Royal Deeside by a charity called Horseback is making such a name for itself at a time when so many servicemen are in need of help to ease themselves back into civilian life after war, or to cope with the depredations of post-traumatic stress disorder. The charity is only five years old, and is run by a lean, stetson-wearing, cowboy-booted 50-year-old former Royal Marine named Jock Hutchison and his wife Emma. In many ways their story is all the more remarkable because they hadn’t set out to help veterans, but stumbled across the idea when a pal from Jock’s former regiment, 45 Commando in Arbroath, visited the Hutchisons just three months after they moved into their new home in

Aboyne. He suggested on the spur of the moment that their farm and livery yard would be the perfect place for the regiment’s injured men – 16 of whom had gone through life-changing injuries, with most losing limbs – to recuperate. That it has turned out to be such exceptional therapy wasn’t just because of the rustic setting and the effect of the horses, but partly because of a lucky break which changed Jock’s horsey trajectory when he was a teenager. ‘I was the son of a Fife haulage contractor, or “cairtair”, so I suppose horses are in my genes,’ he laughs. ‘When I was a kid I went to pony club, but it was only when the gods intervened and I won a year-long scholarship from Dollar Academy to North Carolina that things really changed. The moment I got there I found myself in heaven because I was surrounded by hard-working men riding horses which were used to being worked for eight hours a day. It was a very different environment from the one I’d left behind in Scotland.’ Most importantly, these working horses – or cowboy ‘quarterhorses’ as they are known in the States – are fitted with saddles like armchairs and are, crucially, used to being guided by one hand and without the use of knees. For nervous veterans suffering from PTSD or for amputees physically unable to guide a horse with their knees, these unusually placid beasts manoeuvred via one-handed reins have proved to be the perfect companions. ‘The thing about horses is that they require leadership, and they don’t care what you’ve done in the past or how many limbs you have,’ says Jock. ‘The horse’s need to be led is empowering, and military men respond to an environment where they are expected to challenge themselves because they come from a background where they are trained to exceed expectations.’ The proof of that is all around us at the Hutchisons’ farm, where my visit coincides with that of a group from Blesma, the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association. The veterans start on the wooden horse before moving up to the mechanical bull, and then graduating up to the real thing. But it’s not just Jeff Winder and his fellow limbless veterans who understand just how important the work of Horseback is; many of Jock and Emma’s most important colleagues and helpers are those who volunteer to work alongside them, plus those still in the Army who have been seconded to help him. Among the latter category is Jason Hare – known universally as Jay – a 34-year-old Royal Marine who stepped on a mine in Sangin in November 2008 while leading a section during his third tour of Afghanistan. He spent two weeks in an induced coma, five weeks

I found myself in heaven surrounded by hard-working men riding horses that were used to being worked eight hours a day

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HORSEBACK

in Sellyoak and then endured two three-week stints in the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Unit at Headley Court. Despite arriving in a wheelchair having lost his left leg below the knee, his left eye and much of his nose, plus major damage to the digits on his right hand, he left able to run and has since done a gruelling 70-mile triathlon that included a marathon up and down Lochnagar and a 35-mile bike ride followed by a 21-mile canoe race to Aberdeen Harbour (‘it took me 12 hours this year; next year it’ll be eight,’ he said). A former Marine who is now the operations manager for the charity, Jay epitomises the Horseback credo that the best men to guide others through the process are those who have come through the challenge themselves. Having initially benefited from the week-long course, he understands exactly why it is proving so beneficial for injured and traumatised veterans. ‘My whole family have been military, my father was in the Navy and all I ever wanted to do was to be a Marine, so it’s difficult to explain what it means when that’s taken away in the blink of an eye,’ says Jay. ‘It doesn’t seem like it at the time, but in many ways those early times are easier to cope with because you’re in the system, you get intensive help and because, if you’ve lost a limb for instance, there’s an obvious challenge to respond to – and soldiers are programmed to rise to that sort of physical challenge. ‘But it’s later, when you come to integrating back into civilian society, that the most difficult challenges often kick in. What Horseback does is give these guys some confidence. For a start it can give them mobility, and riding a horse they are literally walking tall once again. ‘For guys whose only experience of the great out-

What Horseback does is give these guys some confidence and mobility. When riding a horse they are literally walking tall once again

doors is often being shot at while running with a big pack on their backs, a horse on the range is the embodiment of freedom. And to get a horse to willingly follow you is about empowerment; but there’s also a sense of calm which comes through working with horses. ‘It’s also about being able to serve because there’s an ethos of working as a team here. That kicks in at about Day Three – that’s when you see the big beaming smiles when guys realise that they can do this.

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Top left: Horseback founder Jock Hutchison, whose experience riding in North Carolina inspired the charity, guides an injured ex-solder into the country. Left: Time for a rest for horse and rider. Above: A happy cowgirl vacates her wheelchair to sit proudly in the saddle.

‘One of the best moments was when Ali [Grant], who was paralysed from the sternum downwards and in a wheelchair, managed to manoeuvre her horse through the cones last year. She said it was the best day of her life – that just really affected me. This job is so fulfilling because being able to help others is at the core of what the military is all about. That’s why we have the buddy-buddy system: who better to help someone out of the dark hole than someone who’s been there?’ As well as introducing former soldiers to horses, the Hutchisons have tried to provide a route back into employment by using the transferable skills which many soldiers don’t even appreciate that they possess. So while most of the week or two-week courses revolve around horses, there are also various introductory elements for potential jobs in areas such as vermin control, bushcraft, forestry, ghillying and the like. Several have led directly to jobs, not least with Horseback itself which is now also working with troubled teenagers, who are mentored by injured ex-servicemen, a mutually beneficial and highly effective arrangement.

This approach is yet another reason why the Armed Services have so enthusiastically embraced the whole concept of Horseback. The charity, ‘run by the boys for the boys’, has a track record of re-energising men and women who might otherwise have fallen by the wayside. The charity Help for Heroes is a consistent supporter; so are industrial companies, especially those in the oil industry, such as Premier Oil and Nexen. Their profile has now risen to the point where they will be demonstrating before the Grand National at Aintree. The undercurrent of resilience and the black sense of humour

humour... 85

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HORSEBACK

Above and top right: Two charmed visitors make friends with two horses. Centre: Operations manager Jay Hare, a former Royal Marine who lost a leg and fingers in Afghanistan.

were encapsulated by one young soldier who was the 33rd and final man in his company to walk in line over the same piece of ground, with the preceding 32 companions all missing the IED which removed his legs. He has, he said with ironic understatement, ‘a bit of an issue with the number three’. Over 450 service personnel have been through Horseback’s doors, and the range of men and women who benefit from it is remarkably varied. One of the first I met three years ago was a man whose stoicism and resilience were striking. Scott Meenagh, a 25-year-old private in the Parachute Regiment, lost both legs in Afghanistan, yet such was his love of the horses that at every opportunity he travelled up from his home town of Cumbernauld to help maintain the charity’s 46 horses. It gave him a sense of equilibrium, he said, and kept him busy. As well as being an enthusiastic pony club member as a boy, Meenagh played under-18s rugby for Scotland as a hooker, and still hopes to be involved on the coaching side of the game; his outlook was relentlessly and upliftingly positive.

