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15 August 2016

Extracts from the Branch Newsletters

Articles are re-printed from Grampian branch newsletters and the editors of this website take no responsibility for their contents.

2016 Grampian members' newsletters:
- -

2016 Club members' Hoofprint newsletters:

- January issued 6th January

If you didn't receive any of the above or the periodic e-bulletins, please contact Clubhouse.


August 2015

Goodbye to MAC

Penny Howard writes

We lost our wonderful horse and friend Mac last month at the age of 24. He went peacefully and

suddenly in the field, living a good life until very the end.

I bought Mac as a 5 year old, originally for my then 12-year-old daughter Emily. I spent his first winter

hunting him on Dartmoor; this stood him in good stead for his endurance career. He started his

education at pony club camp and my daughter did some eventing with him but he was too fast and

too strong so got passed on to me, and then Clive.

Mac and Clive completed many rides including the Golden Horseshoe and the first 100-mile ride in

Scotland. He could achieve anything as long as you continuously shovelled copious amounts of food

into him. Unfortunately he developed Spavin at 16, only in one hock, but this put an end to

competitive riding, though not his ridden career. His final long ride was in 2012 when my 11-year-old

niece flew over from Australia to ride in the Silver Boot. Laura rode him from Mar Lodge to Calendar,

which she calls “an epic journey’. Since then he spent his time being ridden around the Bennachie,

mainly by his good friend Ros.

During his lifetime he was ridden and competed by many people all I know will miss him. He has left a

big whole in our hearts but fantastic memories and lots of laughter.

August 2015

Another Adventure!!

Cairngorm 100 - 2015

Although this was not a SERC ride it was run on our country and full credit must go to Clive Pollitt,

Joan Austin and Penny Howard, amongst others, for all the effort they put in to achieve this very

successful event.

As expected, there were not a huge number of riders, but they came from Ireland, England and

Scotland and all but two completed, and in very good condition.

A massive part of the success of this weekend was down to the many volunteers who generously

gave their time, their sleep, gallons of diesel and their experience and enthusiasm to make this ride

happen and help the horses and riders achieve this immense feat of endurance. Congratulations to all

of them.

Clive Pollitt writes :…

The idea of a long distance ride across the Cairngorms had been a point of discussion between Joan

Austin, Penny and myself for a number of years. We never really got to grips with it as a real event

until one day Colin Sykes dropped me a mail on Facebook asking if I was the Pollitt that had done the

Tevis. When I answered yes he asked would I be interested in helping organise a Tevis type ride of

one horse, one hundred miles in one day. It sounded right so I agreed to give it a go.

I had a good idea of the possible routes from previous ventures while Silver booting, but needed to

join together a 100 miles of doable mixed terrain riding with suitable vetting points along the way and

find a good start and finish venue.

Suitable vetting points at the right distance wasn’t easy, neither was the start and finish, but

eventually a plumped for Glenmore Lodge as a start point and the hotel at Glen Clova as the finish,

with Tomintoul, Balmoral, Invercauld, Mar Lodge and Loch Muick as the vetting points along the way.

Permissions to cross the numerous estates was reasonably easy and the land owners, for the most

part, were cooperative and interested in the challenge we were offering. It helped being known by the

factors at Balmoral, Invercauld and Mar Estates as we had used these routes on a couple of our

Camp rides in the past and I was able to use them as referees with the other estate owners.

After advertising the ride on Facebook there was an obvious interest but quite how many that noted

an interest would turn up on the day was always the unknown quantity and I thought that if we got

10% of the noted interests we would be lucky. For me double figures would be enough for this first

ride and when we had 8 confirmed entries for the 100 mile ride, I was quite happy.

As there had been interest for a shorter distance ride we decided to open the ride to some 50 mile

and 25 mile riders, that way we could have a reasonable size party at Glen Clover at the end of the

ride, which is what we had on the Sunday night.

I won’t go into detail about the ride other than to say that it would not have happened without the help

of some real stalwarts. We had many volunteers of help, enabling us to place very experienced

people at key positions at the various locations. Carola did a great job of coordinating the helpers and

Penny made sure that they had the paperwork and the logistics and timing were in place. We had

Simon Jacyna and his gang at Tomintoul for Vet Gate 1, (With me on the Barbecue for breakfast).

Penny at Vet check 1, a vetting and hold point just before Balmoral, Leon, Mary and Carola and their

team at Invercauld for Vet Gate 2 and 3, Lorna Hogg and her team at Vet check 2 at Glen Derry. For

the riders the most welcome was Tony and Joe at Lock Muick, who were complemented on their

sympathy knowledge and help, (I was on the coffee) for riders that had already been in the saddle 18

hours or so. At the finish Marlene and Alison controlled the final vetting with the help of Colin. It was

great to see the riders come over the finish line cheered by so many of you who made it round to Glen

Clova. Five riders and horses finished the 100 mile ride and were presented with their buckles.

There were many helpers, too many to mention by name, particularly some who had travelled many

miles to help. Thank you to you all. Amongst them Joan Austin who helped me greatly with the route

both walking and later marking and demarking the first and most sensitive section between Glenmore

Lodge and Tomintoul and Barbara who stepped in as a vet at the last minute. Without all you helpers

the ride would not have been such a success.

Thank you.

August 2015

SERC Championships –

Crewing at the Champs by Ruth Riddell

At last year’s HI/CC I was asked to crew for Fiona Kirk and her horse Mr Charles and I obviously

didn’t do too bad a job as she asked me to crew again for her this year. With that in mind, we met up

again at Seacliff where she had entered the 2-day 120 (80 km on Sat + 40 km on Sun). Malcolm and

I tootled down to East Lothian on the Thursday to the caravan site where we had left our caravan

since the MarineCo FEI ride at the beginning of July – a nice easy run down in the car and the

caravan was quickly set up again. This would be my third trip to Seacliff and it was all fairly familiar –

dangerously so, as it was easy to get confused as to which road led to which crew point. However,

on the Friday morning, I met up with Yvonne Thomson and we reccied the routes (yellow & orange) to

the West of the venue where I knew it was easy for both riders and crews to miss a turn. That done,

Yvonne set off with Alison, Arlene and Emma to do the Friday Pleasure route and won the Glasgow

Gambol – well done girls.

Fiona arrived about lunchtime with daughter Hazel and Charlie and Hazel’s horse Blue. She had

ridden the 80 km route at the earlier ride at Seacliff and was happy that she knew the routes, so once

the horses were settled, we went over the maps and agreed the best crewing points. Vetting for the

bigger classes was held on Friday evening, which makes it much more leisurely and then there was

the rider briefing which was “brief”!!

Saturday morning dawned bright and early. With the vetting done the night before, it was feed,

stretches, tack up, warm up, and go to the start. Although there were only 2 in Fiona’s class (the

other was Francis Bakker who many of you would know was rides to win, they were joined by the 80

km ER class for the mass start. As they had to negotiate the gate out of the venue field, riders had to

be sensible and indeed they were. Then it’s off in the car to the first crew point on the white loop.

This loop takes the riders to the East of the venue, down to the beach looking over to Bass Rock, then

back through farmland, woods and endriggs with a few road crossings but very little tarmac as there is

a maze of tracks including the John Muir Way. At each crew point it’s a routine of park up / set out

buckets and sloshes /grab a drink / look for horses. As horses arrived, I noted who was in front of

Fiona and by how much. This is very helpful as the day goes on as you get a good idea of how things

are going. Just a couple of crew points on the first loop, then back to the venue for the first vet gate.

Fiona knows her horse so well and everything is done calmly and efficiently. We presented in 6

minutes and passed no problem.

Loop 2 was the orange route which I was very glad I had reccied the day before. I met Fiona at the

agreed crew-points and Charlie Boy stopped and drank like the good boy that he is. Soon we were

back at the venue for VG2. Quick cool down with the Nomad, check feet and once again sailed

through the vetting.

Loop 3 was the yellow route, which was very similar to the orange one, so met Fiona at the same

points on the course, and back to the venue for the end of Day 1 vetting – which was a three-card

trick for all those doing 80 km classes. [For the three card trick, 3 vets watch the trot up and write

“Pass” or “Fail” on a card which are handed to the Vet Steward who says whether the horse has

passed or not. This has been used in the past when a vet has wanted a second opinion but it is

normal practice for bigger rides.] Both Charlie and Francis’ horse Zeus passed Day 1 with flying

colours and not much between their times – everything would depend on Day 2.

On Sunday morning Fiona was timed out 16 minutes ahead of Francis. By the first meeting point

Francis had already made up a couple of minutes and I fully expected to see her catching up during

the course of the ride. Strangely tho’ I didn’t see her, or her crew, after that. It wasn’t until the end

that I learned that she had taken the wrong route. So Fiona and Charlie rode most of the ride by

themselves – at their own pace – and passed all the vettings – to win their class and the Pasquill

Trophy, together with Best Condition. They also won the Raddery Equine Trophy for best equipped

horse, rider and crew and the Druid’s Hill Trophy for the Native/TB cross horse – quite a haul!

Since the Champs, both Fiona and Hazel have been selected for the Scottish squad for the Home

International and Celtic Challenge. Red Dragon – here we come.

August 2015

SERC Championships –

Gemma & Morgan’s journey to STF

Gemma Cooper tells of her ambition to try for her first 80kms

My aim this year was to try and get Overhall Sharpe Cooper, “Morgan”, my 8 year old Lipizzaner X a

couple of 80 kilometer (80K) rides under his belt, I decided at the beginning of the season that Brodie

Castle was to be our first attempt, so set about training and building him up to it. We completed a 50k

at Roseisle with Caroline and Merlin then a 60k at Clashindaroch with Alison and Cavatina, Morgan

felt brilliant!

Brodie Castle was upon us and we were riding out in the company and experience once again of

Alison and Cavatina, excellent!

The ride was lovely and Morgan went well however at the end of our 80k we were lamed out on his

right hind, the vet gave him a thorough going over and Morgan was deemed safe to travel home.

Once I got home and was done beating myself up and had got over the fact that Morgan's leg wasn’t

going to fall off and that I hadn’t broken my precious pony, I began to re-evaluate everything! I think I

had underestimated the jump from a 60k to an 80k and I realised that if I wanted to help take Morgan

and myself to the next level of Endurance I needed to really start looking at Morgan as, and treating

him as, an athlete. I picked Morgan and I apart and started to look at the possible cracks that had

contributed to being vetted out at the end of our 80k at Brodie Castle…

My riding, I get pain in my feet when doing the bigger distances - I booked Morgan and myself in for a

rider balance riding lesson and an 8 week block of Pilates for equestrians with the amazing Pauline


Hoof wear - I started asking around about different hoof wear products and options that may work for

Morgan who was in Renegades but was struggling with anything boot-wise that gave any skin contact.

Saddle - I had Derelochy saddle fitters come out and look over Morgan’s saddle and my riding. I

passed onto Amanda mine and Pauline's findings from my balance lesson and Pilates.

