Stable Minded

Vicky Dewar has been Stable Manager here for 13 years. We caught up with her to find out more about what this role actually involves….

“Essentially my team and I are the ‘go-to girls’ and first point of contact for questions from any Horse Trials competitors who are stabling overnight,” explained Vicky.

A Chartered Accountant by trade, Vicky’s work at Blair starts the week before the competition when she receives a list of all entries and competitors’ stabling requests. She then works her magic via a very large spreadsheet in an attempt to accommodate them. This year she is coordinating the on-site stabling for 260 horses so this is no mean feat.

“Our busiest day is Wednesday,” she continued. “We have to coordinate the first Horse Inspection with people still arriving and needing welcome packs. Arrivals are the biggest challenge, particularly if the weather is bad or people have been driving through the night as riders and grooms are often then tired and not in the best of moods. We have to really try and put ourselves in their shoes and do our best to keep them calm and happy – there is a definite co-relation between peoples’ mood and the weather!”

Vicky and her team coordinate lorry parking, power hook ups and also work closely with the on-site veterinary team collating horse passports and continually monitoring and attending to the needs of both riders and their equine partners.

“We get asked everything and anything,” said Vicky, “particularly by people competing at Blair for the first time. They are often really nervous and understandably don’t know how things work here so we are on hand to help them out with everything from hooking up to electricity, sourcing extra bedding or feed, arranging for the farrier or simply pointing them in the right direction of the nearest shops.”

It goes without saying that Vicky has also learnt to expect the unexpected and is on call 24/7 for the duration of the competition.

“I’ve had some out of the ordinary requests from riders, such as where they can fill up their hot tub and where they can find wood for their fire pit,” she continued. “Clearly the fire pit wasn’t a safe option in a stable area so I had to politely ask them to extinguish said fire! I’ve also been spotted running around in my onesie and wellies at 4am helping Security to catch a loose horse!”