Others have different reasons for coming. Ali Grant, a forces medic who was paralysed when a drunk driver smashed into her car near Geneva eight years ago, has since done a law degree, skis and sails and is studying to be a pilot. She is a go-getting action woman yet Horseback performs a vital function by allowing her to come to terms with the vulnerability she feels when in a wheelchair. After all, if you can feel comfortable sitting in a wheelchair when around these huge horses, then the rest of life suddenly seems less daunting.

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Then there’s Patrick Provis, a 45-year-old househusband to five kids. The former Royal Welsh Fusilier from Treorchy was hit by three IRA mortars in South Armagh back in 1987 and has only one of his ten digits remaining. He was always scared of horses, assiduously avoiding his daughter‘s pony, but Horseback has given him something unexpected. ‘It’s a feeling of intense calmness; you lose your negative thoughts and focus completely,’ he says. ‘Yesterday was one of those days, where my pony Poppy left me smiling all day. But then everyone is smiling here. It’s hard to explain why horses have that effect, they just do...’ The first time I visited Horseback I met a young woman whose verdict was particularly touching, even though she was neither a veteran or injured. Jess March is a pretty western riding instructor who met Emma through her coaching exams, and who worked for Horseback in its early years. ‘I was in Team GB and turned professional at 18, but competing is superficial and selfish because whether you’re competing for a rosette or money, it’s all about yourself,’ she said. ‘But here you’re working to give people a chance to bring about a profound change, to give them a real chance for a better life. ‘At times it can be very emotional, but it’s always such an incredible privilege. Every day you witness people who have so little giving so much of themselves. If that’s not worthwhile, then what is?’

Everyone is smiling here. Why do horses have that effect? They just do...

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JACKIE STEPHEN

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Image: Aberdeenshire’s Jackie Stephen is Britain’s most northerly racehorse trainer.

Star

northern

JACKIE STEPHEN, BRITAIN’S MOST NORTHERLY TRAINER, TALKS ABOUT THE CHALLENGES OF TRAINING IN INVERURIE, AND TELLS HOW RACING HELPED HER BEAT BREAST CANCER

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using on the many complications of training her racehorses in Aberdeenshire, Jackie Stephen is adamant that the fearsome weather of the north-east isn’t her greatest obstacle. Instead, the main challenge of her northerly location is the travel and cost involved in going to race days. With Perth – a return journey of well over 200 miles – her nearest racecourse, most meetings require Jackie to travel down the day before meetings, and involve nights away from home. Not only is this time-consuming and costly, it means she also has to get someone to look after the other horses in her absence. That said, the weather clearly is an issue. Although she insists that her current grass gallops and access to Sovereign beach allow her to ride out in even in the most brutal weather, plans are afoot to build an all-weather gallop to maximise winter training. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and having to take some time off to recover, this season has been like a new start. Not only did immersing herself in her work improve her state of mind – ‘I’m pretty determined and not the sort of person to give up on anything, but training really helped take my mind off the illness’ – it also yielded some solid results for her yard. Her top two horses, Mo Rouge and Amilliontime, both ran consistently and won jumps races last year – Mo Rouge at Perth in July, and Amilliontime later in the year at Kelso. Meanwhile Welcome Then, the yard youngster, has run in a few bumpers and reacted well to the crowds. All in all, Jackie’s winnings for 2014-15 are almost £12,000 – not bad for a tiny yard with just four horses (she can take a maximum of ten). Her achievement, however, should not be calculated on the number of winners – but in overcoming some seemingly insurmountable obstacles to not just survive but to positively thrive in the deep north. 89

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DAVID HARLAND

lessons in

Life

DAVID HARLAND’S SUCCESSFUL COACHING CLINICS SUBSIDISE HIS GLITTERING CAREER IN SHOWJUMPING, BUT HE HAS TO FIGHT HARD TO GET THE BALANCE BETWEEN THEM RIGHT BY CAL FLYNN PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

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Image: David with Fauber, with whom he won the grade C championship at the 2014 Royal Highland Show.

Eventually I want my own yard, which is why I am teaching like mad now – to save up

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DAVID HARLAND

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Right: David and Fauber in training.

ast year was a rollercoaster for David Harland. After a successful start to the season – winning the grade C championship at the Royal Highland Show on Suzanne Craighead’s Fauber, then Blair Castle’s six-bar challenge for the second year running on Liz Smith’s Nux D’Amour – he found himself grounded come August. ‘I was riding a young horse when it kicked me out the saddle, and I fractured my arm,’ says the Kirkcaldy-based showjumper. Hampered by a plaster cast, he had to call a premature halt to a season that had also seen him and handsome grey Fauber winning the 1.20m open at Turriff in front of the Queen. He’s back in the saddle now but, David explains, despite competing since the tender age of six – when he came third in the 128 final at Gleneagles on 12.2hh Ultimate Challenge – his most profitable pursuit is still teaching. ‘It’s difficult to make a realistic income out of riding once you’ve spent half a mil on a farm, lorry, all that. But doing well in my own riding career and winning competitions raises my profile as a coach. ‘Coaching is my main job, riding my shop window. I have a Facebook page (David Harland – Show Jumping) where I advertise my clinics, and by far the most popular posts are photos of me out competing.’ A lot of other young riders work for other competition riders, he explains, earning money that way. ‘But that ties you down to what that other person wants to do and I’m too independent,’ he says. Last year’s horsescotland Coach of the Year, David spends much of his time on the road, travelling the length and breadth of the country to coach, hosting regular clinics at Dark Deer Croft in Glen Affric; Brechin Castle, Angus; Dollar Equestrian in Fife; and Inchcoonans Equestrian in Perthshire. ‘I started a clinic in Lewis recently, which is really taking off. I catch the 7am flight out of Glasgow, teach from 8.30am to 6.30pm, and fly home again at 7.20pm. That works brilliantly. There’s a new equestrian centre there that has just opened, and plenty of demand for instruction. I’ve only been out three times so far but I’ve already filled my ten hours easily.’ As well as private lessons, David is in demand as an instructor for junior teams: ‘I’ve been brought in to coach at Kilgraston girls’ school and tasked with improving its equestrian team, having done a lot of that sort of work with the pony club already. I also teach the Highland BSJA junior academy – in fact, it was they who put me forward for the Coach of the Year award.’ Any young person can join a junior academy at grassroots level, he explains. The aim is to help them

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I could easily coach seven days a week if I wanted, but it’s difficult to juggle that with the riding

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RIGHT - E.S. PHOTOGRAPHY

DAVID HARLAND

Clockwise from above: Putting a young rider through her paces; in action in a speed trial at Hopetoun House in 2014; David spends much of his time travelling to competitions all over the country; getting another morning’s coaching under way.