Morgan - I had Physio, Anna Armstrong look over and work on Morgan loosening off his shoulders

and hind. Anna showed me some great techniques that I could use during vet gates.

Technique – I spoke with people about how they ride the bigger rides, any tips for vet gates, pacing,

what rides would best suit Morgan, and asked about others’ endurance ride experiences.

I turned every stone I could think of !

I then put all the changes made into practice and Morgan felt on form, bigger more confident strides, I

had means of helping myself if I got pain in my feet thus in turn helping Morgan, feed – sorted,

dancing shoes – sorted, Saddle – all good, Morgan – all good, Technique... I had a plan!!! And I felt

like we were ready.

I entered the 80 Kilometre Endurance Race Ride (80ker) at the Scottish Championships at Seacliff.

Morgan doesn’t like travelling, and I now know not to underestimate travelling, the travelling will take a

lot out of him. I decided to do the steady 5 hour travel with Morgan on Thursday, giving him a full day

on Friday to recover for the ride on the Saturday and come home on the Sunday. This plan worked

very well. With Morgan's pal, Gemma Conroy's Robbie in the next corral from him he was content.

My Crew was all of a sudden able to help out again last minute, though I had my mind set that I would

be going Crewless/Not Clueless but taking up the very kind offers of some fellow SERCies. Any way

of course the Crew was very handy and much appreciated... we vetted Morgan on the Friday night

before the ride. Morgan was super excited and when asked to trot up, gave an over enthusiastic, neck

roll, canter up. But once hastily reminded of his manners, he gave a lovely trot up and flew through

the initial vetting with a 42 Heart Rate (hr) and 1's and A's. It was then back to the corral for Morgan,

and James and I went on to do some route reccying for possible crewing points.

Saturday came, and I had decided not to pair up with anyone and see how things went, we were

going with the Mass Start for experience and am glad that we did, Morgan did very well and listened.

He was very strong the first few kilometres resulting in blisters popping up on my fingers, which later

popped in the second loop again due to being a little strong when he sighted horses ahead. The ride,

rode flat and fast with open views, at some points you could see horses a couple of fields away making

for an (at some points) mind blowing experience for the Grampian mountain goat, who’s training mainly

consists of playing solo on the Coreen hills.

Morgan went all the way round the first loop with Gemma Pearson and Cumbrian Kalila who was also

going for her Silver Thistle Final, the two horses complemented each other nicely. At the first vet gate

Morgan vetted quickly 55/58hr and he headed out after his wee break like an absolute trooper, turbo trotting

out the field and cantering when asked, we caught Kalila and Gemma about 10k into the second loop and I

felt Morgan switch off, which was a shame as he had been going brilliantly pacing himself well, Morgan lent

on Kalila the remainder of the second loop.

Morgan vetted again quickly in the second vetting 56/52hr, not nearly as fast though as Kalila who

was breezing through with 30/40ish heart rates all day! My focus however was on my main man

Morgan and what he was doing and keeping him happy.

Morgan was not sure about leaving the vet gate for the third loop, though I felt he was definitely

capable, but he felt confused and didn’t want to leave the other horses. I was unsure of the rules on

whether you have to ride out of a vet gate or can dismount. So I had a plan... though I imagine... not

the done thing... As Morgan was not for going forwards out the vet gate but was for going backwards,

I rode him backwards out the vet gate/start, jumped off and ran with him in hand out of the venue till

we were well out of sight and got back on. Ta Da! Morgan then again paced well the third loop,

another horse caught us nearing the end and we then caught up with another, the three horses

supported one another into the field approaching the venue field, which by this time was slippery

under foot from a heavy shower we had been caught in, I held Morgan back, which did not amuse

him, but I was aware that there was an open gate we had to go through. Cornering, and going through

at speed, I was scared may result in Morgan slipping and falling… I may have been over cautious…

Morgan definitely thought so. I had decided firmly before going to Seacliff that we were going there for

the Silver Thistle not to race, so while the other two went into gallop for a racing finish I again held

Morgan as much as I could. I didn’t want to be knee-capped on a gate post, but once through the gate

and on the straight I had to let him go, and we galloped over the finish line.

I took my time to make sure Morgan was in good shape for the final vetting, my crew James walked Morgan

around letting him graze and relax and Morgan's Heart rate gradually came down. When first entering the vet

gate area after his racing finish, I was pleasantly surprised that his HR was 74bpm.

He vetted at the end with a 54/56hr, a handful of mints and a big hug from his proud Mum!

Morgan came 5th out of 11 entrants and went round at an average speed of 13.42kph, gaining his Silver Thistle

Final award!

We are incredibly lucky in Grampian Branch to have so many, very experienced endurance riders, I’ve learnt a

lot from these people, and have to say a massive thank you to all those who have supported Morgan and I

‘Team Coop”, and to those whom have been subjected to my brain picking, you know who you are!


August 2015

Here is a wee message from our Ride Entry Fairies:

'How to Enter' by your Entry Fairies (Sarah Taylor and Angela Christie

When entering via clubhouse, to save us from chasing you, can you please make sure:-

1. That you FILL IN YOUR RIDE ENTRY FORMS. Next to your entry you can see the BIG button

for your ride entry form. If it is red then you have not filled it in click on it and FILL IT IN, it only

takes a few seconds and then click the save button and you are done, easy peasy

PAYMENT- please make sure you have paid for your ride because if you don't you will

automatically be deleted when the closing date comes.

Another thing is - can everyone contact us through our email,

especially if you are withdrawing from a ride, please don't use Facebook or messenger as it gets

very confusing as there are two of us trying to keep tabs on all the changes. Also do not remove

yourself from a ride via clubhouse, give us a shout and we can do it for you.

Please keep us fairies happy we don't want to be wicked witches!'

( if they could!)

2. Ride lists

If helpers or riders would like a breakdown of the different classes before the event our Ride Entry

Fairies will gladly provide them with one.

Furthermore we will ask at the next Central meeting if it's possible for Clubhouse to show the riders

and their classes as there is a demand there from riders to know how many are in their class etc. I will

let you know what Central say. I hope this is a good solution for all.



- And while we are on the subject of ride entries …. a note from Ruth Riddell

- There have been comments that some riders do not have the correct paperwork with them when they

check in at rides. I checked this at our last 3 rides and this applies to quite a few Grampian

members. Please be aware that if you don’t have the correct paperwork, you might not be

allowed to ride.

All members should have the following for all rides:

• Current membership card

• A5 medical information sheet (in a sealed envelope if you like, but with your name and contact

number on the outside of the envelope)

• Registration card, aka Accumulative Distance card, previously known as Mileage card (*1)

For competitive rides, you should also have:

Mastercard (*2)

Please do not hand in previous vet sheets as they may get misplaced when the results are being

worked out. Previous vet sheets should be kept with your log book (if you have one) and be with you

at the venue and available to Admin should there be any queries.

*1 For mileage cards, please fill in the Date and Venue. Please do not fill in the distance before

the day as there may be route changes.

*2 For mastercards, please fill in the Bib No, Venue and Date.

Any queries, please ask – Thank you – Ruth

April 2015

Training and Team Selection

Observations from Clive Pollitt, Grampian’s representative on the Selection Committee

At the recent training meeting near Gleneagles there were two issues that stood out for me more than anything else.

The first was the number of riders who had not had their saddle checked by a competent person at the start of this season.  One rider had not checked her saddle since buying the horse 5 years ago. The result was a number of horses showing signs of pain and muscle wastage or damage. To expect a saddle to fit a horse after coming out of the winter period of inactivity, and before most of them have any fitness, is asking a lot, so please check your horses for signs of tenderness and have your saddles checked to see they fit comfortably.  Your vet, equine physio, or body worker can do this for you if you do not feel competent to do it yourself.

The second point was the blind assumption that the farrier has shod the horse well.  There were a number of horses with heels considerably different in length both on the rear and front.  When the vet pointed this out to the riders the difference was obvious to them, so check this yourself, and question the farrier before he leaves if you believe there to be a problem.  If you get down on the floor and have a look you can easily see the difference.

…and a point about safety

As part of my crewing talk at the training meeting I went through the contents of my saddle bags, which I always carry regardless.

In the bag amongst other things is a waterproof jacket and trousers.  On Sunday last I was caught out at the far end of the Correen hills in a dreadful snow storm whilst riding and leading Penny’s horse. Those of you that have done the Clatt ride know the place as being very exposed with no shelter. After realising the snow wasn't going to stop, I donned my waterproof and made for the trailer.  An hour and a half later I reached the trailer frozen to the core and near exposure, and that was with my additional spare

jacket and trousers.  I dread to think what state I would have been in without them.  There must be a moral there somewhere but for me it reinforced the need to be properly equipped and always carry spare clothing when in the hills.

April 2015

Looking after your horse at rides

Remember the saying “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!”

First of all, in a quiet moment (!) sit down at the kitchen table and study the map, not only so that you are familiar with the ride you are doing, but also to work out how long it is going to take you to get to the venue - and add at least half an hour, preferably longer!  Knowing you have this time in hand makes for a much less stressful journey.  Make sure you have warm clothes for yourself and rugs for him (or her), as well as plenty of food and water for both of you.

On the day of the ride, your horse should have had his breakfast some time before he is loaded, and a haynet for the journey (and the return).

If the caravan is open then you can get your paperwork, vet sheet and your bib before you unload your horse.  You should have time to let him stretch his legs, walk him round and loosen him up, maybe graze for a little while and both of you relax before going to the vet.  When you have passed the vet take him back to the trailer and give him a small feed or his haynet again and offer him water.  Make sure he is fuelled up!

Tack him up, check your map and prepare to set off by handing your vet sheet to the starter.

If you have a vet gate during your ride, you are allowed to hop off and walk in the last twenty yards or so, this is a signal to your horse to wind down.  Remove tack, offer him water, and wash down if necessary, take his HR and when appropriate present to the vet.  For this presentation the HR only has to be below 65 BPM so when it is steady at that level, take him to the vet.  If you are having difficulty in getting his HR down, keep sloshing and walk him around when he might perhaps have a pee!  This will lower his HR.  Although it is not wise to feed before presenting to the vet as this might actually raise the HR a few beats, a hungry, irritable horse will also have a high HR so allowing him a snatch of hay or a mouthful of grass may be sensible - use your judgement.

On passing the vet, feed him again, and yourself.  Keep him warm, tack up and prepare to set off again.  At the end of your ride you will repeat this procedure, although you must be mounted to cross the finish line.  You can take longer at the end to reduce the HR but don’t allow the horse to get cold and stiffen up or you may find he fails the vetting.  Again, allow him either a feed or grazing or a hay net and a little time to relax before your journey home.

Thoughtful preparation, riding and care should help you to keep a sound, happy horse for whole of the endurance season.

April 2015

Issue of Vet sheets at rides

Marlene Arthur has taken on the somewhat arduous task of trying to keep stocks of essential paperwork, rosettes and other equipment in the caravan.  She has written the following plea.

