Welcome to the December newsletter, where we simply had to use a nice photo of the very prestigious award that Aberdeen Riding Club won. We were awarded the HorseDialog sponsored “Club of the Year” at the Horse and Hound awards (held at the start of November at Cheltenham racecourse). It was lovely to be awarded it and it was a great chance to further awareness of what our club does and what it stands for. Thanks to all our members who both nominated us and voted for us!
XMAS AND NEW YEAR LESSONS
It’s nearly Santa time! Our staff all have a bit of a well-deserved break over the Xmas period, meaning that we go onto “skeleton” lessons from Saturday 22nd December to Friday 4th January (inclusive). This means that we run lessons each day (apart from as detailed below) but that we run fewer lessons at slightly different times. This allows our team of staff to have extra days off over the festivities as our rota has to be organised to cover all the holiday days as well – horses need fed/mucked out and checked every day – even if it’s Xmas! Our receptionists have the list of skeleton lessons so if you are riding between 22nd December and 4th January, please visit reception soon to find out what lessons are on and to book your space.
The riding school is completely closed on 24th December, 25th December, 26th December and 31st December, 1st January and 2nd January. We’ve had a few requests over the years to run competitions/games days e.t.c. on Boxing day and 2nd January, but we think it’s really important that our horses and ponies have a nice festive break too and can have a few days off so we close for those days only.
GAMES AND FUN AFTERNOON
We still have some space on our “games and grooming” afternoon on Saturday 22nd December – it runs from 2.30pm to 4.30p.m and is suitable for beginners upwards and 5 years and older. It’s a great fun Christmassy afternoon (and an ideal chance to tire out excited little Santa children) so if you would like to book a space, it’s £20 per person and can be booked through reception now.
Yup, the rumours are true – Sally is letting a Christmas tree be put up in the coffee area. This is progress – it’s the first Xmas tree we’ve had at ARC in 15 years ☺. The point behind the tree is that we are aware that many of our members, particularly the younger ones may like to leave a wee present for their favourite horse or pony. The tree will be up from Sunday 2nd December and from then on members can leave gifts under it. Please follow these guidelines with any gifts for our ponies:
- Gifts should be small and inexpensive – please don’t spend much money on them as our ponies don’t understand the value of money and we want everyone to feel they can put a gift out. If you would like to spend a bit more on a gift for the ponies, Murphy would like to suggest that you instead make a donation to the Cash for Kids Christmas appeal and donate a toy to a local child instead.
- The ponies favourite gifts are polos, extra strong mints, soft mints – any kind of mints really. They also like carrots, apples, turnips and in some cases, bananas.
- Please name your gifts clearly – e.g. To Murphy ☺
- Our staff will give out the gifts to the ponies between Xmas and New Year and take photos of them getting their treats.
PRIVATE LESSON BOOKINGS
The January private lesson bookings will open on Thursday 27th December at 10.00 a.m this month rather than the last Monday (which will be Hogmany). Bookings will work as normal (Ali is working that day) where you can either come in person to book or you can call – the last two months have been incredibly busy for private lessons, even with us adding on several extra slots (including a full Monday evening) and limiting members to booking 2 prime time slots. We would advise that anyone who wants to book a slot at a weekend or evening tries to call in the morning the day that the bookings open – the phone may often be busy as Ali answers everyone, but please just be patient and keep trying!
We are still selling gift vouchers in the run up to Xmas and they really make a great present. Gift vouchers can be used by anyone of any standard from 4 years upwards and they have an expiry date of 6 months on them. As our vouchers are for monetary amounts, they can be used as a credit for any service we offer – group lessons, private lessons, walkies, livery, stable management training, career exam training e.t.c. If you would like to purchase a voucher, you can either do so in person at reception or you can call us to pay for one and we can post it out to you.
ACHIL AND HIS FUNGUS ☺
So Achil has been back at the vets – after he had his last tooth extracted, he got snotty again and luckily Alice at Ardene had swabbed the sinus and it turned out that Achil had not only a bacterial infection (which was cleared with the flush, tooth extraction and anti biotics) but he also had a fungal infection, which wasn’t cleared obviously with anti biotics. So he went off to Ardene again and spent five days having his sinus flushed with anti fungal treatment and is now home and (fingers crossed) recuperating well. He will be back into lessons fairly soon as he is comfortable and happy after the tooth extraction. Thanks to everyone at Ardene for all their hard work getting Achil sorted (hopefully, fingers crossed!)
As our members know, we were “gifted” Trojan (a coloured cob) a couple of months ago by a local family. Don’t worry – Trojan hasn’t disappeared! He was undergoing treatment for a sarcoid behind his elbow prior to us taking him on and the area that had been treated to remove the sarcoid burst open a bit a couple of weeks after he came back. Likely cause was that the wound had almost healed too quickly initially, but it’s looking great now and he’s almost ready to return to some kind of work to get fit again!
2018 ROUND UP
It’s been a brilliant 2018 at ARC, with lots achieved and lots to look forward to in 2019!
Whilst the weather was lovely in Spring/Summer, we had to work really hard this year to bring in a haylage crop – the hot, dry Spring meant that we lost a wee bit of the crop as it started burning on the fields and the crop was down across the board, meaning that we had to buy some haylage from other suppliers and the general cost of making it and buying it in went up a lot, but as normal John Rugg did a brilliant job of liaising with all the contractors and getting in as much haylage as possible.
We were awarded a lot in 2018 ☺ We were “Scottish Riding Club of the Year”, we became recognised as a Training and Assessment center for the BHS, we became an Accessibility Mark approved club (RDA) and then we won the Horse and Hound “Club of the Year” award last month, providing National recognition.
We were delighted to see two of our liveries – Libby Charles and Catriona Boxall selected for the Scottish under 18 (100) team and see amazing other results in from liveries who we train.
We also started our therapy riding sessions on a Tuesday afternoon and were the recipients of a £2000 community grant from Cala Homes which subsidised the sessions. We continue to support the ARC Hippotherapy group, who are going from strength to strength and have now raised enough funds to purchase their hydraulic mounting platform.
Our staff (along with our horses) continue to be our best asset – 2018 saw Richard leave as he returned to England, but Laura has proved to be a really popular coach, taking over from Richard. 2018 also saw us all give Martin our very best wishes as he married his fiancée Kirsty – they are currently on Honeymoon in South Africa so hopefully, they are having a brilliant time.
We have a lot to look forward to in 2019 – we are launching a new website, we are hosting our first career assessment for the BHS, we have our big annual fundraiser in February/March (details to follow) and we will be setting a date for the August show soon!
All that we have achieved and hope to achieve is only possible thanks to you guys – our members, so we hope that you all have a brilliant Xmas and all the best for 2019!