to understand the rules of affiliated showjumping and how it works. Future prospects are picked out from among the attendees for extra opportunities. ‘It’s a great scheme,’ says David. ‘I’ve been teaching at the Inverness camp for three or four years now.’ This year the 27-year-old has gained his UK coaching certificate level 3, plus his show jumping specific qualification and is now busy aiming at eventing specific qualifications, as well as launching several commercial products developed with entrepreneur David Thomson of Dark Deer Croft. These include a range of lightweight timing gates for use in jumping competitions and an ingenious corrective system aimed at improving the user’s riding position through constant ‘biofeedback’ via vibration pads positioned over their breastbone or back. In the saddle, David has already qualified for this year’s Royal Highland Show with Fauber and he hopes

to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show, having missed out last year with Fauber by just one place. ‘I want to take on another horse too, to add to my string of competition horses,’ he says. ‘But I really have to be careful that I can stay on top of the teaching I’ve taken on. I could easily coach seven days a week if I wanted, but it’s difficult to juggle that with riding. That’s why I’ve only got a few horses on the go. ‘Eventually I want my own yard, which is why I’m teaching like mad now – to save up.’ But even when he does get his own yard, he says he’ll still want to keep coaching. ‘I love the travelling. I teach all over, from the Borders to the Highlands - my car has 223,000 miles on the clock! And I enjoy it. ‘I’ll be on my feet all day, ten hours at least usually. People come in, hand me a cup of tea and a sandwich, and I’ll teach right through lunch. But as long as I’ve got fun people to coach it passes in no time.’

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GREAT SCOTT

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HORSE HEROES

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Image: Sandra Low Mitchell and Balcormo Stud are flying high.

show

Off

SANDRA LOW-MITCHELL IS SYNONYMOUS WITH BALCORMO STUD, A FAMILY ENTERPRISE SET UP IN THE 1970S WHICH IS STILL GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH

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alcormo stud is a name synonymous with breeding and competition horses throughout the world. Its founders Dugald and Jackie Low-Mitchell bought the farm back in the early 1970s and set about turning it into something remarkable. The couple were real innovators, being the first to begin AI breeding from stallions in the UK and, along with Alec Brown, the first to import warmblood stallions to Scotland. Sadly Dugald passed away in 2013 but Jackie, at the age of 82, is still very much involved in the mare and foal side of the business and can often be seen on her golf buggy leading mares with foals trotting along behind. Today it is their daughter Sandra, a very successful show jumper and trainer in her own right, who has taken up the reins at the Fife stud, breeding and competition yard. Sandra has produced some very successful horses including Hopes are High, who went on to win The King George V Gold Cup, Grands Prix in Dublin and Spain, and the Spruce Meadows Du Maurier Grand Prix (which was the largest prize in show jumping in 1998) with Nick Skelton. Sandra has been out of the ring due to injury, but plans to get back in the saddle this year. Sandra and her sister Jennifer (who lives in South Africa) have both been working overseas to establish a flow of young talented riders from across the globe to train in Scotland. They have had students from New Zealand and South Africa, but now have more from France, Switzerland and Ukraine. Kirk Webby from New Zealand trained at Balcormo and went on to represent his country at the Beijing Olympics and won an $80,000 class in California just last month. Sandra has just been chosen, along with fellow Scot Aileen Craig and only four others, to take part in the British Showjumping’s Excel Coaching Programme for 2015. Sandra uses her time travelling to find horses for clients all over the world and has sold horses to the USA, New Zealand and South Africa. ‘I take pride in fitting customers to the right horses,’ explains Sandra. She’s also an expert on horse health and wellbeing and takes a great interest in rider psychology. Sandra is a strong believer that ‘if the rider’s position is right and their mindset is healthy, then the rest comes easy.’ 97

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NICOLA GILLESPIE CROLLA

I’d caught the horse bug and wanted to be at the top of my game

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Image: Dressage champion Nicola Gillespie Crolla pictured with her small international tour horse Fearless

Jump Nicola’s big

...SHOWJUMPING TO DRESSAGE BY MELANIE SCOTT PHOTOGRAPHS ANGUS BLACKBURN

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NICOLA GILLESPIE CROLLA

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ith a family steeped in horses, it was inevitable Nicola Gillespie Crolla would be involved with the equine world, but it’s in the world of dressage where she has quickly climbed the ranks and reached grand prix level. ‘I’ve ridden as far back as I can remember,’ she says. ‘I always had ponies but never really competed - my dad Graham and uncle Gary had many successful showjumpers. Even though it was my dad’s hobby, he fitted it in around his businesses and had a lot of success. ‘In 1997 when I was 17, Dad went into partnership with his lifelong friend Michael Whitaker. Dad and Gary would produce horses to top national level in Britain then send them to Michael to take them on to international and Olympic level. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics we owned three of the four horses on the British team – Prince of Wales, Calvaro Z and It’s Otto – while Prince Of Wales was originally produced by us from a four-year-old.’ The family owned other horses with a fair degree of success, including Fleur, Abrisca, Wertheroscen, Conquest, Sandie, Tornado, Anastacia and Portofino. But with horses for every high a low is just around the corner – as they found when Portofino was selected for Team GB at the 2008 Olympics, but went lame just before competing. At the age of 20 Nicola decided to forge a career with horses. Determined to succeed, she moved to Germany for six months to train with Ernst Hofshroer. ‘He’s a close family friend and has found many horses for our family over the last 20-30 years,’ says Nicola. Afterwards she was based at Michael Whitaker’s for a year. ‘Both experiences were fantastic. I had my own horse to jump and compete, and I still got to ride all Michael’s top horses on the flat. I also had the opportunity to drive his top horses to some international shows – it was a great opportunity for a 21-year-old.’ The 34-year-old continued showjumping until she was 25, but knew she had hit a ceiling. ‘I was jumping 1.30m tracks - that was my limit and I knew I didn’t have the talent to go further. But I’d caught the horse bug and wanted to be at the top of my game.’ Nicola realised it was time to change disciplines. ‘I’ve always loved riding on the flat; it was very natural to me. I’ve schooled all our horses, and also Michael and Ernst’s, so I knew I must being doing something right. ‘I knew I could do this and climb the ladder. My jumping horses went so well on the flat that I decided to take them to a local low-level dressage. In 2005 I entered my first unaffiliated prelim dressage show at

I knew I must be doing something right...that I could do this and climb the ladder

Rowallan on my showjumpers Lendel and Different Class and I won. I continued going to more dressage shows and kept on winning.’ Encouraged by Lendel’s progress, in 2007 Nicola moved back to Germany for 18 months to learn about dressage. ‘I was so serious I moved to Warendorf, “the horse capital of the world”. I learned my craft with the help of three proper dressage horses. I was lucky enough to get Don Christobal, a grand prix school master, a small tour stallion and a young horse.’ Dressage took over her life as she moved away from showjumping. ‘Most of the showjumpers were sent to Michael to take to the next level,’ says Nicola. ‘I had finished my business degree at QMU in Edinburgh and I was ready for my next big challenge – learning to ride dressage the German way.’ However, it was not all plain sailing. ‘The training was blood, sweat and tears every day. But I learned so much. Every day for a year I was told I was really bad, then for the last six months I was told I was good but not quite good enough. It was the making of me and I learned how hard this sport is; that even though it looks so easy and elegant, it is anything but. But that’s what I love about dressage – just how challenging it is. ‘I was trained using the German Scales of Training, which to me is the only way of training and riding. I think everyone who rides needs to learn these basics; and when you understand that, it’s half the battle of riding. When you understand the pyramid it makes perfect sense as to how a horse should be trained, so I use it when teaching. When something is not working, many people blame the horse but if I go back and reference the Scales of Training then nine times out of ten it is something that the rider has missed or is not doing correctly.’ Nicola trained with Ralph Michael Rash and Frank Mohr in Germany and then in Britain with

Right: Nicola and Fearless: ‘He’s 14 years old and very beautiful’

Britain with...