Now that most riders enter via Clubhouse and print off their own maps, talk rounds and ride info sheets from the web, the only remaining paperwork required on the day is your vet sheet.

Collecting and completing your vet sheet on the morning of the ride is a nuisance of course, so we'd like to suggest the following procedure.

At the recent Forest of Deer ride, riders were issued with TWO vet sheets, one for use that day, the second one as your "spare".

That way, you will have a vet sheet at home for completing prior to your next event.

Thereafter, at each ride, please collect a vet sheet for your "next" ride. This ensures you'll always have a spare sheet at home.

Please do not ask the Admin volunteers for a bundle; allowing Admin to control them is necessary in order for us to maintain accurate numbers of remaining stock.

Thank you.


April 2015

Drug Testing Reminder

Any of our rides and any horse in any class (including Pleasure classes) may be subject to drug testing.  So please inform yourself what substances are allowed and which are not.  The consequences of  getting it wrong are quite serious.  Please be aware that feed supplements or natural substances, e.g. willow leaves, might contravene the rules.

February 2015

Last season the Best Condition awards for Taster and Pleasure Classes were changed to 'Best

Presentation' awards. A clever new points based system was developed by our top Competent

Persons: Marlene Arthur, Mary Stelmach and Dawn Saunders which has worked wonders in

encouraging our Taster and Pleasure riders to improve their presentation and trot up techniques.

November 2014

On Thursday 20th we had our Branch Christmas Dinner at Jaff's in Dunecht. Just under 30 of our members enjoyed Jaff's great hospitality and food, and our 'SERC Grampian Quiz Master' trophy was hotly contested in an excellent quiz run by Frauke Jurgensen. The trophy was won by 'The Cheetahs' consisting of Barbara Peterse, Charlotte James, Gemma Cooper and Ruth Riddell. They won by an impressive margin but I guess it did help that they had our Archivist and a vet on their team. Well done the team and all the other teams and a big thank you to Frauke! 

November 2014

Regardless of the weather we started our winter programme at the beginning of November with a Drill Riding to Music session led by Dressage trainer Pam Millar. Two groups of six and five riders were taught a routine which they then performed at the end of the session. Pam was very impressed with how quickly we learned the routine and how our horses and riders 'just go on with it'. Here is the link to one of the groups 'The Uni(que)corns':

October 2014

As a replacement for our Mackie's Ride we put on a DIY Ride Training day at Southside Ride, near Inverurie, where members could practice their ride skills: map reading, taking their horse's heart rates, watch them being trotted up, timing their ride and calculating their speed. We even did a vet gate 'pit stop' where the rider could see how quickly her horse's heart rate went to below 64 after coming in from a brisk ride - useful but academic as the horse came IN with a hr of 44 - super fit racing pony :-), the 12km loop round the Southside grass tracks was clearly not challenging enough. It was also Morgan, the Magnificent, who won the "Best Turned Out - Endurance Style" prize as everything was colour co-ordinated even down to his rider Gemma Cooper's fingernails. Well deserved! Big Thank you to Liz at Southside for hosting us, to Carol Potter for making up the route and the great maps, to Marlene Arthur for teaching our rides how to take heart rates, Dot Ralli for teaching map reading, to Carol Henderson for her help with working out times and to Fiona Thomson and Alan who helped crewing.

October 2014

Our "new look" Bennachie ride in mid-September with a fantastic new venue and new tracks was a great success and a real team effort. Big thanks to Penny, Clive, Joan, Barbara and Matthew who reccied and resurrected the "old" round-the-hill route and thus offered the 30km and above riders a fantastically varied route all around Bennachie and Millstone hill: long grass canters, moorland tracks, forestry and farm tracks with only a wee bit of road work. Having the venue at the other side of the hill also meant the shorter distances could be re-routed and avoid the stony tracks on the North side. Ride Organisers Ruth McMinn and I are very grateful to our great team of helpers: Matthew Walker, Clive Pollitt, Penny Howard, Joan Austen, Barbara Peterse, Yvonne Thomson, Peter and Solveig MacCallum, Frauke Jurgensen, Judith Barker, Johan Peterse, Viv Law, Marlene Arthur, Helen Galley, Maureen Walker, Mollie, Jasmin and Emma Peterse and Steve McMinn and to Lorna Hogg for her help in de-marking the Bennachie Ride.

July 2014

BTF..... At long last

A tale of persistence from Angi Long


Well it’s taken me a few years (my first endurance pleasure ride was in 1999) but I have finally achieved my first ever BTF in 2014! .... more


June 2014 Feed & Drink - A few notes

by Mary Stelmach

When I was the competent person at Clashindarroch ride, I noticed some horses were very hungry and asked a number of riders, experienced and otherwise, when they had fed their horses.  The answers were astonishing!  Several people said 'at breakfast' - which meant that, counting the hour or two travelling to the venue, preparing and doing the ride, the animal had not eaten for several hours.  Horses are designed to graze for several hours a day and therefore produce acid in their stomach continuously, whether or not they have eaten - during exercise and particularly without food, this acid will attack the lining of the gut, ultimately leading to ulcers.  Apart from that, with no fuel for energy, the horse is running on empty.

We know that feeding puts the heart rate up slightly, so either either arrive at the venue in plenty of time and feed your horse, then give it time before the vetting, or get the horse vetted and then feed before tacking up.  At the end of a ride, it really isn't going to make a lot of difference to allow your horse a bite or two of hay or grass whilst cooling off before vetting as long as you stop this a few minutes before going to the vet.  Hungry horses can be irritable which may raise their heart rates anyway.


October 2013


Ride Organising – The dark art…...Philorth, October 2013. The ride of Virgins

By Angi Long


We have nicknamed this 'the ride of virgins' simply because of the following reasons:

•  Virgin Venue

•  Virgin Route

•  Virgin Organisers (virtually, I helped organise one ride over 13years ago)

•  Virgin Chief Steward

•  Virgin Admin

•  Virgin Admin helper

•  Virgin Vet

•  Virgin Vet Writer

•  Virgin Check Point Marshalls

•  Virgin Road Crossing Marshall


.... more


October 2013


Learning the sport from all angles….A story from Gemma Conroy


Up until early 2012 I had no idea what Endurance Riding was. I was struggling through a very difficult

patch with my rescue horse Robbie and had been forced to give up our eventing career due to a

nervous breakdown (his not mine!).


Robbie had continually struggled with his "head demons" from previous abuse and was becoming

uncontrollable and dangerous and so a serious decision was made to give up competing and just hack

for a year. If there was no improvement then he would have to be PTS, it sounds harsh but it really did

seem to be the kindest option for him. I was devastated but vowed not to give up on him without giving

him every chance possible. My mum saw a poster in a local feed shop for a charity ride and persuaded

me to go along on my own. Well... It could have gone one of two ways... Bolting to a sticky end in the

wilderness somewhere or some serious fun times... As it turns out it was BOTH!! I met a solo SERC

rider who offered to buddy me and during the ride (in between bolting sessions and screams of terror)

she told me all about SERC.... more


May 2013


Report from Ride Organiser Lynda Keeler

After problems of snow and rain eroding tracks, and new routes being put together at the last minute

Drumtochty finally went ahead on 6th May with 41 riders out on the course. This was a demanding and

true endurance route with climbs of over 400 meters on heather hills and forestry tracks, including a

right of way and riding through a hamlet.

Two riders completed the 60km course - Sheila Bruce with Al Baraque at a speed of 10.4kph and final

heart rate of 48 bpm and Nicola Price with Fifi Le Bon at 12kph and heart rate of 52 – a great

accomplishment by both on this tough course. They were awarded a joint Best Condition as both horses

were amazing.

Eight riders did the 40km class with Pat Dorward (Dhabi) and Gayle Marr ( Selim el Sabok) having the

fastest time of 11.65 Kph and both horses achieving a 41 heart rate – no mean feat on this hilly course.

Dhabi being awarded the Best Condition in his class.

Angela Long on Danny Boy and Brian Inkster on Ricks Rebellion gained their BTQ in the 40km class

– well done both of you.

The 30km class had 6 riders with Michael Lomax gaining the Best Condition with his horse Zorro who

came in on a 44 heart rate in a time of 10.65kph.

Happy faces of the 19 Pleasure Riders and 6 riders doing the Taster made the Organiser’s day as their

route was not the easiest but they came back smiling. Sarah Taylor and Red Cloud Jacob getting the Best

Condition with a 42 heartrate and time of 9.16kph.

All the riders and horses had to share the venue field with wedding guests enjoying a BBQ and

participating in some Highland Games along with some Disco music through a sound system – well, if the

horses weren’t accustomed to this “dancing” music before they sure are now…. I really didn’t know that

there was to be disco music until that morning so apologies to you all and in the circumstances you and

your horses did extremely well on a really hot day, with a tough route and disco dancing in the equation.

A huge thank you to all the Helpers who made this ride possible: Pat Dorward and Alison Saunders for

checking out routes with me and helping in numerous ways, our superb vet, Austen Marr, Jeremy Hopkins

for being competent person, Leon Stelmach who did a grand job as Chief Steward, Ruth Riddell, for all

her hard work in Admin, Lucia Anderson for being Vet Writer, Charlotte Taylor our second vet writer,

Margaret Gammie as Vet Steward and keeping the vetting area running smoothly, our long standing Time

Keeper, Rob Winmill, who as always did a valiant job. Katie Keith for providing lunches to keep us all

going, Helen Hogben and Lesley Foreman as Road Stewards, Chloe Christie our Runner, Sarah Taylor and

Angela Christie and families for helping mark and demark, Raynet for manning CPs and keeping us up to

date with riders on the course, and last but not least Freya van Midden who did a fantastic job with

arranging parking. This ride couldn’t have run without your help so big thanks to you all for giving up your time.


May 2013


Report from Ride Organiser Janet Inkster

Grampian Branch held their first ride of the season at Kirkhill Forest on the outskirts of Aberdeen on

21st April 2013. What a relief to get this ride under our girths after the long winter and two

postponements due to snow and ice. Both the Forestry Commission and Craibstone College (who provided

the venue) were very helpful with the date changes for which we are extremely grateful. The weather

on the day was cool and overcast, just right for working horses, and then pleasantly sunny for the riders

to relax in later.

34 riders took part. Everyone was still smiling after the jigsaw puzzle of fitting trailers into a rather

small carpark was complete. I was smiling when I saw how miraculously folk extricated themselves after

the ride.

3 distances were on offer. Both the 25km and 16km were entered by 13 riders, and 8 riders chose the

11km ‘taster’ distance. Recent Forestry Commission activity had left just the right amount of mud on most

of the tracks and conditions underfoot were good for both shod and unshod horses. The terrain is quite

varied and hilly with parts suitable for all paces.

Kirkhill is a busy multi user forest. Tape markers had been moved at one junction but no other problem

was reported, and friendly comments were received from other forest users.

Best Condition in Class rosettes were awarded to Alison Saunders and Cavatina for the 25km, Nicola

Price and Massalah Aziz for the 16km, and Valerie Riach and Bailey for the 11km.

