Sutherland Riding Club is based in the Highlands of Scotland. We have activities for all, from beginners to advanced riders. We also welcome non-riders and family members who would like to learn more about our passion for horses and support our many events throughout the year. We hold regular training clinics and competitions all year round, working closely with top level trainers to provide tuition at an affordable level for club members. Affiliated through British Riding Clubs to the British Horse Society.
Message from the Chairman
A warm welcome to the Riding Club new year to all of you. I hope you and your horses have survived the cold winter weather and are looking forward to a busy equestrian year.
At our recent horsey car boot sale I bought a small old-fashioned-looking book called The Manual of Horsemanship. This book was first published in 1950 and in its introduction I read...
“Every horse you ride is an individual, and will teach you something new”.
This sentence started me reflecting on the horses and ponies that I have ridden over the years and of the many lessons I have learnt from them. I remember a hilarious pair of ponies I met many years ago when I was about 10 years old. I was lucky enough to attend a boarding school that offered riding lessons as part of the curriculum. In order to do this the school encouraged pupils to bring their ponies to school each term and these were then available for all of us to have lessons on.
One girl, Anna, arrived at the beginning of term with not one, but two, ponies! They were almost identical - both were black, both were about 13hh, both under developed, and quite possibly under age for what they were being asked to do. It never became very clear whether they had actually ever been fully broken in, or schooled in any way. These ponies were nervous of being handled, and tying them up and grooming them was a challenge in itself, but it was under saddle that they showed their true colours! They had two paces that they were comfortable with – stationary and full speed gallop – and struggled with anything in between. They proved to be surprisingly athletic at times producing an impressive array of moves that included reversing, double-tripping, bucking, shying and screeching to a stop with little or no warning.
Whilst I do wonder at the total lack of responsibility shown by Anna’s parents allowing these near feral ponies to be ridden by 15 or so different children, on reflection I realise that it was a cheap and effective method of bringing on the ponies with a view to selling them. Rather sadly and tellingly, these ponies were never taken home in the holidays but left at school where the caretaker kept an eye on them until term started again when we all ran into the field, having forgotten all the bumps and bruises we had suffered, to kiss and hug them, and tell them how much we had missed them.
The Lesson Learnt – the smaller the pony, the quicker the unintentional dismount can be and the faster you need to run to catch them again!