It’s showtime

Today saw the return of the popular Hunter and Highland Pony shows which attracted good crowds in the Tummel, Tulloch, Garry and Banvie arenas.

Among the day’s Highland Pony winners were Ruth Darling’s stunning working stallion Isleman of Mendick, bred by J&K Dykes by Moss-side Iain Mor, who was crowned Highland Pony In-hand Champion. The 11-year-old, who also competes in dressage at Advanced Medium level, adds this title to the HOYS Qualifier title he won at Blair Castle last year.

Last year’s Novice Ridden Champions, Carmen Durick and Strathmore Imperial Guard went one better this year winning both the Open Ridden Championship and claiming the Overall Supreme Championship.

“He’s a lovely, free-moving pony who gave me a lovely ride,” commented judge Jo Jack. “He hasn’t put a foot wrong”.

Multiple Blair winner over the years, Harris of Mendick, under Brian Williams, was named Reserve Overall Champion. This was a fitting farewell to Blair for the stallion who will now retire to stud duties.

In the Hunter classes, it was a case of third time lucky for Fiona Menzies, a full-time cook in private houses, and her 12-year-old gelding, Bowland Winner who took both The Crowers Garden Lightweight Ridden Hunter class and the overall Ridden Hunter Championship. The pair has been Reserve Champions here for the last two years.

“Fiona gave him a superb ride,” commented Judge Maryann Casey. “He’s a lovely old-fashioned type and has behaved impeccably.”

Blair Castle stalwart Kirsty Aird, who had numerous rides across all the showing classes, started off her 2023 show in winning style when she rode Laura MaCallum’s Tinnakill Kizzy to victory in the hotly contested Nichola Ritchie Novice Working Hunter class.

Kirsty found Kizzy for Laura in Ireland last year when she was over there teaching a clinic:

“She’s super sassy and we go on some great adventures together,” said a delighted Laura after Kirsty and Kizzy’s win. This is her first proper Working Hunter class and I’m so proud of her – I just like her to be happy, winning is an added bonus!”

However, it was Gillian Anderson and her own JJ’s Prince Chaccomo who dominated the other Working Hunter classes, winning both the HOYS Qualifier, the BHS Scotland Working Hunter Final and, unsurprisingly, the Blair Castle Working Hunter Championship. The judges commented
“He’s a lovely, clean jumper, a polite ride and a good forward-going stamp of a horse.”

The Coloured Horse Championship went the way of recently qualified Veterinary Physio Zoe Clarke, originally from Pitlochry, and her 11-year-old gelding Marley.

“This is our first show together under saddle and he’s actually just come back from being on loan while I away at university in Essex,” said Zoe, “so winning here today means a great deal.”

Top results are available on this website

Photo: Strathmore Imperial Guard ridden by Carmen Durick