2 of the 11km and 3 of the 16km entrants were enjoying their forest hack so much that they took some

extra tracks and failed to reach their target speed. Fortunately all remained happy and intend to enter

another ride having caught the endurance bug.

There was a marvellous band of helpers who coped wonderfully despite relative inexperience and made

the admin on the day a pleasure.

Thank you to everyone involved, riders and non-riders.


January 2013 SERC App for smartphones


We now have an "app" which gives quick access to – Club website, Ride Calendar, Facebook page and the Forum. More quick links will be added. The "app" can be downloaded via the Google Play Store or at –search for Scottish Endurance. It’s free.


Nov/Dec 2012

Form filling – important!


We don’t know why but some people are under the impression that by entering by email and just signing a

ride entry form, they are entitled to ride.

This is not the case.  If you have put in your entry within the correct period, then the signed ride entry

form may be sent on afterwards or presented at the caravan on the day but all the contact details and the

ride entered must also be completed.  If you can be bothered to prepare yourself and your horse for the

ride then you MUST be bothered to fully complete you entry form.


Nov/Dec 2012

FEI banned substances

2013 FEI Equine Prohibited Substances List in effect from 1 January


The FEI Equine Prohibited Substance List for 2013, which has now been approved by the FEI

Bureau, will come into force on 1 January 2013.

Following a period of consultation with the National Federations, the FEI List Group held its most

recent meeting during the London 2012 Paralympics and signed off changes to the List for 2013.

The changes include the addition of five new substances and other amendments.

The changes, which will be included in the 2013 List and will come into effect on 1 January of

next year, are summarised here and below:

- Five new substances have been added to the List for 2013. These are the Controlled

Medication substances Cyclosporin, a systemic immunosuppressant; Tropicamide,

which affects the central nervous system and has a potential for abuse; Pitcher Plant

preparation (Sarapin), which is reputed to have analgesic properties, a potential to

affect performance and its use is considered to be a welfare concern; Delmadinone

acetate and Chlormadinone acetate, synthetic steroidal progestins that decrease

testosterone concentration and have the potential to affect performance;

- Fentanyl and Morphine (analgesics), both of which are currently classified as Banned

Substances, will be moved to the Controlled Medication section of the List in 2013 due to

their increasingly common legitimate use in equine medicine;

- Suxibuzone, which converts to Phenylbutazone in the body and is currently listed as

Phenylbutazone, will be listed separately under Controlled Medications;

- Deslorelin, which was categorised as a Controlled Medication substance in the 2012 List,

will be removed from the 2013 List.

- “The FEI List Group seeks to use the most up-to-date scientific research and information

as part of its ongoing review of the Prohibited Substances List,” said Graeme Cooke, FEI

Veterinary Director.

- “The National Federations and all the Veterinarians involved in our sport are very much a

part of the consultation process and all comments received on the initial suggested

changes, which were first proposed in April of this year, were discussed by the List Group

prior to the changes being finalised.

- “Publishing the changes to the List 90 days in advance, in accordance with our rules,

means that the National Federations and their athletes will have plenty of time to

familiarise themselves with the changes well ahead of the 2013 Equine Prohibited

Substances List coming into force on 1 January next year.”

- The 2013 Equine Prohibited Substance List will be accessible prior to 1 January 2013 on

the FEI Clean Sport website. Additionally, information is now available on the

searchable FEI Equine Prohibited Substances Database, which is free to download

for Smartphones.


Nov/Dec 2012

BHS Accident Reporting Website -


The data collected is important to help bring changes in the law in areas such as The Highway Code.

Some of the types of accidents are:

- traffic accidents

- dog attacks

- low flying aircraft/helicopters


Hopefully these will soon also include metal drains, which leads me to this really serious matter and the

subject of the attached BHS cross drains statement. Please, please, please avoid going over these drains

wherever possible – your horse may well be good at stepping over them, but if it does drop a foot into one,

the outcome can be disastrous.


(You will be aware that there have been a small number of serious accidents due to horses hooves

becoming stuck in metal drains. Ruth has been chasing up on this and the BHSS statement about cross

drains is attached. Ed)


Nov/Dec 2012

Equestrian Safety Notes

by Ruth Riddell


I recently went to the BHS Scotland Equestrian Safety Conference 2012, so perhaps it’s a good time to

remind members to stay safe out there. Here are some pointers:

- carry ID on yourself

- carry contract details on your horse (dog tag or luggage/key fob attached to the saddle)

- display emergency contract details on your trailer or lorry

- carry insurance details in your vehicle


Please also check your hat for wear and tear and remember “the best make of hat is the one that fits your

head properly.”


Sept/Oct 2012

Advice from the BHS on the subject of Harvest Time Highway Etiquette


This actually applies to all road riding and is only common sense but perhaps worth reminding folk.

Horse riders encounter farmers and enormous tractors throughout the year. However, this risk is

heightened during harvest time when large combines, trailers and balers are moving from field to field at

their busiest, possible most stressful, time of year. BHS has received several reports of horses unseating

riders as a result of heavy machinery being driven in a business like fashion down narrow country roads

through  The sheer size of the vehicles can be frightening for horses, and the

combination of additional machinery exacerbates this.... more


Sept/Oct 2012

Access issues - Horse Dung on Tracks & Access to Balmedie Beach

Ruth Riddell, who represents our interests on access in Aberdeen writes:


A complaint had been raised with the local councillor that horses were fouling the path between Westhill

and Kirkton of Skene (multi-user path which runs parallel to the country road). I walked the path and

there is virtually no mess, and most walkers and cyclists saw no problem. I spoke with the nearest livery

yard owners and they will remind their liveries that it is courtesy to remove or kick to the side any muck on

paths which are so heavily used by other members of the public. Matter closed.


Access to the beach at Balmedie. The main horse access is now unpassable due to large stones at the side

of the boardwalk. This looks like a combination of more stones and also the rain washing away the sand

from around them. We believe the stones were put there in the first place to stop vehicle access. As the

boardwalk itself is not safe for horses, this means the only access is up and through the dunes - which is

not an ideal solution. I have contacted Aberdeenshire Council but not been able to speak to someone (due

to their jury service). Ongoing.


Sept/Oct 2012

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 ground.... more


July/Aug 2012

Access to Newburgh Beach


Those of you who ride, or plan to ride at Newburgh Beach should be aware of the new arrangements for

gaining access to the car park with your lorry or trailer. Only two horse vehicles will be allowed in at any

time and the keys must be obtained from Newburgh Golf Club on the day. A preliminary phone call may be

worthwhile; Tel 01358 789058.

This change is due to irresponsible use of the car park key by a group of riders and it is up to SERC

members riding from the car park to respect the privilege this access provides.


July/Aug 2012

Horse Riding on Headlands and Field Margins

Guidance from the BHS


The British Horse Society (Scotland) is concerned that some horse riders are behaving irresponsibly by

damaging crops as they ride through or around cropped fields, and have issued a plea to all riders to

familiarise themselves with their access rights and responsibilities.... more


May/June 2012

Mar Lodge


Mar Lodge, part of the National Trust for Scotland is now offering holidays for horses.

To find out more about the Horses Welcome package and introductory offer, contact Fiona McCulloch at

Mar Lodge Estate by calling 01339 720163 or emailing her at Alternatively,

follow the links to the Horses Welcome website at For

enquiries about any other National Trust for Scotland holiday property, go to or call the

Holidays Team on 0844 493 2108.


May/June 2012

Clashindarroch 2012

Ruth Riddell, Clash RO


This is one of my favourite rides. Having been part of the team that put on the first ride here many moons

ago, I love coming back and reccying the tracks - just as well as its 40 miles from home – but to spend a

few hours walking, cycling or driving (we get permission) around the forest enjoying the wildlife and a

wee picnic with a great view - it makes a grand day out.... more


Mar/Apr 2012


From Nicky Price

Just to let everyone know that the Grampian SERC Facebook page has been updated. There are reminders

about rides and threads about everything from 'the best riding tip', advice about 'the best towing cars' to

'everyone's aims for the season'... along with a regular caption competition!

Members and non-members are encouraged to view our page which can be found by searching for

'Grampian Scottish Endurance Riding Club' in facebook where you can also request to become a member.


Mar/Apr 2012

Assistance dogs are working dogs too - please sign the petition

A plea from Mary Rasmussen – a courageous blind member – and her wonderful guide dog Campbell

Hello All,

Hope you can help us achieve a debate on this in the House of Commons! Please do if you can. This saving

on VAT can go a long way to achieving a partnership like mine with Campbell. Please pass to those who

might help who are on your contacts list.

Best wishes to all!


The Scottish Government has pledged to support Linda Fabiani MSP’s motion to have assistance dogs

reclassified as working dogs so that they can benefit from their food being exempt from VAT. For Guide

Dogs this would mean a saving of around £40,000 a year in Scotland and a total of £300,000 throughout

the UK. The HMRC’s definition of a working dog is based on the food they eat not the work that they do

and ‘Working dog food’ is high in protein.

Minister for Enterprise , Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP said he intended to respond to requests

from members from various parties to write to the UK Treasury and invite it to consider the case and to

explain why it cannot act to zero rate. He will also invite the Treasury to act as quickly as possible,

preferably in the budget that is forthcoming in a couple of months’ time. Conservative MSP Jamie

McGrigor is also going to write to Treasury ministers to make a case for a derogation for assistance dogs.

You can help by signing an e-petition that has been launched at to lobby the UK Parliament as HM Treasury is the

department responsible for VAT. Please get your family and friends to sign this because if we get 100,000

signatories, it is eligible for debate in the House of Commons.


Julie Millar

Engagement Manager

Tel: (0845) 37 27 436

Fax (0845) 37 27 437

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

Axis House

12 Auchingramont Road





Celebrating 80 years of extraordinary partnerships


Mar/Apr 2012

Congratulations to Donna Hemming and Cumbria Sameh on winning the Distance Rider Trophy with 270

points.  This is the horse and rider combination with the most points, the best 4 results from any

competitive or gated rides to count. Donna also won the Trooper Trophy with 140 points. This trophy is

for the combination who achieve the most points from the “Gold Series” rides declared at the start of each

season by the Club Committee. Yvonne Thomson was awarded her 5000km engraved trophy.


Mar/Apr 2012

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! .... more


Mar/Apr 2012

The Caledonian Challenge Account

The Caledonian Challenge Account was created from money received as compensation after SERC

had to cancel a planned FEI ride when an alternative ride was set up in England on the same date.

The Club Committee decided to ring fence this money for possible future FEI rides. Since then, the

Committee decided to use some of these funds to support our members as follows:

UKCC Coaching & FEI Officials and Riders Grant Scheme

The Club Committee are keen to support the development of our members by making grants

available to assist in the following areas:

- New and existing UKCC coaches

- New and existing FEI officials

- SERC horse and rider combinations entering FEI classes

Application forms are available on or

contact Lindsay Wilson.


Mar/Apr 2012

From Lynda Keeler – our international selection committee representative.

