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14 February 2016

SERC Grampian AGM

Nicola Price (Press and Publicity Committee member SERC Grampian)

Grampian branch of SERC (in the frozen north) held their AGM on 5th February 2012. Last year I think

we had barely started thawing out and this year couldn’t be more different and yet it was still a bright

and frosty day. This year our format had been changed from a traditional evening after work to a

Sunday affair, starting at 11.30hrs and finishing at approximately 14.00hrs or whenever we had

finished eating all the delicious home bakes on offer!

The usual business was covered initially with our Chair, Ruth Riddell, stepping down after her second

term. Ruth is an excellent source of information and there aren’t many situations that she hasn’t

encountered. The audience gave her a warm, appreciative reception with a short speech and

presentation of flowers by Lynda Keeler. Ruth will still be omnipresent as a ride organiser, Aberdeen

City access representative and general caravan guru, so no rest there then. She is succeeded by

Allison Carrington, who after a year of being Vice-Chair, is ably stepping up to the mark judging by the

gusto with which she wielded the committee gavel at our first meeting the following day. Others

stepping down after full terms include Carol Henderson (Treasurer) and Katie Keith (Membership

Secretary). Arlene Parvin (Ride Entry Secretary) also decided that after 1 year she would have to

forgo the honour…. with 2 children, 6 horses, an evening Equine qualification, 2 dogs, riding her own

horse at many competitive rides and a full time job did seem reasonable to say the least. A special

mention must also go to Marlene Arthur who, after retiring her horse at the end of 2010 season

attended every Grampian ride as a competent person and made a phenomenal job of ordering the

most beautiful tartan rosettes for the afternoon’s prize giving.

After lunch (soup, sandwiches and more home bakes) we were pleased to welcome Jane Brindley

who spoke about Rider Confidence and ways to help improve this. I’m sure we can all remember,

often way too clearly, those moments where things haven’t gone to plan. By doing these talks Jane

was raising money for The Brooke Horse Charity for whom she is undertaking a 2 week expedition to

India at the end of February. We all wish her well with this and were pleased to help promote such a

worthwhile cause. Jane was kind enough to present the raffle prizes which at points caused much

hilarity especially when Leon Stelmach (Secretary) discovered exactly what was in the brown box that

he’d chosen… 2 bottles of champagne! Not bad at all, proving that taking a small risk now and then

can sometimes pay off.

The prize giving followed and signalled the end of much hard work for our Branch Archivist (Lisa

Maitland). The mileage rosettes started off proceedings. Of particular note was the 5000 kms

achieved by Yvonne Thomson and her magnificent Halflinger mare Schadow. Yvonne announced that

she would be ‘slowing down’ this year but for those of us that know her and Schadow I’m not sure we

can envisage that happening. They also accumulated a phenomenal 16 Gold awards in 30km classes

the likes of which most of us can only aspire to. Yvonne thanked many people including those ‘who

even spoke to me at a ride’.

Everyone who won a trophy deserves a mention as they are all well deserved and the product of

many hours work and much dedication. We all enjoy it immensely but it’s always an added bonus to

get a little recognition.