Sept 7th '03
It was an incredibly lucky year with the in foal mares as they all produced fillies, Succoth Sarah, Alick's permanent wife was the last to produce and her daughter was particularly welcome as Sarah lost her foal last year due to it being malpresented and was finally born dead despite Philip Glyn's expertise at sorting it out but at the time it was more important that Sarah was alright. The other mares, Fleetmead Sanday, Succoth Holly and Swona of Carrick all had foals by Ronay and I was particularly thrilled that Swona's was a mouse dun girl as I hope she'll keep the Carrick blood lines going in the future, (Ronay is of similar breeding being by Carrick Raasay). Sadly two of the foals will have to be sold at weaning as I can't keep them all and should be suitable either for breeding or mature into top performance ponies.
Ensay has had a busy year doing dressage and could either be really good or totally horrid as sometimes she allowed her sense of humour to get the better of her, she's had some success too in the showring but found the standing around something of a bore! The chief thing though is that she's stayed sound after all her early stifle problems but I think the chief secret of her success is to stop her getting fat. She was one of the ponies we took to the Malvern Highland pony show and I had great hopes that she'd do well in her dressage class but despite all our efforts in which I deliberately missed one of her show classes and being in a queue for the dressage for some while, in desperation I took her into the Novice ridden having been assured the dressage would still be going on when I got back only to find that the class had closed and after a long morning's judging the judge had diappeared for a hard earned lunch so it was not a good outing for Ensay.
Sue Taylor who also went, took Absol Ruathair and had a similar fate finally just managed to do her dressage test only to find despite the fact she was sitting on the pony and ready that she too had missed her ridden class. It seems that one of the biggest problems at the show was that it was impossible to hear the loudspeaker unless you were in the vicinity of the main ring. Holly fared a little better and managed to do her dressage test which she was placed in, was 4th in a good ridden class and then equal 1st in the side-saddle, an unusual result but perhaps Caroline Nelson who was judging felt sorry for the competitors sweltering in their habits and as there were only two forward did not like to put one down!!
Kitty Lucas's Ceilidh was the one that really upheld us as at 19 he was making his last appearance at Malvern. He did two classes with Kitty's granddaughter Sophie and was placed and then despite the fact he hated the very hard ground did an incredible test to win the open dressage scoring mostly 9s, a great way to retire from the Malvern show, having first competed at it when he was 5 with Kitty riding him when he won his novice class and then over the years he did consistently well being ridden champion and winning or being highly placed in the dressage at every show, it says a lot for the breed that he could produce almost the best test he has ever done when many horses would have retired from active competition by now. As he still enjoys going out he will still compete locally but the emphasis being very much to enjoy ourselves and as the nights draw in he can dream in his stable at night of the times when he was a big winner at the county shows and qualified for Olympia twice, not bad for a home bred 13.2 pony.
Succoth Holly has had a good year too and was placed again at the Hickstead Derby Meeting and has concentrated mostly on musical dressage which we both enjoy, she goes exceptionally well side saddle and as well as dressage to music in costume did the Concours D'Elegance class at the Edenbridge and Oxted Show which was great fun, ( she always likes going in the main ring at the bigger shows.
She and Ceilidh have represented Ardingly Riding Club in Pairs Dressage classes both with and without music and have had a lot of success and recently qualified for the London and S.E. Dressage Championships, at the moment she's working hard practising for our quadrille team with the Selection Trial being at Addington on Oct 11th, hopefully you'll see photos of some of these activities in the photo gallery.
The other big excitement was that having been left a small legacy I decided to spend it rather than pay some bills and after some sleepless nights wondering if I was being stupid managed to purchase Brenda Birmingham's Stocks Sorcha. I particularly wanted her as she was out of Swona of Carrick by Seargant Major of Whitefield who is also Holly's father. Brenda emailed me a photo of her and it was love at first sight as despite the fact she is black her head is a very similar shape to Holly's, but I did not want Brenda to know that in case she put the price out of my reach!. She was not very popular with Gillie's transport when she arrived as she had taken a very long time to come out of the lorry the night before when she was stabled en route on her journey south.
Since her arrival I have done some horsebox practice and she now goes in and out quite happily and has been to one show just for the ride and was quite content munching her hay whilst the other pony in the lorry went off and competed so that is one hurdle safely crossed. I had intended to start breaking her soon after she arrived but put it off as it was right in the middle of our heat wave and as she is a very forward thinking good moving pony I didn't want to put her off before we started but now the shows are easing off I shall start in earnest soon. Provided I do the job properly I think she could be another special pony although some of the southern judges may not know what breed she is as many seem to think a highland should be fat, slow moving and grey! This is not true of course of the knowledgeable ones .
DON'T FORGET IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A PONY I HAVE A NUMBER OF BOTH PURE AND PARTBRED PONIES FOR SALE, MOSTLY FILLIES AND ALL BRED TO PERFORM, AGES FROM WEANLINGS TO FOUR YEARS, MOSTLY MOUSE OR YELLOW DUN. ALSO SUITABLE FOR BREEDING AND RELATED TO CAMERON, JURA OF WHITEFIELD ETC. PRICES ARE NEGOTIABLE AS I AM OVERSTOCKED AND MUST CUT DOWN DUE TO LOSS OF GRAZING THANKS TO INTERFERANCE FROM THE LOCAL YOBS AND THE RISK OF THE PONIES BEING LET OUT ON TO A BUSY MAIN ROAD.
Current star of the ridden ponies is Burnside Holly who having at long last managed to win the Highland Pony Society's Performance Award, has had a winter off as she's had no real holiday since she was broken, she is now just going to compete when she wants to and is determined not to be pressurised into winning rosettes but to just go out and enjoy herself. Last year she had a go at Le Trec which both she and Deirdre enjoyed very much and time permitting would like to do again. She is going to do a few show classes but although entered has not yet competed as having been un-rugged all winter she's wisely hung on to her winter coat longer than normal.
Ensay has had a busy winter competing in dressage and has had a lot of success but she also did some fairly hideous tests when it was cold and windy and made it quite plain that she was not prepared to be perfect all the time!! It's a bonus that she is back in work as she's had stifle problems with the stifle locking and was operated on to try and rectify this but was lame as a result. She then has two years off during which time she produced a foal Euan who celebrated moving to his new home by jumping a large five barred gate putting himself back in the stable despite the fact he had grass adlib. I plan to do more show classes and dressage with her during the summer and she is short listed for our riding club teams so we'll keep you posted about her progress.
Two of the mares which I had meant to ride this year have just produced foals, great excitement as Fleetmead Sanday has produced a lovely yellow dun filly and Succoth Holly followed suit by having a filly as well. It will be interesting to see what colour it ends up as it is yellow dun at the moment, however Holly was also registered yellow dun and is now cream. The weather has been so unpredictable and cold and wet and both mares were late having their foals choosing a lovely warm sunny day to do so and so goodness knows when the other foals will put in an appearance as the weather has taken a turn for the worst again. Anyway that's all for now but once the web site is up and running and I have mastered the skills to keep it updated I will keep you informed about our progress. I am acquiring too many ponies so one or two of the foals will be sold at weaning.