If you are looking to be selected for the Novice position on the team you should not go above

11kph at any of our SERC rides until further notice. The AGM rule change for the Novice

horse (age 5 and age 6) which states that you can do speed category 2 does not apply to

the Novice position on the Home International or Celtic Challenge team so if you want to be

considered for the team please bear this in mind and keep your speed under 11kph.

As our Chef d'Equipe says: "Slow and steady wins the race, hurry scurry spoils the curry!"

Happy Riding but please all prospective Novice Team members remember to keep speed

down to under 11kph and do not do any classes over 50km - that means NO 51KM OR

52KM - it has to be 50km and under.

If you are thinking of putting your name forward for the Novice position please don't hesitate

to give me a call to discuss any queries.

Just a reminder that the Northern Assessment day takes place on:

Saturday 31 March at Dores, Inverness and the Viewing ride (North): Sunday 1 April at


You can still attend the Training weekend even if you don't want to put your name forward

for the team. It's a great chance to learn more about your sport - we are hoping to have

someone talking about fitness and nutrition (tbc) so do get in touch with Nancy and put your

name down for this interesting and informative weekend. Contact details for Nancy Murdoch

as follows: Telephone: 01236 766702Mobile: 0797 427 0050 Email:


Jan/Feb 2012

Scottish Regional Group Arabian Horse Supporters (SRGAHS)

are looking to promote links with ourselves through a variety of methods. The following were agreed:

• Reciprocal links on both websites.

• They will promote SERC rides in their newsletter.

• SRGAHS shows will include classes for In Hand and Ridden Endurance Horses at their 3 events:

      -  5th May Spring Show, Fountain Equestrian, Goval, Dyce

      -  2nd June Group Show, Ingliston

      -  18th August Northern Show, Fountain Equestrian, Goval, Dyce.

• 8th September Versatile Arabian Event, Fountain Equestrian, Goval, Dyce.

• They will give discounted membership to members of SERC.

Further information is available on their website


Jan/Feb 2012

Forestry Work – Extract from FC Newsletter

From time to time we have to close woods and trails due to tree felling and other operations

which can be dangerous if you get too close. Here is a list of our current closures:

Culbin, near Forres - tree felling work at Wellhill/Buckie Loch/Findhorn Bay areas of the forest

until March. Diversions will be in place. Please obey all signage.

Ordiequish Moray Monster Trails, near Fochabers - Gulley Monster/Soup Dragon/Dragons Tail.

Tree felling work will result in weekday closures of the trails from now till end January. They will

reopen at weekends. Please obey all signage.

Kirkhill, near Aberdeen - part of the red trail is closed to horses for the foreseeable future, till

remedial path work is carried out. To avoid the small section that is affected, continue on the forest

road and rejoin the route after 800m.

Advance warning - part of Countesswells (Kingshill section only), near Aberdeen - tree thinning

work will be carried out, probably in the new year. This will affect some of the trails in this section

of the forest.

Advance warning - Scolty, near Banchory - tree felling work on part of the red trail.

Diversions will be required from mid to late December to end of March.


Jan/Feb 2012

Forestry Work – Extract from FC Newsletter

New Car Park Charges

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is in the process of increasing the number of car parks at which

we apply charges for car parking. Over the next few months you will see new meters at nine of our

sites around Moray, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire.

These car parks will be Kirkhill, Foggieton, Countesswells, Scolty, Bennachie Centre, Back of Bennachie,

Culbin (Wellhill), Whiteash (Winding Walks) and Roseisle.... more


Nov/Dec 2011

The Club Ride Omnibus is published on This is a “live”

calendar and you can get updates on the “Ride changes” page. Detailed information on each ride will be

posted nearer the ride date.

A hard copy may be produced by Borders Branch in the New Year which will be available to buy.


All members should have received a copy of the EGB magazine. If you did not see this please let Ruth know.


Nov/Dec 2011


This is already in our rule book, but the FEI are encouraging random drug-testing to take place next year

at all levels of our sport.


Nov/Dec 2011

New Barefoot Trophies for 2011 Freya van Midden has kindly donated these two new trophies

which will be awarded at our AGM in February 2012

Inca Trophy:

Barefoot Horse (wearing of boots allowed) with the most gold awards over the season from any

competitive classes ridden in any branches in Scotland, irrespective of rider.

In the event of a tie, the trophy will be shared.

Barefoot Pleasure Trophy:

Barefoot (wearing of boots allowed) horse/rider combination, with the most completed pleasure rides over

the season ridden in any branch in Scotland.

In the event of a tie, the higher pleasure mileage wins.


Sept/Oct 2011

Forest of Deer weekend

This was a weekend of two halves. On the Saturday we had all the classes up to the 80 kms ER and what an exciting finish that was. The crews said that the first 3 were vying for the win, and it was close. The three horses came over the open field and round the corner into the finish straight at full belt with Iain Paterson and Donna Hemmings neck and neck and Francis Bakker in hot pursuit. They thundered up past the finish and did a wide loop of the parking area. Iain got Primo's head across the line first but unfortunately got spun on high HR as Primo got chilled in the nippy wind (otherwise OK). Full results are listed elsewhere, so Donna duly took the win.

Then the rain and wind intensified and I spent most of the night listening to the torrential rain and 50+ mph wind.  I went to check the horses a couple of times and they were stoically standing quietly in their corrals. Then it was back to the live weather and hoping the weather would move just a few miles North or ease sufficiently to let us have our ride on Sunday. However, it wasn’t to be and I had to make the decision to cancel the Sunday classes. I’m afraid it took some time to text or phone everyone, so I apologise to anyone who didn’t get the message soon enough to save the drive to the venue.

And before I close, I have to say a huge thank you to all the helpers who did such a brilliant job over the weekend. We could have done with a few more, especially beforehand as I ended up having to mark the route back into the venue on the Saturday morning and I was then late opening the barriers on the Longside section of the railway – apologies to everyone affected. But back to the helpers, I’d especially like to thank Donna who checked every inch of the tracks (with the exception of the new route back into the venue), marked the forestry and Longside loops and demarked the forestry; Arlene and Carola worked especially hard to co-ordinate the entries and helpers for this weekend; Angi and Karl made the bridge over the cattle grid and helped mark and demark; Lorna did us proud with the helpers buffet; and each and every person on the list below. Thanks a million.


Some photos from Forest of Deer are on


Sept/Oct 2011

Nine Stanes – notes from riders

Well - I don't know about Kirkton Manor but Nine Stanes was wet enough. Many thanks to Katie Keith who organised the route along with Alison Carrington who sorted me out stabling and marked a lot of the route. Also to stalwart Ruth (CS) and to all the helpers in the caravan who stayed cheerful despite the weather. Katie had found some new, lovely grassy tracks for the ride and even though I had to repeat the 30 km route with Obi to gain his STQ it was certainly not a chore, despite the rain showers. Total of three wet coats during the ride though.

Hope you have all dried out now.


It was a great ride. Loved it. Boysie and I had such fun. And all the more special for Boysie getting his first BTQ with hr 46 at 10.6kph. Although 12yrs, in his novice year and not a natural athlete like Maisie (at Clashindarroch) who is only 6 and novice but now has her BTF comfortably. He definitely liked all the splashing and almost dived into the second ford - bit like one of those Water World theme parks for horses at times!  But what makes the Grampian rides so much fun is they are very well organised, well marked and folk are just so helpful and friendly. And great to see all the pleasure riders out there.

A special thanks to Allison (Lady Vice C) who made Candy and me so welcome at the stables and gave me lots of support. Also to Arlene for her patience with my registrations.  Sorry I did not have time to stop and chat at the end. Keen to get home. A96 was closed with flooding at Keith just as we arrived back home! Lucky.  See you again. Maybe make it to Mintlaw.


Thanks for the email and the link to Toria's photographs.

It was a great ride and so pleased that we got to do the canter track at Nine Stanes woods - always wondered what it was like. Saddles all cleaned and polished and raring to go for the next one.


Karl & Ryan, Tricky & I all had a great time on Sunday. An excellent ride, lovely venue, good tracks with a nice mix of off/on road. Really enjoyed the track thru the trees up Knock Hill, made the horses think! We will definitely be going back to Nine Stanes again.  Thanks to all involved



Sept/Oct 2011


After almost 2 years of non-competitive rides due to injuries I was so looking forward to taking La Rouge [Ria] to the Scottish Endurance Championships being held at Perth Race Course at Scone. This time she would be travelling with Judals Just Dreamin [Pharoah] her field companion. We set off at Lunch time from Netherley in the glorious sunshine and on arriving at the venue set up our corral where the two horses had plenty of company.

I was doing 31km on the Saturday and Sarah (Pharoah’s owner) was attempting her first 50km as a Bronze Thistle Final grading. Sadly we wouldn’t be able to ride together as these were different classes and the route was not the same.... more


Jul/Aug 2011

Last Day of the 2011 Scottish Championships washed out – literally!

Despite heavy showers on Friday and Saturday, riders enjoyed 2 days of excellent, if a tad slippy, riding, with excellent marking, and great views (when the weather permitted).

However, while finishing off our excellent supper on Saturday, the heavens opened again and unknown to us, the local stream that runs along the side of the venue, burst its banks and started pouring through the venue field itself. Tents, cars and caravans were engulfed in water within 20 minutes and it was a case of all hands on deck to extricate any dry clothes/bedding from tents and move them above the high water mark.... more


Jul/Aug 2011

Marlene Arthur’s account of the Perth floods may well be only one of many but it seems to catch the mood exactly.

I don't really know where to start ... but I was getting truly frightened when I realised that we were in the middle of a flash flood.

It had rained constantly from the moment we all arrived at the venue in Perth Racecourse on Friday lunchtime. We had thunder and lightning Friday and Saturday but we all just got on with the Champs as planned. As Molly Atkinson once said, we knew it would be "wet, very wet or very wet indeed". It turned out to be the latter.... more


Jul/Aug 2011

Clatt Ride, Sunday 5th of June 2011. Report from Joan Austen

This year the weather was in our favour and the ground the best that could be hoped for. The Chairman of the Hall committee kindly supplied a tank of water in case of a heat wave(!!) and thanks to the last minute loss of the ‘away’ vet gate (due to withdrawal of the 80km distance), and Carola’s enthusiasm, there were lots of helpers.

The ride route covers forest, moor and field, the road work is at the beginning and end and is overall a relatively small proportion. There is plenty of different going, and for some their first experience of wide open spaces and long hills, so is truly a fittening ride as well as a chance to see some magnificent views.

Thankfully our two bits of excitement were resolved happily – Marion and Blue were reunited (after several hours apart), and Lucy’s horse loaded – the ground was cleared and the landowners, professionals and helpers thanked in appropriate ways (sorry if anyone was missed, you were all appreciated). Hopefully everyone had a good day.


May/June 2011

Grampian Branch Fleeces and Rugby Shirts, and SERC Trailer Stickers


We have a number of good quality fleeces in black or navy with the Club logo embroidered in gold.  They are front opening with a full-length zip.  There are also rugby shirts, also with the Club logo, and SERC trailer stickers. These are usually in the caravan, if not, please ask.