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01/04/2015 16:13:55


ABOVE - FRANCESCA MORRISON EQUINE PHOTOGRAPHY

NICOLA GILLESPIE CROLLA

Adam Kemp, Spencer Wilton and Jo Hamilton. ‘All my trainers have played important roles in my career. Spencer is my trainer for life. I just click with him and he polishes everything. He has taught me ringcraft. Again, he’s a hard trainer and isn’t full of compliments until I’ve done well but that’s what I seem to thrive on.’ In 2010 Nicola competed in her first grand prix on Don Christobal, something she is incredibly proud of. ‘I’m the only Scottish dressage rider to have competed at grand prix level. I’m amazed to have gone from unaffiliated prelims to grand prix within five years thanks to great trainers, great horses and a lot of hard work. ‘In 2012 with my small international tour horse Fearless I represented Britain at my first International at Hartpury International 3*. In 2014, again with Fearless, I represented Britain at my first international abroad at Barcelona 4*, I was delighted to be placed in the top ten. This meant I became a Group 1 rider.’ Nicola has many accolades to her name. She’s been Scottish champion four times, has won the advanced medium, the Prix St George’s twice and intermediare (intermediate). ‘I’ve also been Scottish Regional Champion four times and have competed at the National Championships five times and the winter Championships once, where I was eighth with Fearless.’ Nicola has a strong string of horses, including Fearless. ‘Fearless is my best horse – he’s 14 years old, is by Fabriano, and is very beautiful. He is loves to work and

tries his heart out for me – I’ve achieved more than I could ever dream with him. I also have Movimagic, a six-year-old novice; Rubistar a four-year-old that will soon be ready to compete; a two-year-old by Totilas that I’ll break next year; and I have a foal by Bretton Woods; plus my brood mare will be put in foal. Although dressage is becoming increasingly popular, Nicola would like to see more venues holding competitions. ‘We used to have so many fantastic venues in Scotland, but now it is just mainly SNEC and Morris and that’s not even every month. I think we took too many venues for granted and maybe a little too much complaining went on with some competitors. Also, there doesn’t seem to be consistency with riders competing and when numbers are too small the class can be cancelled as it’s not worth the cost for the venue. ‘There really are not enough advanced classes either. I do most of my advanced classes on the premier league circuit but we need more venues for producing the youngsters. It’s a shame as we do have the venues but we just need to be able to use them. People have to use them and not complain as much as in the past.’ With her sights firmly set to continue in dressage, Nicola is keen to continue training and competing. ‘My plans for 2015 are to keep learning, keep moving forward with the horses and keep them all sound, happy and healthy. I have owners and sponsors too that I need to keep healthy and happy,’ she laughs.

It’s all thanks to great trainers, great horses – and work Above: A picture of confidence from a great dressage pairing – ‘it may look easy but it is anything but...’

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HORSE HEROES

Once I started to compete at club events I realised what a fantastic sport it was

Image: Jock McFarlane and team training at home.

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taking the

Reins

AFTER A LIFETIME OF EVENTING, JOCK McFARLANE SWITCHED TO CARRIAGE DRIVING – WITH IMPRESSIVE RESULTS PHOTOGRAPH ANGUS BLACKBURN

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iving on a farm in Blairgowrie in the beautiful Perthshire countryside, equestrianism would seem a logical path to follow. And after a lifetime of eventing, Jock MacFarlane decided that carriage driving could be the best way to continue to compete with his beloved horses. ‘It seemed as if I had evented all my life and although I found it extremely rewarding and loved the variety it offered, I was looking for a new equine challenge,’ he says. ‘After celebrating my fiftieth birthday I thought it was the right time to take up this challenge.’ Jock enlisted his friend Carol Boswell to help him break his event horse to harness. ‘Once I started to compete at club events, I realised what a fantastic sport it was, and I haven’t looked back.’ Jock has since become so immersed in the sport that he has held the position of Chairman of British Carriagedriving and Treasurer of the Scottish Carriage Driving Association and Hopetoun Driving Trials. It took a while for Jock to get the hang of changing his riding skill set, having evented for such a long time. Eventually, however, he got the hang of the new discipline, and then began to excel. ‘Eventing is a lot to do with your bodily commands on a horse, whereas carriage driving has more to do with your voice and the reins. It was a challenge to adapt to this, but once I had done so I found the same rules apply. Carriage driving has a lot to do with balance, just like normal horseback riding does.’ It was important to Jock that he began his new journey into carriage driving with his ex-eventer as he trusted him to be able to take him through his first competitions safely. He believes that most horses could turn their hoof to working with a carriage. ‘Often some of the more highly strung animals won’t want to ever go near a carriage,’ he says, ‘but with the right handling almost any horse or pony can be broken to harness. It has a lot to do with a horse’s temperament and if you think they will take to the carriage or not.’ 105

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EQUESTRIAN ARTISTS

Williams focuses on the horse’s movement, noting the slightest ripple in muscle and capturing its essence

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mane

Attraction SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST INSPIRATIONAL EQUESTRIAN ARTISTS ARE WORKING IN SCOTLAND

Image: Huw Williams in his studio.

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EQUESTRIAN ARTISTS

Huw Williams Big and bold PERTHSHIRE artist Huw Williams uses powerful lighting and large-scale canvases to achieve his dramatic equine creations. The University of Newcastle graduate started out doing small pencil illustrations for magazines and newspapers, which proved to be the perfect preparation for the mammoth works he produces today. He pencils out the creature first, getting every detail correct before beginning to paint; then he focuses on the animal’s movement, noting the slightest ripple in muscle and capturing its essence through directional light. His work is sought after across the world, with multinational clients – such as the Meydan Dubai and Singapore’s China Horse Club – lining up to purchase it.

Greer Ralston A family affair GREER RALSTON, a renowned graduate of Glasgow School of Art who was awarded the prestigious Greenshields International Scholarship for Figurative Art, is both an equestrian and figurative painter who has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London. After many years working as a figurative artist, a decade ago she returned to equestrian painting with a tribute show in 2008 called ‘The Horse’, dedicated to her late father Gilbert Ralston. The Ralston family has had a generations-long association with breeding and riding horses, with many of Greer’s paintings incorporating her passion for the figure and her lifelong love of animals. A number of her paintings feature horses owned by the family. The multi-award-winning artist’s work has been bought by several well-known sports personalities and entrepreneurs, and she was commissioned by BSJA Scotland to paint Scott Brash’s Olympic horses. Greer also uses her work to raise funds for charities, in particular Riding for the Disabled. (An exhibition visitor admires Greer’s work). 108

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EQUESTRIAN ARTISTS

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Alasdair Banks Artist in residence TRAINED at Edinburgh College of Art, Alasdair Banks staged his first horse-based exhibition at Glasgow’s Compass Gallery. Then, starting out with a small van full of pictures, he travelled to events like the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Badminton and Hickstead. Over the next few years came a series of high-profile residences – including Glorious Goodwood, Olympia Showjumping, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Cheltenham Festival – which confirmed his position as a major equestrian artist whose uniquely expressive style captures the colour and drama of the racecourse. His work, from small ink studies to a huge 3m x 6m diptych, features in prominent collections around the world.

