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.