Dark navy fleece (medium) .................................£20 each

Black fleece (M, L, XL) ........................................£20 each

Yellow and black rugby shirts (S, L, XL) .........£5 each

Trailer Stickers..........................................................£2.50 each

The fleece sizes are ‘neat’, so you may wish to buy one larger than your normal size.

The rugby shirt sizes are generous.

The trailer stickers are A4 or 210x297 mm.


Cheques should be made payable to “SERC Grampian”.


May/June 2011



There will be a charity ride at FINZEAN estate by kind permission of the Farquharson family and organised by the Aberdeen Supporters Group of the Brooke Hospital for Animals.  The ride will start at 6 p.m. followed by a BBQ.  Sponsor forms will be available - the cost of the ride is £25 but if you can raise more than this the Brooke will be highly delighted.  Please contact Linda Moncur Anderson at or Sue Fogg at for Entry Forms.


May/June 2011

The Clash – Inside Looking Out


Not the Clash but our Clashindarroch, the first ride of this season.  Blessed by the weather which was both sunny but with a gentle cooling breeze at least at the venue, it was a perfect day for ride in the forest.  It was a pleasure to be there even as a humble helper in the caravan.

However, back at the venue and interned in the caravan, it was a typical first ride.  Which bits of tack or crewing items were left hanging in the tack room is unrecorded although on this occasion everyone had brought their horses, saddles and hats.  Don’t laugh, over the years, on previous first rides, all of these vital objects have been forgotten by someone.

When it comes to paperwork it was another story.  We don’t expect non-members to have medical cards but Marlene Ralley, my competent and trusty assistant, handed out many of these to members too.  Vet writers were handed blank vet sheets and a very significant number of white Mileage cards and Competitive Master Cards were also not filled in.  Whilst Marlene and I were glad to do these additional clerical jobs, if you had to wait a little longer than usual for your rosette, this could just have been the reason.

However all is forgiven since I too have sinned in the past but please do remember these simple things and make the next caravan prisoner’s life a little easier.



May/June 2011

Aberdeenshire Sports Council Awards


Roger and Brenda Searle went to the dinner on 11/3/11.  He was awarded runner up for Outstanding

Achievement. They said they thoroughly enjoyed the evening. He also picked up a Certificate of Nomination for the Club of the Year.


January 2011

Growing with the Miles by Carola MacCallum

Article originally written for the Arab Society newsletter.


I have shared my life with Stazi (Sandy to his friends) for two and a half years now.... more


November 2010



The Ragwort plant (Senecio jacobaea) is a pretty yellow flowering plant that is absolutely deadly to livestock but especially to horses because it contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids.  The one saving grace is that it doesn’t taste good but once cut and dried is edible and still retains its toxicity.  These toxic compounds principally cause damage to the liver that can lead to death.  It is most important, therefore, that humans take precautions when handling the plant i.e. wear gloves and face mask.... more


November 2010

“No man is an Island….”


Roger Searle sets an example in perseverance in pursuit of the elusive Gold Thistle.


On 19th September, at the Highland Fling, Forest Hunter completed his Gold Thistle: I had the great good fortune to be his rider. We had been together at SERC events for nine years; this was our last ride.... more


November 2010

Best Conditions at 2010 Grampian rides













Pat Dorward










Marlene Ralley










Roger Searle


Forest Hunter








Kerry Sutherland










Pat Dorward










Yvonne Thomson










Iona McDonald


Mig Too







Nine Stanes

Candy Cameron


Woodstock Friday Man








Gayle Scougall


Rass Vivaldi





2nd STF



Donna Hemmings


Cumbria Sameh








Jo McIsaac


Summer Time







Forest of Deer

Carola MacCallum









Forest of Deer

Mel Lewis


Hringur fra Skaroi








Arlene Parvin


Rodeo Goldrush








Pat Dorward










Penny Howard









October 2010

Learning to Crew or Being thrown into the deep end

By Carola MacCallum

Someone once told me that the great thing about working with horses is that you never stop learning.  ......more


July 2010

Tahuna – Typhoona

What do you do when the rain is sheeting down, the wind is blowing a gale and

the sand is flying enough to strip the paint off an oil-rig? .... more


March 2010

Thanks To ...

Pat Dorward and Marlene Arthur who put in a lot of work into trying to arrange an

early season ride for us at Loanhead- weather conditions in the lead up, work in the

forestry and on the tracks and a lack of entries unfortunately their hard work is not

resulting in a ride- but there work is not unnoticed!

Thanks also to Carola McCallum who has arranged fellow member and Instructor

Viv Law to come along to Loanhead and let a few of us have a leg stretch with the

horses to some music in the indoor school- hopefully letting us learn how to make

schooling a bit more fun and working on the horses rhythm with the music.


February 2010

Congratulations to Clive Pollitt who has been accepted as a 3* FEI Judge and Chief Steward.  We are aware of how much time and effort this training entails.


February 2010

Helping Hands - an open letter from Jenny Milne ... more


February 2010

Hydration, it’s more than a drop in the bucket

by Lucinda Stapleton

Hydration is very easy to balance in humans but is not that easy to balance in horses. .... more


January 2010

Goodnight Sweet Prince…

Katie Keith writes a Farewell to Prince of Copperview, Arlene Parvin’s brave and fun-loving Highland pony

On Hogmanay 2009 Arlene had to make the awful decision to have Prince put to sleep. He was very ill with an infection which had led to internal damage and despite Arlene’s loving care and the hard work of the vets at Ardene Veterinary Hospital he would not have recovered and so wee Prince has crossed the Rainbow Bridge…

I was lucky to get to know Prince this year and got really attached to the hairy grey Highland pony who became a wee project to keep me busy after Jack’s injury at Ludlow and this year’s chaos in my personal life. Thanks for that Arlene; it’s amazing how your friends know what the best therapy for you would be!

Prince was only 4 years old and he was a cracking pony with so much promise. In the summer we had fun hacking out, fittening him and bringing him on. He had a great character, cheeky and stubborn but also intelligent and affectionate. His first outing was to my Drumtochty ride in August. Poor Prince got the shock of his life at his first endurance ride and the stubborn streak came out in full force! When faced with the hilly course he planted his feet and said NO WAY! I had to get off and pull him up all the hills and we were hopelessly out of time. When I got back I announced that riding Price for 10 miles was more exhausting than riding Jack for 50!

However, with his first Pleasure ride under his belt he began to blossom, going beautifully round Forest of Deer and Blairgowrie, his determined wee legs going 19 to the dozen! Arlene and I were very proud of him as he began to show his potential. In October we had a lovely day out in Blackhall forest with Arlene riding Nicky and wee Prince going along behind him in his own sweet time! He came with me to Riding Club training with Hamish Cameron, who was very admiring of him. It was his first lesson and his first time in an indoor school, he was understandably a bit puzzled, but we laughed and enjoyed ourselves loads!

The last few rides I took him on were round the stubble fields as the evenings grew shorter. He was a forward going Highland and liked to canter through the stubble, putting in the odd cheeky buck out of sheer joie de vivre!

I made plans to take him to Intro dressage at Riding Club and to take him and Jack to pop some cross country jumps in the New Year. Arlene rode him three days before he died and said he was his usual cheery self, slithering a bit in the snow but happy to be out.

Dear Prince, you gave us happy times in your short life and you were very, very loved. Sleep tight wee man, we will all miss you.


January 2010


A well-written and informative article from Lucinda Stapleton (Horse Quencher UK)

<>  .... more


September 2009

Holidays on Horseback

Carola & Judith spent some fun days at Mar Lodge

My new year's resolution, amongst many other more boring ones, was to have as much fun with my new horse, Stazi, as possible. .... more


January 2009

It has been agreed to introduce a 40km class to give those that need to prepare for that distance as part of the Scottish Team and to put proposal to AGM to change distance points accordingly.
• Ride entry fees 2009 – no change. Fee for 40km class = £18.00 for members.

January 2009


Update on Endurance & the Pony Club
Pony Club UK has recently announced that it is launching endurance as one of its official disciplines in 2009. Work is currently ongoing on this proposal, which includes Pony Club having its own UK committee, established rules, distances and end-of-season national championships in the future, in conjunction with the national governing body Endurance GB (EGB). 

It is, as yet, not clear how the roles of EGB and SERC will relate to Pony Club in Scotland. Meantime, Pony Club in Scotland is happy to continue with the support it has received from members of SERC at local levels on the introduction of endurance at grass roots level through local branch rallies, camps and training events. There are several proposed rule changes being put forward for the Club AGM in the light of this, to bring SERC into line with EGB.


January 2009

Health Exemption Certificate
It has been agreed to introduce Health Exemption Certificates as we have members and ride participants who have a health problem of a chronic or long-term nature (e.g. MS), which make it difficult for them to know until close to the ride whether or not they will be fit to participate.  Equally the Committee know that to continue to participate in physical and social activity is beneficial for some of these conditions in so far as it is possible. The Club has a clear ‘equal opportunities’ policy which encourages us not to discriminate against participants on grounds of health or disability.
Therefore the Medical Exemption Certificate will be issued based on self-certification that the member has a chronic or long-standing condition which makes their health unpredictable, production of a medical certificate is not required.
Once issued, the certificate will enable a rider to routinely request refund if their health condition at any point in the 14 days prior to the ride prevents participation.  The ride entry form has been adapted to include the provision of a tick box so that holders of a MEC can make the ride secretary aware at the time of entry and should the rider have to withdraw, their entry will be refunded.
To apply for a Medical Exemption Certificate [MEC], members should write with their details to the Club General Secretary.  All applications will be dealt with in total confidence.


January 2009

Membership renewals run from 1st January –

Membership forms were sent out with the Club newsletter – please pay up!  They should be returned to our Membership Secretary, Katie Keith. Your membership should have been renewed by 1st January and this is the last newsletter you will receive if you have not done so.

If you are wondering “Why join?” and what do you get for your money, we offer the opportunity to ride in many diverse places. Members get a discount on entries, third party insurance, friendly advice and the opportunity to have your horse assessed by an experienced vet, who often will take a great deal of time to talk to you after the ride if you have a problem. 

If you have a friend who is dithering about the discipline, then “Starting Endurance Riding” by Claire Wilde is an excellent little book published by Threshold Picture Guides No 41.


December 2008

Birham Trophy

Brenda Searle, who donated the Birnham Trophy, has been in touch concerning the qualifications for this award which, you will remember, is currently for the most senior member with the highest points for the year. She feels that with the experience of the past two years this is too restrictive and perhaps militates against older riders who do shorter distances of pleasure rides.

She has asked that the conditions of qualification change to  "The senior rider 60 years or over having ridden the greatest accumulated distance in the season"

 Those wishing to be considered for this award would need to have had their sixtieth birthday on or before the 1st January in the year in which they qualify, and to notify the archivist.  This is a handsome trophy and well worth winning!