Angela Davidson No Turning Back WORKING out of the rural Aberdeenshire village of Insch, self-taught artist Angela Davidson produces equine-themed pastel works using her pastel stick and her fingers, while most of her acrylic work is done using a palette knife. Her trademark is the all-black background (shown left on Star Dancer) which features on her most famous work No Turning Back, a print that features her son Lawrie and a Clydesdale horse called Jake. By raffling the original artwork of No Turning Back Davidson earned £10,000 for charity, and each subsequent print sold raises more money for sick kids. 111

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EMPORIUM

Horsecrocz An inexpensive solution for protection of hoof dressings from wear and tear. Robust, flexible and reusable. Three sizes fit most equines. Ask your local retailer or visit www.horsecrocz.co.uk

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Toggi Clementine three-quarter-length riding jacket This gorgeous new summer riding jacket is waterproof and breathable, incorporating a twoway front zip and extra-wide zip-up side vents for exceptional freedom of movement and an easy fit over the saddle. Available in black in sizes eight to 20 and priced from £125. Available from leading country and equestrian retailers nationwide. Tel: 01132 707000, www.toggi.com

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Duralock Maintenance-free PVCu sports and equestrian fencing systems, including post and rail crowd barriers, as pictured, from £20 per metre. Supplied to leading sports facilities and racecourses, and approved by racing authorities and associations worldwide. Tel: 01608 678244, www.duralock.com

Ariat Real Riding Jeans Dubarry Galway boots Available in four colours. £299 from A Hume Country Clothing, 46 The Square, Kelso. Tel: 01573 224620, www.ahume.co.uk

The perfect blend of fashion and functionality. £79.99. Tel: 0845 600 3209, www.ariat.com

Perilla everyday alpaca socks £12.50 per pair, available in a range of shades. Tel: 01886 853615, www.perilla.co.uk

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ADVERTORIAL

Champion riding hats keeping ahead

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ou might have heard that the popular BSEN 1384 riding hat standard has been withdrawn by the governing body in charge of standard regulation. Leading safety expert Champion gives an insight into what this means for

Above left: Champion’s iconic Champion Ventair Helmet, the helmet of choice for many of the world’s leading jockeys and event riders. Above right: Champion Evolution Pro, one of Champion’s latest designs certified to PAS015.

you. First and foremost, it’s important to know that if you have a hat certified to BSEN 1384, it is still safe. BSEN 1384 hats offer excellent protection and have lessened injuries and saved countless lives over many years. Hats of this standard can still be worn in competition for the whole of 2015 and out of competition in 2016 and beyond (for as long as your hat remains in good condition). If you need to purchase a new hat this year and ride purely for pleasure with no desire to compete under rules, you can choose from any of the wide range of hats or helmets available on the market today, including those certified to BSEN 1384. If you do compete, we recommend that when you are buying a new hat for competition, buy one certified to PAS015 as these hats can be worn in competition going forward into 2016. Champion has been a driving force in the design and development of protective riding wear for nearly four decades. Based in the heart of Cardiff, Champion was the first brand to manufacture riding hats and helmets to the British standard PAS015 over 20 years ago and the brand is chosen and trusted by riders of all levels and ambitions, from Olympians to pleasure riders.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO FIND A LOCAL STOCKIST: Tel: 0113 270 7000 Email: info@fbi-ltd.co.uk www.championhats.co.uk

Trust Kilgraston School

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ome to Scotland’s only school equestrian centre, Kilgraston, in Perthshire, makes the most of its idyllic 54-acre campus. Pupils at the all-girls’ school can not only ride daily and work toward pony club badges, but also conduct science experiments in the burn, collect apples from the orchard, and complete cross-country runs around the school’s woodland. The outdoor life certainly isn’t pursued at the expense of academic rigours, though; Kilgraston was recently chosen as the Sunday Times Scottish Independent School of the Year. The judges commended the day and boarding school for its ‘stunning’ exam results, as well as its ‘outstanding modern facilities’ and ‘supportive and caring learning environment’. They praised the range of opportunities for girls to develop leadership skills, and to ‘succeed in all areas of life’. Inspired by dynamic teaching, a caring pastoral team, and the family atmosphere, Kilgraston’s girls thrive. Sixth-formers have recently gone on to universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Edinburgh, as well as taking up opportunities such as Rolls Royce’s prestigious apprenticeship scheme. Right from the nursery years, children benefit from facilities including a 25-metre swimming pool, equestrian centre and brand new science laboratories, not to mention acres of woodland with daily opportunities for exploration and discovery. Recently chosen as one

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Pictured: Grace Reilly riding in the Kilgraston Scottish Schools Equestrian Championships at Gleneagles in April 2014.

www.sinclairphotography.co.uk

of the ‘best of the best’ schools for ‘horsey types’ by The Week magazine, Kilgraston hosts the annual Scottish Schools Championships at Gleneagles, runs its own pony club, and boasts Scotland’s first female professional jockey, Lucy Alexander, among its alumni.

ADMISSIONS AND ENQUIRIES: Mrs Barbara McGarva Tel: 01738 812257 Email: admissions@kilgraston.com www.kilgraston.com

01/04/2015 18:27:56


Good breeding

Great Scot!

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Picture: Caroline Ironside

highly regarded UK sport horse breeding establishment, breeding mainly KWPN and Hanoverian dressage, showjumping and eventing horses, MFS Studfarm has an incredible reputation both in the UK and world-wide with several offspring flying its flag in Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, USA, Canada and the UAE. They stand two stallions, the Approved Hanoverian Don Aqui (Don Bosco x Garduelan II) whose offspring are doing well at home and internationally in showjumping and eventing; and the young Holstein MFS Cayden HH (Contender x Caretino) which recently won the British Dressage Regional Championship in the Novice Open Freestyle with a score over 75%. They bred the multiple Regional and National British Dressage Champion, MFS Fancyman, ridden and owned by Debbie Murray (pictured) and the multiple Regional British Dressage Champion, MFS Caliana, ridden and owned by Jennifer Johnston.

CONTACT: Mrs Caroline Ironside. Tel: 01261 851879 or 07917 775035 Email: mail@morayfirthstud.co.uk www.morayfirthstud.co.uk

It’s safety first

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ith space at a premium, where can you safely and securely store your tack, quad bike, trailer, tools and equipment? Advanced Roller Doors was established in 1997 to produce and fit quality roller shutter doors, as well as service and repair clients’ existing shutter doors. Whether the task is repurposing an existing building, upgrading facilities or buying a new building, Advanced Roller Doors understands that access and security

are paramount. Investing in a security roller shutter door brings peace of mind that everything possible has been done to secure valuables. The range offered is suitable for a many openings and budgets. Free survey and no-obligation quotes are part of the service – so for roller shutters, steel door sets, insulated doors, fire rated shutters, PVC strip curtains, hi-speed climate control doors, garage shutters or service and repair.

