December Newsletter

Wow! Hard to believe it’s December this month so we thought we’d put a nice sunny pic in the newsletter to cheer everyone up from the rather dull weather! December has come in with a thump for us this month with no power for 4 days (and counting) since Storm Arwen. As we write, we have no date of when the power is expected to return, but we are just grinning and bearing it at the moment! Many thanks to all our members who have been understanding of us having to cancel lessons and us having to “think out of the box” a little with how to contact you all with no phone lines or mobile coverage at yard!

The reason we have been cancelling lessons during daylight is that we don’t have reliable mobile coverage whilst the power is down – our decision was based on the fact that we potentially would not be able to call for assistance or medical assistance quickly. The mobile coverage is slowly improving back to its normal (excellent) coverage, so hopefully we’ll be able to do daytime lessons very soon – the evening ones obviously require power for lights

Xmas Timetable/Skeleton Lessons

The riding school at ARC will be closed on 24th, 25th and 26th December and the 31st December, 1st and 2nd of January.

With the exception of these days, from Wednesday 22nd December to Tuesday 4th January (inclusive) we will be running “skeleton” lessons which is where we run less lessons, at slightly different times to allow for our staff to have some extra time off at Xmas/New Year and also because quite a few of our members go away over Xmas and New Year.

You will be advised in reception of which lessons are available for you/your child during that time so do please just pop in and ask if you want to ride during that time.

Gift Vouchers

We offer gift vouchers for purchase, which can be a great gift for riders (or parents!). Our gift vouchers work as credit notes – you can use the voucher for any type of provision we offer so riding (private or group), BHS assessment training, stable management (including Pony Stars) and birthday parties. If you are interested in purchasing a voucher, then please just email Ali at

lessons@aberdeenridingclub.com

Covid Guidance

With the discovery of the Omnicron variant of Covid, we thought it was a good time to remind everyone of our Covid guidelines at ARC. These remain unchanged for many months now as our view is that if they stay the same it is far easier for everyone to remember what to do:

Masks must be worn at all times in reception, toilets and coffee area.

Social distancing remains at ARC – when in coffee area/on yard/in lesson. Do please continue to both respect each other’s space and that of our staff.

Hand washing – we request that everyone (including junior members) wash their hands on arrival and then use sanitiser after touching contact points (sanitiser dispensers are around building). Members and visitors should also wash their hands prior to leaving – there is an additional toilet next to Achil’s stable with hand washing facilities to save you walking all the way round the building. Reception remains a one-way system – come in the front door at car park and you can walk through the coffee area, but you need to leave via the side door prior to re-entering reception area.

Pony Stars

Our Pony Stars continue to be really popular, and the kids are really enjoying them. We have a regular weekly session on a Monday at 4.30p.m with Laura and a Saturday at 10.30a.m with Liam. We also have an additional Pony Stars session in the Xmas holidays – Wednesday 22nd December at 10.00a.m for 3 hours. If you would like to have your young member attend, then please just email Ali – lessons@aberdeenridingclub.com

BHS Assessment Training

We will continue to offer training for BHS assessments (Stage 1 – 4 including 2 and 3 coach) during 2022. We have not yet committed to putting on any BHS assessments at Stage 2 or above in 2022 as we want to see what type of demand there is and there are a few aspects we still need to organise and discuss with BHS, although we’d be confident that we will end up doing quite a few in 2022.  We continue to run BHS Stage 1 assessments under the devolved format so if you would like to do any aspect of your Stage 1, then just let Ali know and we can get it organised for you. For BHS assessment training, we do it on an individual basis, so just get in touch with us with your requirements.

Christmas Tree

Yes – it will be appearing soon – despite ARC being run by the Christmas grinch (Sally) J As per previous years, we would request that members don’t buy expensive gifts for the ponies – the method of members putting carrots/apples/polos e.t.c. under the tree works great and we always have good fun at Xmas going up and giving the horses all their treats on their days off.

You can either just put a package of them under the tree, or you can wrap them and specify on them which pony/horse you would like to receive them, and we’ll make sure they go to the correct horse or pony!

December Training

We have the following sessions on in December with Sally, which you can attend either in person or via Starleaf video call, or by requesting a recording if you can’t make the time of the event.

Saturday 4th December (4.30pm – 5.30pm) – “How we use horse behaviour and body language to work in partnership with them”. Sally will work with a few different horses on the ground (including Dixie/Jaffa/Teddy) to demonstrate why horses behave in certain ways and how we can improve things.

Friday 10th December (5.30pm – 6.30pm) – Equine First Aid. Sally will cover a range of things that help us to deal with horses who have injured themselves or need care until the vet arrives. This will include wounds/abscesses/colic.

Saturday 11th December (4.30pm – 5.30pm) – Building a grid. Sally will cover distances/types of fences that are beneficial and why we use certain exercises.

Friday 17th December (5.30p.m – 6.30p.m) – Equine Business Management. Sally will cover social media use for equine businesses and different methods of marketing your business.

We hope everyone has a lovely Xmas!

The Story of Chester

Chester is a lovely 16-year-old chestnut gelding who we bought in early 2021 as a schoolmaster for flatwork private lessons. Chester is a full thoroughbred, which surprises many people as he looks “chunkier” than people imagine a thoroughbred would – however he is pretty muscly (as is a fit racehorse) but his muscle development is more in the areas you would expect of a dressage horse rather than a Flat or National Hunt horse.

We heard about Chester through a local coach, who messaged Sally to ask if she knew of anyone looking for an experienced schoolmaster. Chester had been in the same home since he was a 5-year-old and his owner was now looking to travel more, so a good home was a real priority for Chester’s old owner.

Sally asked if the owner would consider selling him to ARC and after a bit of discussion, Sally met the owner at ARC to show her round the centre, discuss how our horses were managed and where Chester would live. Luckily for us, Chester’s owner approved of us and the home we could offer him, so Sally then went to see Chester being ridden at his livery yard and thought he was great for ARC.

Once we had bought Chester, we did x-rays of his front feet due to his age and to make sure Jason the farrier had the best opportunity to get his feet balanced. We bought him a nice dressage saddle and then he was ready to go and started doing private lessons. Chester is used for private lessons only (unless a coach is riding him) as his biggest asset is how nice he is down the rein contact. To protect his way of going in the contact, we decided private lessons were best for him as the coach could really concentrate on the rider’s hands. Chester is incredibly valuable for our more advanced riders as he gives them a really good feel for riding lateral work and is also pretty popular with our liveries when they want a lesson to work on their position and contact.

Chester is a bit of a precious boy who likes a very specific routine, so he is turned out on his own (next to Achil and Henry) for day turnout only – he likes to come in at night even in summer. He is a huge fan of people – like a big friendly dog! He adores people visiting him and patting him, but you may want to take a polo if you are going to see him as he has seriously smelly breath

We recently had Chester tested for Cushings disease, which is where the horses pituitary gland starts misbehaving which results in them having a big variety of symptoms that are metabolism related – in Chester’s case, he grew a weirdly thick coat and had weird thermoregulation – he kept breaking out in wee bits of patchy sweat when it was a cold day so his blood tests showed he would benefit from a daily medication for rest of his life. The condition is very treatable and doesn’t affect Chester much – just a tablet a day required to keep him healthy

He’s a very experienced chap that has competed up to medium dressage successfully, so is really the best flatwork teacher of us all!

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