December 2008

SERC on Facebook!

We now have a facebook group called grampian scottish endurance club – so if you are on facebook – join in!.


December 2008

No Passport, No Rescue!

Should you have the misfortune to be stranded by breakdown or accident - professional transporters may refuse to carry your horse if you cannot produce the passport. So it is wise to carry the correct documentation, even if you are just taking your horse out for a few miles for a lesson or hack in the forest!


December 2008


Graeme Hunter MCVRS With a talk on WORMS AND WORMING

on Tuesday 9TH December at 7.30 at the Torryburn Hotel, Kintore.  Price £5. Everyone welcome.

Any queries, contact Julia Gourley at or 07789 094021


December 2008

Le Trec
Our next practice day is on Saturday 13th Dec at Cobblehouse Stables near Turriff, starting at 11am. Please let me know how many of you are coming as we may have to split into groups if there are too many for the school. Cost is £10 per head. We will be doing bending, ridden "S" bends, ridden corridors (they are as narrow as the led ones) and control of paces.

Bring your own snacks etc

Liz Watts.  07800 608385


December 2008

BHS Scotland warning - please pass on - Helicopters!


Horse Riders be warned - Low flying helicopters in all areas of Scotland over next fortnight.  The RAF has 4 Puma Helicopters based at Leuchars in Fife for the next 2 weeks on exercise, they will be flying in all areas, both day and night.

The BHS advises in order to give the pilots a chance to avoid flying directly over you while out hacking please wear HI-Viz gear at all times, as usual on the public highway but also while hacking off road and even schooling.

Any Queries ring Helene in 01764 656334

Helene Mauchlen
BHS Scotland, Woodburn, Crieff, Perthshire, PH7 3RG


October 2008

The Scottish Equestrian Association is conducting research into equestrian participation in Scotland and equestrian associated activities. This will help improve understanding of participation levels and aid support and funding across the equestrian sector in Scotland.

Please spare a few minutes to fill in the short survey. All input is important in order to appreciate the breadth and depth of equestrian activity in Scotland. Please also pass this around to as many people as
possible in order that we can get as many responses as possible. The link to the online questionnaire is:


October 2008

Glenariff Endurance Festival, 9-10 August 2008

Glenariff Forest Park, County Antrim, Ireland

A Scottish flying finish was the triumphant end to a weekend that saw Scotland sweep the board at the Glenariff endurance festival in Northern Ireland  ....more


October 2008


For anyone who hasn't heard, Katy Hazel Parvin was born on the 11th July 2008. Arlene and her husband Kevin are having lots of sleepless nights and yes the horses are not getting exercised as much as they should be!


August 2008

Team selection!

Grampian has 3 members selected to go to Ireland next week for the Home International and Celtic Challenge. Congratulations go to Lisa Maitland and Aztec, Lorna Hogg with De Marco, and our chairman Jane Hollstein, with Polmailys Lord Abu.

We wish them a safe journey and a successful event. You will be able to follow team updates and progress on the forum.


August 2008

Capercaille Interbranch Challenge and Perth Weekend

A team of four Grampian riders took part in the Capercaille Interbranch Challenge at Perth on Saturday 28th of June. They were:-

Morven Lawson - Pleasure

Lisa Maitland - 30km

Lynda Keeler - 50km

Kate Robertson - 60km

Everyone of the team performed exceptionally well and as a team finished a close 2nd just pipped at the post by Dumfries branch.


Some of the other branch achievements during the weekend were:

80K ER  - 1st - Katie Keith
4th - Jane Hollstein (GTF)

80km CTR - Tony Comerford (STF)

60km CTR - Fiona Munro (STQ)

As Perth racecourse is the front runner for next years championships, this event was a great warm-up and the venue, routes and organisation were all of a very high standard.


August 2008

Branch Merchandise

We have the new club merchandise which is be available to purchase.  Jenny Milne has attached a link to show the style of fleece.  The colours available are either dark navy size medium & large, or black in XL with the Club logo. There is limited stock available and they are sold at £20 per garment.  The fleeces will be available at the caravan along with the rugby shirts (black and yellow) of a few years ago which are at a knock down price of around £5-10 each.


August 2008

BHS Grass Sickness Sponsored Ride, Run, Cycle or Walk

Just a final reminder that we have re-scheduled the Equine Grass Sickness Fund Fundraiser to Sunday September the 28th when it will take the form of a Fun day at Traquair Village Hall as well as offering a variety of lengths of horse ride, cycle, run and walk (with or without dog)!
The schedules will be out shortly!
Anyone who wishes to donate a prize or sponsor the event is welcome to get in touch!
Any ideas or offers off live music, street theatre, stalls, clowns or face painting gratefully received!
Please circulate this early 'heads up' around any of your friends or clubs that may be interested.
We want this event to be a 20th anniversary celebration of the work of the Equine Grass Sickness Fund as well as a very full day of fund raising activity.
Helene Mauchlen, Scottish Development Officer for British Horse Society, Woodburn, Crieff, Perthshire, PH7 3RG
01764 656334 or 07808141077


August 2008

Castles Story by Jane Hollstein
The day after Grampian Castles ride I spoke to Fiona McLeod who was riding with her wee lad, Hadyn, and Bridie Davis and daughter Hannah, to say a big "well done" for completing one of the most challenging Pleasure rides in the whole Club!...... more

June 2008

Congratulations to our Branch members who took part in Lothian’s Hillhead ride:

Kate Robertson with Lady Bathsheba won the 120 km ER, in a phenomenal 9 hours 46 minutes, at a speed of 12.90 km/ph with an amazing Heart rate of 52 bpm!!!!!!!

Lorna Hogg and De Marco came 5th in the 120 km ER in 10 hours 16 minutes at 12.27 km/ph with a fantastic Heart Rate of 60 bpm! after only a few minutes.

Katie Keith and Jakhiri achieved their Gold Thistle Final in one attempt, a distance of 85km, at 13.53 km/ph with a Gold Heart Rate of 48 bpm!!!

Well done to you all - incredible achievements which take years of dedication, enthusiasm and commitment.


June 2008

Sad news from Ruth
There’s no easy way to say this.  Samee died suddenly last month.  She was found dead in the field in the morning with no visible injuries or evidence of trouble in the field.  This was a huge shock as she was looking great the last time I saw her and she was only 22 (her mother lived to 42, not that I expected Samee to reach that age, but I did think she would make around the 30 mark).  This happened while Malcolm and I were away on holiday and I couldn’t get back to be there so it’s been hard to come to terms with it.  I bred her from Hameda who I had bought after knowing her since the '70's (before some of you were born!), so it's a huge chunk of my life.  Ruth Riddell
The Committee and members offer their condolences to Ruth at this sad time.


March 2008

An enjoyable “Drop in”

Those of you who were unable to come to the “Drop in to Endurance” morning on Saturday missed an enjoyable and informative time. This was a very friendly and informal gathering and those who did turn up, ranging from newcomers to very experienced riders, all chatted freely and went away better informed. We can all learn from each other’s experience, and there was a great deal of swapping boots (horses), trying saddles, discussing the merits of massage therapy, heart monitors, how the new rules might affect you, etc. all on a one to one basis.

Our grateful thanks to Lorna who made it clear that the rules are not that difficult, Katie Keith who showed individuals how to use heart monitors, Arlene and Emma Parvin who brought (and sold) some lovely tack, Janice Thomson, who brought her car loaded with half her tack room and gave lots of advice; Kate Robertson who discussed the training of horses up to the highest levels, Leon who showed most of the stuff you may need in your crew car or back at the venue to get your horse ready for the vet; and Clive Pollitt who had a great deal of interesting (and often home-made) kit and gave advice on getting through vettings.  Jane and Douglas were on hand to answer and ask any questions and Douglas performed the essential office of catering with tea, coffee and chocolate biscuits.


January 2008

Breaking news ..Argent of Ballydougan announces his retirement from Grampian Branch rides - at age 15 and a half.

Lizzy Thornton sent this piece last November,

Archie is sure there will be a few sighs of relief from various Officials and Clipboard Ladies as he was notorious for breaking loose, scattering all and sundry persons/equipment/articles in his wake. His usual excuse was to see what other equines had in their buckets...... more


January 2008

The Versatile Quarter Horse By Susan Jacyna

Simon and I live in Keith and are lucky to have really beautiful riding country on our doorstep.  Orinoco (sire Venture Max, dam Waccabuc Jr) is now ten and I bought him from Joan Cadzow when he was a just-backed and very green 3 yr old....... more


September 2007

My Versatile Arabian

Katie & Jack’s view of the SRGAHS Versatile Arabian Event

The summer of 2007 has been memorable for most people as incredibly wet, and for me, as one of many some amazing highs and crashing lows. The week of National Arabian week I should have been travelling down to Swindon to compete on the Scottish team at Barbury Castle....... more


July 2007

Blackhall ride report  from Highland branch member Fiona Monro 

Fiona & Nico – intro to Grampian

Well our first Grampian ride has come and gone.  We were fortunate that the venue field was nice, big and flat and Nico found the grass very tasty!!  The usual nerves kicked in with me, from the moment I awoke that morning and by the time I reached the yard I had probably double dosed on Rescue Remedy as did Nico before loading.  Lorna came with me to support our first ride back to SERC after being off since July last year.  Nico’s pre-ride heart rate was 48 and I (or rather Lorna) found us fabulous riding duo in Donna and Sameh.  Their paces were very similar as were their spooky moments!!  Would have enjoyed the ride even more if there were more canter opportunities, but the ground was hard and very stony in part.  We managed a couple of canters passing by the river though.  Nico and Sameh found the ascending hills quite a chore towards the end, but soon perked back up when we were descending down the final section to the venue which was a particularly fine moment, given that Donna & I were both soaked through by this point.  Always nice to see a photographer on route and Nico suitably posed for her, so dying to see how that looks.  We came through the finish and averaged 10.7km/hr.  No need for cooling down as the dreach day managed to do that for us.  Post ride heart rate was 52/50 and if it hadn’t been for him straining himself to look at something else, we may very well have been down to 48!!  My horse was a little star given that he did the ride carrying more weight than he should be (he, not me, I was referring to his tum).  But I am just glad that the two of us enjoyed being back at SERC and it wouldn’t have been possible without Lorna, (not forgetting Monty), Donna & Sameh.  Topping off my day was Nico loading in his new trailer without too much hassle.  Big smiles all round.  Thanks very much Grampian Branch for making my first ride back an enjoyable one without the threat of getting lost on route due to fabulous marking.


May 2007

A wonderful Surprise at Balmoral

A report from Yvonne Thomson

The BHS  Diamond Jubilee Ride at Balmoral this year turned out to be a real surprise....... (more)

For photos of the event, click here   For further information, contact


May 2007

Drummuir Ride report

By Mary Stelmach

Drummuir is always a popular early season ride offering distances from 80k downwards. It attracts riders from our neighbouring branches who are ready to try an early 80k or wish to use it as a training ride for the Golden Horseshoe. ...... (more)


May 2007

Greens of Afforsk, Blairdaff (alias The Easter-Egg Hunt Ride!)