CONTACT: Advanced Roller Doors. Tel: 01355 239502 www.advancedrollerdoors.com

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orays in to the city needn’t mean that all memories of the country must be left at the periphery of the motorway. Tweed is now indisputably stylish, the country is fashionable, and thanks to companies like Great Scot, ladies can look sharp yet traditional at the same time. A well-cut white shirt and a fitted waistcoat looks good on absolutely everyone. Great Scot has selected this Riever Waistcoat for maximum impact with the least amount of effort. Wear it with a ruffled shirt underneath for extra impact and it will take you from point-to-point to centre of attention with ease.

CONTACT: Great Scot (Scotland) Ltd. Tel: 0845 116 6447 www.greatscotscotland.com 115

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SALTIRE

STABLES

Visit our website: www.saltirestables.co.uk For an extensive picture gallery, specifications and price list. Stable Developments · Canadian Barns · Bespoke Projects

Equine Studies, Horse Care and Forgework Courses at Scotland’s Rural College SRUC offers Higher National (HND/HNC) courses and a range of National Certificate and vocational study opportunities at our campus locations across Scotland. Courses include:

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• Certificate Forgework

Visit: www.sruc.ac.uk/education or call us on 0800 269 453. SRUC runs Open Days at each of its campuses regularly – find out more at www.sruc.ac.uk/opendays

STRATHEARN E VENTING Scotlands Premier Equestrian Facility Experienced family establishment near Perth offering a full range of services and facilities from schooling and livery to competition preparation specialising in eventing and show production. Sarah Houlden (nee England) BSc Hons and BE Accredited Coach. Member of five British event teams and producer of county level winning working hunters and ponies. Sarah’s family support team include parents Hazel and Howard England, husband Alastair and sons James and Rory. Sarah one of the leading coaches in her field advises and competes in dressage, showjumping and cross country and show production with the liveries getting extensive use of the facilities. Hazel’s success as a breeder and producer of event and show horses and ponies has the knowledge and experience of horse care and management. The cross country is Scotland’s most extensive training course and set within 60 acres of permanent pasture & woodland suits all abilities for hire and tuition and hunter trials. A new full set of show jumps and dressage arena on grass and use of floodlight arena, covered Monarch horse walker and lunge pen are all part of the unique features that Strathearn Eventing has to offer. Horses and ponies taken for schooling and recuperation from injuries or box rest. “The yard is absolutely the best and the care given to horses is beyond criticism and I can think of no better place for a horse to live. They have a national and International reputation for excellence in their riding and in their facility.” Professor Derek C Knottenbelt OBE, BVM&S,DVMS, DipECEIM,MRCVS

Phone: 01738 840263 Email: enquiries@strathearneventing.co.uk www.strathearneventing.co.uk

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BOOK REVIEWS

On the shelf NEED SOME LIGHT READING FOR THOSE LONGER

EVENINGS WHEN THE RIDING DAY IS DONE? HERE ARE SOME OF THE LATEST EQUESTRIAN TITLES...6 BY SOPHIE ARNOT

The Kelpies By Andy Scott Freight Books, hardback £25. This is a stunning hardback record of the creation of the 300-ton iconic sculpture, The Kelpies. A staple for any Scottish coffee table, this insightful look into the construction of one of the most internationally recognisable pieces of sculpture in Scotland is packed full of beautiful photography, and a behind-the-scenes look at artist Andy Scott and the processes he went through making these mythical, 98-foot beasties.

5

3 5

2 Understanding the Horse’s Feet By John Stewart Crowood Press, hardback £25

FOCUSED Andrew Nicholson My Life in Pictures

Lungeing, Long-Reining and In-Hand Schooling.

Racing Post, paperback £20

By Caire Lilley J.A.Allen, hardback £19.99

An inspiring look into the life of top event rider Andrew Nicholson – following his career from a rural start on a dairy farm in New Zealand to competing in six Olympic Games and six world championships. It pays particular attention to the buying, acquiring, selling and training of the top horses that got him there. A truly motivational look at the sometimes not-so-glamorous world of eventing, and the sheer hard work that it takes to make it big – the perfect gift for any aspiring eventer.

Learn to develop your horse’s confidence – and your own – through this illustrated guide to the art of training horses from the ground. This book will walk you through the benefits and techniques of lungeing and longreining your horse, improving strength, suppleness and quality of movement. A perfect introduction for the beginner, it covers all areas from basic equipment and schooling to the more advanced such as jumping on rein, and schooling with a rider.

‘Understanding the Horse’s Feet’ gives a detailed look in to the structure and function of your horse’s hooves. Perfect for those looking to broaden their knowledge of problems that can develop in their horse’s feet if unnoticed. Don’t rely solely on your farrier – spot and correct potential issues with the help of this detailed and easy to understand guide.

Perfect Mind: Perfect Ride By Inga Wolframm Kenilworth Press, paperback £16.95

4

Change the way you ride by changing the way you think. ‘Perfect Mind: Perfect Ride’ – the psychology for successful riding – aims to change the way a rider thinks, stressing that the key to achieving a top performance is in the right mindset. A helpful guide to improving your attitude and mental skill, ridding yourself of any negative feelings or emotions you may have, helping you and your horse to give your best.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Events

AN ACTION PACKED CALENDAR IS SET TO DELIGHT BOTH COMPETITORS AND SPECTATORS THIS YEAR

FEI European Eventing Championships 2015 10-13 September, Blair Castle Blair Castle is renowned as a world-class host for eventing and the spectacular estate will provide the perfect venue for the action. This is the first time that a European Championships has come to Scotland and we are all intrigued to see which country will come out on top. Great Britain is sure to pull out all the stops to regain the team title that it held through a remarkable eight consecutive European Championships from 1995-2009. The event showcases some of the best showing classes and hotly contested show jumping classes – if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to secure your tickets and accommodation for the weekend of 10-13 September 2015. For more details, as well as up to date news and blogs from the team at Blair Castle 2015, visit www.blair2015.com

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APRIL

Ladies Day

Showing 24/04 Dundonald Show, Ayrshire

14 May, Perth Racecourse, Scone www.perth-races.co.uk

Eventing 26/04 BE Burgie, Moray Showjumping 25-26/04 Inchcoonans, Perthshire 26/04Muirmill EC, Ayrshire

Grab your hat for the ladies’ social event of the year. Perth Racecourse Summer Ladies Day in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer is set to be bigger than ever before as the team at Scotland’s most northerly course aim to beat the £20,000 fundraising total from 2014. The day’s action on the track will see seven jump races, while there are various VIP packages on offer on the day and as ever, the Best Dressed Lady is awarded a top prize of £1,000 and the crowds will be scouted for the Best Hat. The main VIP marquee boasts live music, handsome butlers and unrivalled views of the finish line. All of this will, of course, be washed down with Pimms, Prosecco and Champagne on what is sure to be a great day out at Perth Racecourse.

