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15 February 2016

Grampian Branch Members’ Activities

Including contributions from Nicola Price


Rain, rain and yet more rain since our beautiful ride in Drumtochty in the middle of May. I’m sure this will

sound familiar to many along with the cancellation of many rides and events. For us this included Clatt, one

of our ‘flagship rides’ at the end of June which threw many people’s plans into disarray. Sadly, after a

stalwart attempt to reschedule this ride, it has again become the victim of the weather and dangerous


We were lucky with the weather at Ninestanes which began from Knockburn Loch in Banchory with the

60km riders all getting in before the downpours began. It was also one of those rare rides where all the

parking was on hard-standing AND had proper toilets in proper buildings! Of note was Norman Taylor’s

achievement of obtaining his BTF on Theetante which has been well earned. This was particularly the case

as Norman spent many hours, if not days, before the event driving around the course on his quad bike,

felling many a branch, tree and gorse bush and ensuring the course was safe and rideable. A landscape

gardening career is always a fallback as he did a tremendous job and without his help the ride may well

have not gone ahead. Lorna Hogg and De Marco rode a fantastic 50km as part of the Veteran Series and

deservedly won best condition for this class. De Marco had also done Lorna proud the day before in the

Area 22 dressage competition gaining a first and second in 2 novice classes, proving that he’s not bad at

the odd circle and change of rein in self carriage as well as being an endurance stalwart. Tony Comerford

and Aratahnes Shantye obtained best condition for the 60km at Ninestanes and Tony has recently come

second on the same mount in the 80km ER at The Endurance Championships in Kelso.


Forest of Deer ride near Mintlaw offered 2 days of riding and began from Aden Park. A good many

people obtained BTQs and Gayle Mawer on Selim El Sabok obtained her BTF and best condition in the

50km category. Karl Leye on Ryan was also pleased to win the best condition in the Sunday 30km class

having, as he said, ‘waited since 1999 for that….!’

Many thanks to the ride organisers Alison Carrington (Ninestanes) and Ruth Riddell (Forest of Deer) as

well as all the helpers and other riders for these Grampian rides. Particular mention to Marlene Arthur,

Donna Hemmings, and especially Raynet, all of whom have been vital to the smooth running of these rides.

Grampian riders also did well in the Home International and Celtic Challenge Competition held in

Donard, Co Wicklow in the Republic of Ireland. Lisa Maitland and Aztec III came third in the 2 day

160km on the back of their fantastic win in the FEI* 80km at Seacliff in June. Congratulations are also

due to Alison Saunders (Cavatina) and Frauke Jurgensen (Button Biting Benjamin) for successfully

competing in the 50km and 40km Novice classes respectively.

We must also thank all those who contributed to the Grampian fund to help get our riders over to Ireland.

Carola who organised the Quadrille Extravaganza which raised £104.00 and Heather Duncan who baked

all the cakes for Kirkhill, Spyhill, Tahuna & Drumtochty,raising a further £140.00, Roger & Brenda Searle

who kindly made a private donation, plus a contribution from Club funds to make up the numbers. All riders

received the same amount – below is a letter of thanks from Alison Saunders.


I should like to say a very big formal thank-you to Grampian Branch for the cheque which you gave me

today at NineStanes which is the result of all the fundraising efforts that have been going on for the

Scottish team in Ireland. I feel very honoured that Cavatina and I have been chosen for the team (which

certainly would not have happened if I had not had such generous advice and encouragement from more

experienced members of the Club over the last few years since I started doing Endurance) and also very

grateful for all the work put in by everyone to fundraising which resulted in that cheque. Cavatina and I

are now in the last stages of packing prior to departure, and are keeping all our fingers and hooves

crossed that we do justice next Sunday to our selection for the team. Very many thanks to everybody,

Cavatina & Alison


The Scottish Championships in Kelso was almost another victim of the weather. The memory of ‘the flood’

in Perth at last year’s Champs was all too vivid in many people’s memories! The course was extremely

difficult for all but particularly the longer distances where the going was especially tiring for the heavier

footed horses. This didn’t deter Lorna Hogg and Cloughwood Golden Spangle from obtaining their BTF and

also Frauke Jurgenson and Button Biting Benjamin for the same, adding to their tremendous 2012 season.

Their combined effort brought home the Novice Trophy to Grampian from the Championships.

Finally, here’s hoping we have that elusive ‘Indian Summer’ as we look forward to rides at Bennachie and

Balmoral in October. We hope that the Balmoral ride will generate some late season interest as Tony

Comerford has been working hard in order to obtain the various permissions necessary and it would be

good to see as many people out as possible to give this new ride much support.