Ride report by Lynda Keeler

Little did I realise when Lorna said there would be a surprise for us at the Greens of Afforsk ride that it would be a hunt for Easter Eggs!  ....... (more)


March 2007


Australian Physiotherapy Pilates

Kate Robertson is restarting classes on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday evenings at Kemnay, Alford and Huntly respectively, commencing 16th April.

Pilates can improve your core stability, fitness, flexibility, improve posture and help you feel invigorated.  Do you think a fitter rider would benefit your horse? If so contact Kate on 019755 62436 for details. 


March 2007


Therapeutic Grooming

Eight lucky horses and their riders attended Pauline Kidd’s Therapeutic grooming session at Drumnagesk. Lucky, firstly because the weather was kind enough to allow it to happen, and secondly because it was such a unique and beneficial experience. Pauline began by observing each horse in walk and trot to assess its general well-being, i.e. stiffness or lameness, and then embarked on a process of all-over touch and light massage. Her infectious enthusiasm and practical hands-on approach, using a very laid-back demonstrator horse (unlike our jumpy Arabians) was a memorable way of getting to grips with each individual horse’s sensitivities and thus its aches and pains. As a point of interest I think all the horses exhibited at least one sore bit. Likewise most of the riders admitted to sore bits, often a mirror image of the horses’ problems. Therefore surely our individual imbalances greatly affect our faithful mounts – a point to consider and work to eliminate, maybe using this technique.

Therapeutic grooming is an all-over assessment and gentle massage of every muscle in a horse’s body – I would recommend it for every horse.

Of particular interest to endurance riders, this technique could be used during and post ride, at vet gates and pre-ride vetting as a way to identify any tightness in muscles, sensitivity or soreness.

Tony Comerford

Our thanks to Tony for organising this interesting and useful event.


March 2007


Glen Tanar Ride Report 2006

From Yvonne Thomson,  Ride Organiser, writes an interesting story on organising a new ride........ (more)


March 2007


Kirkhill – A Great Success

Ride report from Ruth Riddell

Congratulations to Gundula and Lorna for a great success with the Kirkhill ride on Sunday.  We were very lucky with the weather, not only the wet weather beforehand to soften some of the hard tracks, but the wind during the previous week to dry off the surface to provide some of the best going we have had at Kirkhill for some time.  Then on the day, we had a nice cool wind which was excellent for everyone except the vetting team – I hope they have all thawed out now.

The new tracks seemed to ride well – no compulsory walk or industrial estate, less tarmac and in their place a few new “less well known” connecting tracks to give a bit of variety.  Added to that, one or two planes coming in to land and the occasional train going under the bridge all added to make the route a nice outing after what seems like a long winter.

We had lots of new faces (and some old – or should I say well-known – faces too) and lots of smiling faces at the end of the day which makes it all worthwhile.

But the main reason for the success of the day was the time and effort put in by both Gundula and Lorna beforehand and the attention to everything to ensure that the ride ran smoothly.  Well done to you both.


March 2007

New Members

Grampian Branch would like to give a warm welcome to the following new members: Donna Hemmings, Angus Nesbit, Mark Nesbit, Iona McDonald, Arlene Killoh, Judith Barker, Claire Wallace, Freya van Midden, Christina van Midden, Katharina van Midden, Jenny Milne, Morven Lawson, Jacqueline Christie, Susan Duncan, and Mr & Mrs Duncan Hynd

And welcome back to Linda Taylor, Yvonne Monro, Kathy Meyer, Michael Lomax, Willie and Janet Keith and Angela Horrod who have all rejoined us after having had a break.

Please be assured that most members enjoy sharing experiences and advice relating to endurance so don't be afraid to ask- although preferably not if we're standing waiting to vet our own horse!


January 2007

Christmas Fun Day on 28th December

Our thanks to Tony and Karen Comerford who ran this enjoyable day.  A number of riders expressed regret at not being able to attend as it was a very icy morning.   Tony and Karen wrote the following report.  ....... (more)


November 2006

New trophy

This new trophy is called the Schadow Trophy.  No, my wonderful Haflinger Schadow is not dead or sold on; she is still very much with me and still enjoying her endurance. 

I decided to give this trophy to Grampian SERC  to encourage and reward the riders that for reasons of their own do not do big miles or very long distances and have the pleasure of achieving a reward for their efforts and enjoyment.  Riders going the longer distances already have many trophies to aim for.

This trophy is for the most Golds for 30 miles  (48 km) and under.   The Golds can be from other SERC branches as well as Grampian.   It is surprising how many miles you can ride in a year just doing twenties or thirties. 

( I hope to win it myself some day!)

You may say that we already have a Gold trophy.  Yes, I gave that one too; the Cresta Lee Trophy, for the most Golds in a year for all distances.

Yvonne Thomson 


November 2006

Strathdon Ride

Report from ride organisers, Karen and Tony Comerford.

From the organisers’ point of view, the ride on 15th October was a breeze! A small entry, all of the riding variations on a 36km loop, and we had lots of helpers. ....... (more)


November 2006

A Happy/Warm day for Whitehaugh 2006

Ride Report from Kate Robertson (with a sigh of relief)

Happy – because we had strong, knowledgeable people in charge – including Dawn Saunders as first-time Chief Steward, Janice Thomson as Vet Writer, and my husband Hugh as essential background support. These three were the back-bone of the organisation on the day and proved a formidable team. The warm glow came from Mandy Craik’s Mum’s gorgeous chocolate cake, sampled by the majority!

Huge thanks go to Yvonne and Dawn for marking the pleasure ride, Robert Keeler for sense of humour and start/finish timekeeping; Kathleen Howie and Pat Williams for Caravan/results, sign-maker Anna Craik; typing expert Leona Whiteoak; Forest Enterprise for lovely riding tracks; and Hugh for all his hard work cutting back broom and gorse.  Apart from the memorable chocolate cake, Mandy found helpers, made all the packed lunches, and most important of all – boosted the morale of the fraught ride organiser – what a friend!

Hugh and I demarked all the routes ourselves – no offer of help with that task. Thanks also go to Raynet, vet Heather Simpson and Farrier – the special Ken Playle.

Perhaps new members and those who do not help with rides might realise just how many people we need to put on even a small ride – just 16k and 33k – making together a 49k.  Even though it is hard work, you make new friends and have good fun. 


August 2006

Jack in the Box

Have you ever watched someone trying to load a difficult horse? Wanted to help? Felt sorry for them? Shaken your head in disbelief? Like many problems, it looks less complex from the outside looking in. ......... (more)


May 2006

Coloured Tail Ribbons - by Marlene Arthur

I've always assumed most equine owners are aware of the "colour coding" of horses tail ribbons:

Blue for stallions ie. if you have a mare in season, you'd better steer clear of him.

Green for novices and youngsters ie. please pass wide and slow and at a reasonable speed.

Red for kickers ie. please look out and stand well back (my horse falls into this category)....... (more)


May 2006

A Finnish Horse's First Year in Endurance - by Lynsey Gordon

The best thing I ever did was to buy Valittu, otherwise known as Dino, a 14.3hh palomino Finnish horse which I bought from Kirsi and Mika Malaska when they came over to Hayfield Riding Centre. He had spent his first years competing in trotting races ...... (more)


May 2006

Helping at Rides - by Tracey Banks

Yes, these 3 horrible words that everyone loves to hear – helping at rides.  Our rides can only take place if we have enough volunteers to run them.  There are a number of jobs you can do so I’ve decided to give a brief description ........... (more)


July 2005

20 Mule Team 100  by Clive Pollitt

In 1880 a team was established to haul borax from the Harmony Borax Works in Death Valley and the Amargosa works near Shoshone to the railhead at Mojave.  These 20 Mule Teams soon became a legend, .................(more)


February 2005

GRASS SICKNESS – my part in its downfall – by Dawn Saunders

Like Tony and Karen (Comerford), I too lost a pony to grass sickness.  Within 24 hours of being diagnosed he was gone.  So five years down the line I was devastated to come home from holiday and find our little black Shetland, Magic, obviously in the throws of it too...... (more)


January 2005

Mud Fever: Getting It Right by Kieran O’Brien MA MVB PhD MRCVS

EqWest Equine Veterinary Clinic, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8QA

Mud fever is very common in the Arabian breed, due at least in part to the high prevalence of white legs.....(more)


December 2004

Equine Grass Sickness

Just over a year ago I lost my horse to Grass Sickness.  It has taken that year and a new horse before I felt able to write about it....(more)


October 2004

Hitting The Wall and Electrolytes by Clive Pollitt

In a recent ride at St Fort, I had the pleasure of riding with a group of 40 milers, one of which was using the ride as a Silver qualifier.  This was to be her first 40 miler and she was full of confidence  that, based on previous rides, both rider and the horse were well prepared and would have no problem doing a 40.....(more)


October 2004

Drumtochty 2004 Ride Report

(This was sent to your editor from a member of Tayside Branch)....(more)


August 2004

Grampian Rider To “Go The Distance” For Scotland

The profile of Endurance Riding has been raised considerably recently as a local member of Grampian Branch of the Scottish Endurance Riding Club has succeeded in being selected to represent Scotland in October 2004.....(more)


August 2004

75 Miles at Cirencester (76 actually)

Cirencester Park, is part of the 14,000 acre Gloucestershire estate owned by Lord Bathurst. It is home to the Cirencester Park Polo Club but on the 18th of June it hosted a 75mile and 100mile FEI ride run under the auspices of Endurance GB....(more)


August 2004

A Short Ride in the Hills by Simon Jacyna

The West Highland Pony Camp is an innocuous title for one of the most unusual and demanding challenges in Scottish riding. Started in the 70s by Teddy Gray of the Garry Gualach Outdoor Centre the challenge is simple – organise a horseback expedition in the Scottish Highlands covering at least 35 miles with one night away to finish at a given destination on the first Friday in June. .....(more)


April 2004
And Finally, Some Thoughts From Rob Winmill

The US standard railway gauge is 4 ft 8.5 ins , a very odd number : why was that used ? -- Because they built them that way in England and English expats built US railways.....(more)

February 2004

A Small Drama Turns Up Some Interesting Information By Elaine Wafer

If you are thinking of starting the 2004 ride season with a new riding hat you may find the following story of interest.

My preferred model of hat is the Advanced Tech Helmet made by International Riding Helmets who are an American company.....(more)


December 2003

Afraid! Be Very Afraid (Riding on the roads)

For once the sun was shining and there was just a gentle breeze as I got ready to ride, the usual saga of white hat and fluorescent tabard and almost white horse surely I was visible.  So off we went hoping for a pleasurable couple of hours.....(more)


March 2003

"No Shoes, No Clothes, No Hoose!"  A poem
Here is a Little Poem which Angi Long wrote.  (It was inspired by a comment from Morag (Nickki Groat’s sister) when she found out that Angi and Karl Leye’s horses are wintered out and barefoot)....(more)