Dressage 24-26/04 British Dressage Morris EC, Ayrshire 25/04 British Dressage Ladyleys, Aberdeen Other 22-24/04 Racing, Perth 25/04 Point-to-point - Fife, Balcormo Mains

MAY

Showing 03/05 Brechin Castle Spring Show, Angus 08-09/05 Ayr Show, Ayrshire 23/05 Fife Show Native breeds 30/05 Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group Spring Show Eventing 15-17/05 BE Floors Castle, Borders Showjumping 03/05 Strathallan Castle, Perthshire 23/05 Fife Show Dressage 03/05 British Dressage, Ian Stark EC, Borders

The Royal Highland Show 18-21 June, Ingliston, Edinburgh www.royalhighlandshow.org The Royal Highland Show showcases the very best of farming, food and rural life in Scotland. It’s an important date on the Scottish equestrian calendar with classes for driving, heavy horses, light horses, showing in hand and under saddle and of course the big prize for showjumping. There truly are horses of all shapes and sizes to enjoy over the four days. There are endless other attractions, including some of the biggest tractors in the world and over 5,000 cows, sheep, hens and goats. Scotland’s Larder Live! will feature over 100 producers offering a veritable harvest of the best Scottish food and drink. Enjoy birds of prey and gundog displays, along with a host of hands on activities.

BE Hendersyde Park 8-9 August, Kelso www.hendersydepark.com Hendersyde Park is situated in the Scottish Borders beside the Tweed. The event comprises three Scottish Championships over the weekend of 8 and 9 August. The cross-country courses are run over old park turf with a wide variety of fences laid out by internationally acclaimed course designer David Evans. These include many of his trademark features of snails, elephants, dragonflies and in our case an otter and a scottie dog. A warm welcome awaits any visitors who wish to partake of beautiful scenery, excellent catering outlets and exciting sport.

Other 16-17/05 Scottish Carriage Driving Association, Auchlishie, Angus

JUNE

Showing 06/06 – Angus Show, Brechin 13/06 Stirling Show 27/06 – Haddington Show, East Fortune Airfield Native breeds 13/06 – NPS Scotland Summer Show, Strathallan Castle, Perthshire Eventing 25-28/06 BE Hopetoun International, Edinburgh Showjumping 14/06 Dark Deer Croft, Inverness Dressage 20/06 British Dressage Fountain, Aberdeen 27/06 British Dressage - SNEC, West Lothian Other 04/06 Racing, Hamilton Park 06/06 Scottish Carriage Driving Association, Cothal, Aberdeen 22/06 BHS Scotland - Equine first aid course refresher, Ross-shire Novar, Highland 28/06 Scottish Endurance - ride, Felton, Lothian 29/06 Racing, Musselburgh 30/06 Racing, Hamilton Park

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JULY

Doune and Dunblane Show

Showing 04/07 Fettercairn Show, Aberdeenshire 21/07 Scottish Horse Show, Ingliston, Edinburgh 24-25/07 Border Union Show, Kelso 31/07-01/08 Perth Show

4 July, Keir Mains, Dunblane www.douneanddunblane show.co.uk The Doune and Dunblane Agricultural Society host their annual Show on the first Saturday of July each year. This is a great day out for all the family. There are classes for Scottish native breeds including Clydesdales, Highland ponies and Shetland ponies as well as a variety of light horse and pony classes including driving. The show celebrates the latest in farming ways as well as running competitions for livestock and vintage tractors. This year children under 16 will go free with a paying adult and parking is free.

Native breeds 12/07 Highland Pony Breed Show, Brechin 19/07 Kittochside Heavy Horse Show, East Kilbride Eventing 18-19/07 BE Eglinton, Ayrshire 25-26/07 BE Central Scotland, Dalkeith, Edinburgh Showjumping 17-19/07 Summer Extravaganza, Royal Highland Showground Dressage 31/07-02/08 Scottish Regionals, The Cabin EC, Aberdeen Other 12/07 Scottish Endurance Ride, Lammermuir Hills, Borders 20/07 Racing, Ayr

AUGUST

Showing 02-03/08 Turriff Show 08/08 Orkney Show Native breeds 16/08 Shetland pony Viking Show, Shetland

BHS Scotland Sponsored Ride

Eventing 08-09/08 BE Hendersyde Park, Borders

7 June, Blair Castle www.bhsscotland.org.uk

Showjumping 01-04/08 Scottish Home Pony International, Morris EC

If you fancy following in the footsteps of European Championship riders, BHS Scotland and Atholl Estates have come together to offer a chance to every rider to explore the stunning location of the 2015 European Championships by organising a sponsored ride on Sunday 7 June 2015. Enjoy a wonderful day of riding in the beautiful Atholl Estates and help us celebrate an exciting year for Scotland. There are three way-marked rides on offer, incorporating woodland, river and heather-clad hill in the footsteps of the Earls and Dukes of Atholl. Entries: £30 per rider to be paid on booking, plus a minimum £30 in sponsorship to be paid on the day (all ages welcome). All entries must be received by Friday 29 May. www.bhsscotland.org.uk or email bhsscotland@bhs.org.uk

Dressage 22-23/08 Scottish Petplan Area Festival - Gordon Dressage Group, Aberdeen

Scottish Endurance Championships 7-9 August, Perth Racecourse www.scottishendurance.com This year’s championships will be based at Perth Racecourse and held on 7, 8 & 9 August. While there are classes for both members and non-members, the flagship class is the two-day 160kms (80kms per day) which produces this year’s Scottish Endurance Champion. Perth Racecourse offers stabling, camping and corralling, as well as jockey accommodation and on-site catering. The routes are varied, but the social aspect forms a major part of the weekend.

Other 01-02/08 Scottish Carriage Driving Association, Dumfries

SEPTEMBER

Showing 19/09 BSPS Finale Show, Morris EC, Ayrshire Native breeds 06/09 Central Scotland Highland Pony Club Summer Show, Strathallan Estate, Perthshire Eventing 05/09 BE Aswanley, Aberdeenshire Showjumping 06/09 Dark Deer Croft, Inverness Dressage 05/09 British Dressage Lochside Arena, Isle of Lewis 26/09 Ian Stark EC, Borders Other 05-06/09 – Mounted Games Association Scotland - home international competition, Vogie, Midlothian 12/09 Racing, Musselburgh

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UPCOMING EVENTS OCTOBER

Showing 03-04/10 Grand Slam, Ingliston EC, Renfrewshire Native breeds 02/10 Shetland sale show, Shetland 31/10 Lanark Foal Show Eventing 03-04/10 BE Eden Valley, Cumbria Dressage 10-11/10 British Dressage Scottish Championships, Morris EC, Ayrshire 24-25/10 Scottish Petplan Area Festival, SNEC, West Lothian Other 04/10 Racing, Kelso 18/10 Scottish Carriage Driving 31/10 Racing, Ayr

NOVEMBER

Showing/ Native breeds 07/11 North of Fife Foal Show 21/11 Clydesdale and native pony winter fair, Lanark

Fife Hunt Pony Club One Day Event 7 June, Auchlishie branches.pcuk.org/fife Fife Hunt Pony Club are once again holding their ODE at Auchlishie Eventing on Sunday 7 June. Open to all (not just Pony Club members), there will be classes with heights ranging from 80cm to 1.10m. It is a fantastic opportunity for those who would like to experience an event around a BE course. It is especially relevant to those Pony Club members who are striving to be picked for Area Interbranch Teams to show their skills. The event incorporates the Likit Pony Club Open Eventing League and the Pony Club Young Event Horse Series, as well as The South Cup, which is awarded to the club with the best three scores overall.

