April Newsletter

Hi everyone and welcome to our April newsletter! We thought everyone would like to see Gizmos wee cheeky face looking out from his stable where he is undergoing box rest and treatment for his broken pedal bone. April sees us looking forward to some nicer weather at ARC, so fingers crossed for some sunshine and lots of opportunity to start getting out of the indoor arena into the outdoor and enjoying the fresh air!


As many of you have seen from our club Facebook page, Gizmo is still doing as well as can be expected with his pedal bone fracture. He has now done over 7 weeks box rest, with a cast change on his sore foot and he is being the model patient. At his cast change he had no pressure sores from the cast – this is great news as we can only check the top of the cast – without x-ray vision we can’t see into the bottom of it, but it looked great when (several) vets came to change it. He has the current cast off in 10 days and the plan then is that he will be re-x-rayed and if healing as expected, he will be moved into a supportive shoe (fitted by our excellent farrier Jason Sim) and remain on box rest for a bit longer. He was delighted to see all the Get Well Soon cards that our younger members drew for him, and he is still happy to have visitors to his stable to give him a groom/cuddle/pat. We just ask that you don’t give him any treats please as we want him to be lean and ready for starting his walk exercise when the time comes – if he gets overweight this will obviously have a detrimental effect on his healing.


Our eagle-eyed riding school members will have noticed a dark brown pony standing in the riding school stables and appearing in lessons with our staff member Freya on her. Holly (2) is owned by a local family, and they asked if we would try Holly to see if she would be suitable for the riding school as she needs a job to do to keep her weight down as she suffers from laminitis. Trying ponies for the riding school is quite a lengthy process as we obviously can’t just put them in a lesson with members riding them and see what happens J So Holly has been ridden for 4 weeks now by Freya, one of our staff. She has had her feet done and new front shoes fitted (she didn’t need shoes previously). She is now at the stage where we are happy, she is safe enough to start joining group lessons (with Freya riding her) so we can assess her in that situation – so some of our very young group lessons will have benefitted from Freya riding as lead file for them recently- this is all part of the process of us assessing Holly’s suitability. So far, Holly has been great in every situation – she is good to handle, well behaved in lessons and seems to have the right temperament to help riders, but we’ll be assessing her a bit more in the coming weeks before we decide whether to keep her or not.


Our members may remember that last year, we pushed membership renewal to 1st June (from 1st May) and did a hefty discount due to Covid restrictions through 2020/2021 – this was really well received from our members, and we were delighted to be able to recognise the support our members gave the club during lockdowns. We are pleased to announce that despite our costs increasing by fairly scary amounts, we are going to freeze membership price again this year, so membership fees will be due on or before 1st June 2022 and as always we offer a discount for those members who pay in advance (during May). You can pay either by bank transfer or by card (in person or over phone) and if you pay in May the discounted rate is:

Single membership – £120

Family membership – £220

(Family membership is for 2 adults and up to 3 children who live at the same address)

After 1st June, when membership falls into arrears the non-discounted rate is:

Single membership – £130

Family membership – £240

Livery members will be invoiced for their membership in their June bills.

As ARC is a members’ club, we require all riders to be members – there are many benefits to this which mean we can keep the cost of your riding as low as possible, but if you have any questions about membership then please don’t hesitate to contact Sally or Ali at the yard (or by email) to ask.


We wanted to just take a minute to assure all our members that we are very aware of the scary rising costs that everyone is experiencing and let you all know that we are doing everything in our power to control our costs to ensure we don’t have to make any price increases.

Like all of you, we are currently dealing with hugely increased power costs (and our electricity bills would scare most people!) and it has also come at the worst time for us, as the increase in cost for some items (fertiliser/bale wrap/fuel) is hugely affecting what it costs us to make our haylage – costs are up over 40% so far on last year’s crop. We are also unfortunate victims to the new legislation that the government has introduced on rebated (red) diesel. The new legislation (as of 1st April 2022) details that feeding livestock, using tractors for ground/field work and off-road use are all permitted reasons to use rebated diesel. Unfortunately, we’ve been advised that the fact that we have horses on site “trumps” all the other criteria – so whilst farmers can use rebated fuel to feed their animals in winter, golf courses can use it as they are “leisure” and need an off road tractor, we aren’t permitted to as we are feeding horses and using our (off road) tractor for field work for horses fields L Sally has been writing to MPs about it to try to argue the case for why a tractor is required for horses, but sadly it seems another area (like many Covid grants etc.) where we will be financially punished – unfortunately, despite how much work we have done in making horses more accessible, it still seems at times like it is viewed as an elitist luxury, but we will keep banging the drum for accessibility!


We will be fixing the play area over the next couple of weeks after it was victim to the big storms this winter – so we have new trampoline netting, new swings and we are also going to put a fence around that area. It is really popular with all our younger members and a lot of local kids, so we’re keen to get it all fixed up again. Just a polite reminder though that once it is open again, parents need to supervise children when using it – far safer that you take your coffee over there and watch our younger visitors than you leave them to it.


Gemima or “Gemoomoo” as we like to call her (due to her resemblance to a Fresian cow) has been with us at ARC since 2007 when she joined us as a 5-year-old. She is now 20 years old and has lost none of her character with age 😊

Sally first met Gemima when she went down to a horse dealer, we bought a lot of horses from in Carlisle. Sally was looking at a 16.1 horse (which wasn’t any use) and as part of the viewing process, Sally was always invited into the yard caravan for tea and cake after she’d seen the horse she was viewing (and to haggle on price 😊 ). As the horse was no good, Sally was just sitting chatting with the dealer about life in general, when she looked out the back window of the caravan and saw a cute wee piebald pony tied to back of caravan.

“What’s that pony” asked Sally and “I’ve no idea – she just arrived” was the answer. As the pony had just arrived at the yard, it wasn’t fair to tack her up and see her ridden so Sally went and looked at her standing tied up. She clearly had lots of character and wasn’t a fan of being tied up, but Sally thought she was a lovely looking pony and asked the dealer to send her to Aberdeen if she was remotely pleasant when ridden.

Gemima arrived in Aberdeen a week later and has been a great school pony ever since. She is very comfortable to ride and is particularly good at teaching riders to canter as she is voice controlled. She also loves her jumping and won the bigger jumping class at the August show one year, beating even Henry (much to his disgust).

Gemima likes a nice quiet rider who keeps their hands low and doesn’t kick too hard – she gets annoyed if anyone kicks her too hard and grinds to a halt or comes into the middle of the arena. This makes her particularly good at teaching our younger riders to ride softly and respect the pony they are riding. Gemima also works with the ARC Hippotherapy Group and Deeside RDA, and she takes that part of her job very seriously.

Gemima has lived in for the last couple of years – as she gets older, it is harder and harder to control her weight at grass (she literally just needs to look at grass to put on weight) and she has soundness issues with her front feet if she is out on too much lush grass, so she tends to be stabled and just turned out to stretch her legs.

She is a brilliant wee pony, who is a real favourite of the boss ladies, because she isn’t afraid to tell riders what she thinks and reminds everyone that horses are living, breathing animals that both have opinions but are also the best coaches – Gemima is worth her (considerable) weight in gold 😊

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