Strathearn Eventing Hunter Trials 25 May, Hilton House, Muirton www.strathearneventing.co.uk Strathearn Eventing is located in the beautiful Strathearn Valley between Perth and Crieff. The stunning Ochil Hills to the south and views looking west towards Ben Vorlich give one of the finest backdrops in central Scotland. Conveniently situated just ten minutes from Perth or one hour from Edinburgh and Glasgow, this family-run business hosts a plethora of events throughout the year. For more information on what’s coming up, and how to get involved, visit their website.

Dressage 07/11 British Dressage, Brahan, Ross-shire 08/11 British Dressage, Greenfield of Avondale, Lanarkshire 08/11 British Dressage, Ian Stark EC, Borders 14/11 British Dressage, Inchcoonans, Perthshire 14-15/11 British Dressage, Morris EC, Ayrshire 14-15/11 British Dressage, Gordon Dressage Group, Aberdeen 21/11 British Dressage, Ladyleys, Aberdeen 21-22/11 British Dressage, SNEC, West Lothian 28/11 British Dressage, Fountain, Aberdeen Other 05-06/11 Racing, Musselburgh 10/11BHS Scotland - equine first aid course refresher, Aberdeen 11-12/11 – BHS Scotland initial equine first aid course, Aberdeen 15/11 Scottish Endurance - ride, Calley Woods, Dumfries 27/11Racing, Musselburgh

DECEMBER

Showing/ Native breeds 12/12 Grampian Foal Show, Inverurie Other 06/12 Racing, Kelso 07/12 BHS Scotland - equine first aid course refresher, Auchterader 07/12 Racing, Musselburgh 08-09/12 BHS Scotland initial equine first aid course, Auchterader 20/12 Scottish Endurance - ride, Earshaig Tinsel ride, Dumfries

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SECTION SOCIAL SCENE

The Berwickshire Hunt Ball DUNS CASTLE, BORDERS 01 Annie Galbraith, Ryan Mania 02 Wendy Turnbull, Michael Arnott, Amy Brown 03 Sandy Pate, Cathy Laycock 04 Niall Graham-Campbell, Aline and Alexander Hay, Jane GrahamCampbell 05 Tatiana Bell, Thomas Thornton, Charles LongstaffKemsley, Susannah Bray, Tessa Pereira 06 Patricia Glennie, Gav Don, Bernadet Callander 07 Simon and Deb Rutherford, David and Sarah Williams 08 Imy Green, Thor Bjorn, Haynes Savannah-Price, Mungo Kilgour, Anna Caseldine 09 Gina Walker, Stuart Ashton, Lindsay McCulloch 10 Alice Stannard, Oliver Thyne, Gill Harper, Katie Dalrymple-Hamilton 11 Leonor De Escoriaza, Joanna CummingBruce, Nicholas Cumming-Bruce, Alice Adamson, Flora Nichol 12 Kevin Aitchison, Scott Lindsay, Richard Telford, Alana Wilson 13 Algy Trotter, Emma Pate, Alexandra Pate, Grace Auld

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SOCIAL SCENE

horsescotland Awards 2015 WESTERWOOD HOTEL, CUMBERNAULD 01 Susie Elliot, Jenny Leggate, David and Jane Reid 02 George Glen, Valerie Bell, Gillian Wade, Michael Ventisei 03 Kirsteen Watson, Fiona Rawson 04 Jenny King, Holly Stevens, Rosie Reid 05 Jenni Cammidge, Sarah Johnston, Jane Gilchrist 06 Robyn Smith, Val McCartney, Gail Smith, Morgan McCartney 07 Steph O’Neil, Wills Oakden 08 Annabelle McNaughton, John Anderson, Kate Stephen 09 Stephen MacGregor, Peter Rentoul, Charlie McKinna 10 Robert Cannney, Fran Healy, Stewart Gardyne, Brian Johnstone 11 Jennifer Rentoul, Pat Bell, Caroline Vance, Susan Lawson 12 Linda Johnstone, Michelle Canney, Dawn Harrison, Gail Healy, Win Harrison, Sarah Dalrymple 13 Ronnie and Loraine Young, Matthew and Helene Mauchlen, Sophie and Tim Arnold

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THE LAST WORD

the right to

Roam

TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ‘EQUINE ACCESS ALL AREAS’ ENSHRINED IN LAW, YOU NEED TO KNOW THE LEGISLATION BY MORAG BOOTLAND PHOTOGRAPH ANGUS BLACKBURN

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he Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, or as it’s more commonly referred to ‘The Right to Roam’, gives riders the right to access most land in Scotland. However, this moniker may be misleading and has in its time caused issues for riders and landowners alike. Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, horse-riders and carriage-drivers enjoy a right of access to most land in Scotland, provided that they behave responsibly. Land managers in turn are obliged to respect equestrian access rights and take proper account of the right of responsible access in managing their land. However, although this sounds fairly straightforward, there are many exceptions, conditions and grey areas to be taken into account. To assume that riders have a totally unfettered right to roam would be a mistake. The Scottish Outdoor Access Code offers guidance on what can be considered responsible behaviour. Riders’ responsibilities fall under the headings of responsibility to land owners, the public and the environment. These include being considerate of land management, livestock and ground conditions. Riders shouldn’t jump hedges, fences or gates without prior permission and should leave their dogs at home. When considering fellow countryside users it is essential to be aware, polite and considerate of people who may be wary of horses. The right of access does not cover land on which land management is underway. If ploughing, planting, timber operations, moving animals, shooting, fencing or dredging are taking place, the area is out of bounds. On the flipside, landowners and farmers also have certain obligations to enable access to their land. Gates should not be padlocked and, if they are, an alternative means of access should be provided. New styles of gate, which enable riders and walkers to access land but prevent illegal vehicular access, have proved successful in allowing riders to enjoy land without motorcycles or 4WD vehicles, which can cause major damage, intruding. Horse stiles are simply sleepers placed in a gateway, allowing horses to step over. Similarly, self-closing bridle gates with stock-proof catches ensure access while eliminating the risk of livestock straying. These gates are particularly popular with farmers who can fit a quad bike through the bridle gate and avoid opening the

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Landowners and farmers are obliged to enable access to their land to horse riders

padlocked main gate. This legislation is upheld by a network of access officers working for every council in Scotland. But despite the obvious manpower put into upholding the act, very few access cases have ever actually made it as far as the courtroom. The British Horse Society considers it one of its key aims to uphold and improve equestrian access in Scotland. In 2013 they submitted evidence gathered through consultation with horsescotland and The Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland to the Land Reform Review Group. This outlined how many riders feel that ‘relatively little has changed on the ground’ since the introduction of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act and that their access to land is often restricted by physical obstructions, aggressive behaviour and inappropriate signage discouraging riders. The society’s main concern when it comes to reduced access to the countryside is that riders are forced on to public roads. Their research shows that there are ‘on average eight horse-related incidents on British roads each day’. The key to success seems to lie in communication between riders and landowners. But for now the two groups seem to remain at cross purposes.

01/04/2015 09:17:39


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