February Newsletter

Hi everyone! The pic above was taken when we had no power (again!) and were up delivering hay to the fields – no power but at least we have lovely views to enjoy!


Firstly, a big thank you to members who have been so good at checking for Facebook updates this last weekend during the storms – it makes our life so much easier that you guys are so engaged and comment on posts so quickly when we have to cancel as it hugely reduces the list of riders we have to call.

We know it’s frustrating when you have been looking forward to your lesson (it’s frustrating for us too as we love coaching you all) – but you have all been so understanding when we have called or posted on Facebook. Gale force winds do not make for very pleasant lessons and as always, we want to prioritise that our staff are safe turning out/catching in the horses and ponies, so you guys all make it much easier for us! We have had more days without power this year than any other that we can remember (and some of us are proper old!) but our view is the same as previously – it costs us a lot in income (the last 7 day period resulted in around £5000 less sales) but we are not as much of a priority as care homes, or elderly or vulnerable in these situations so we are happy to wait our turn to be powered up again!


We are going to be running stable management closer to the “old” routine during the Easter holidays (fingers crossed for no more restrictions!) so the day will run from 10.00a.m till 2p.m. We are also going to be running the stable management as “Pony Stars”.  One week will be beginner (aimed at those who are riding in walk/trot and have not done any stable management yet) and the second week will be Novice stable management (for riders who have done more than 12 Pony Stars sessions already and are on “Dartmoor Dazzlers” or aiming for “Welshie Wizzers” (the next stage up once Dartmoor Dazzlers are completed).

Dates and costs are as follows:

Beginner (starting out with Dartmoor Dazzlers) – Mon 4th April – Thurs 7th April inclusive.

Novice (more than 12 Dartmoor Dazzler sessions or aiming for Welshie Wizzers) – Mon 11th April – Thurs 14th April inclusive.

For those booking the whole week, each day includes a riding lesson and the cost for the week (including the hour lesson) is £185. This option includes booking your pony of choice for the week (to ride too).

We also want to offer a less intensive/expensive option for those who want to do some Pony Stars so there is also a shorter option (10.00a.m – 12p.m) each day covering just the stable management aspects and those will be £20 per child per day. Young members can do as many or as few of the days as they like at the correct standard. E.g. a beginner Dartmoor Dazzler could attend Mon and Thurs or all 4 days or just 1 day, but they couldn’t attend the Novice Dartmoor Dazzler or Welshie Wizzers.

For those who need to purchase Pony Stars packs for the course, we can provide these through reception, and they are £25 for the whole pack, which has the bag, stickers, rosette, and the learning booklet which has loads of great games in it for doing at home too.

Bookings for both the full week course with riding and the shorter day sessions will both open on Monday 7th February at 10.00a.m – you can call or email to book for it. Payment for the short-day option is payable on booking and for the full riding course a non-refundable deposit (we will refund if we can fill your space) of £75 is payable on booking.


We will be running the following training during February for anyone who wants to further their learning a bit! All sessions cost £15 per hour, with the exception of the career’s information one, which is free of charge as part of our commitment to further learning/education in equestrianism. If you’d like to attend any, then just let Ali know by emailing lessons@aberdeenridingclub.com

Friday 4th February @ 5.30pm – how horses see/think/learn – all about horse psychology and how understanding it helps us develop a partnership. This session is best attended online.

Saturday 12th February @ 4.30pm – how to improve your dressage marks – this is a practical session with riders and horses working at prelim/Novice/BE 80 or 90 level. We will be watching riders go through a test and then making small changes to how they ride it/how accurate it is to gain improvement. This session can be attended in person or online.

Saturday 19th February @ 4.30pm – using raised poles – where/when/what types of exercises – again this will be a practical ridden session with horses and riders and can be attended in person or online.

Friday 25th February @ 5.30p.m – careers information session – Sally will be chatting through different equestrian careers and in particular BHS career pathway qualifications and the course that ARC partners on delivery of – HNC/D at SRUC (Equine Studies) – this session would be useful both for those who are already working with horses, but also for those thinking of it as a career, school age individuals and parents who may be interested.


Can we just remind everyone that you need to let reception know if you are here for your lesson – if you don’t want to go into reception that’s absolutely fine – just shout in the door that you’re here and whether you are coming next week. This includes riders who pay by BBC – whilst we keep most of your block booking cards in reception, we still need to know if you are coming next week.

It’s also important for safety – reception needs to know who’s in each lesson as its starting – so please just give us a shout in the door or come in and note down that you are here/coming next week, and we can make sure you are down for the lesson. Thanks!


Cyrus did his first couple of private lessons last week now he has his new saddle and has had a wee holiday. So, he will be appearing in more group lessons soon – mainly adult ones as he is a bit of a giant, but he’s a real gent so you will all really enjoy getting to know him.



I (Sally) remember my first sighting of Dixie in the Summer of 2003. I had gone over for a meeting with the old tenant at Oldfold (who ran a riding school there prior to us moving there) and the meeting involved me seeing their coaches and horses working (as we would be employing the coaches and using the horses if we moved there). There was a kid’s lesson going on, which was working as a ride and there was a rather alarmingly angry looking albino in the middle of the ride. She was waving her head about everywhere and then when she got to the front, she took off to the back as fast as she could go. She seemed very solid in that she wasn’t bucking – just cantering very fast but it was fairly clear she wasn’t a fan of her current bit.

We moved to Oldfold in 2003 and Dixie joined our care and we bought her in 2004 when we bought the other school ponies. By that point I had become a real fan of the slightly grumpy looking albino 😊 We changed her bit from a metal one to a soft rubber one and that made her happier in her contact and she got a new saddle.

Dixie is now in her mid – late 20s and has been an amazingly kind and generous school horse in all the time we have owned her. Dixie is used for beginner/novice lessons – she used to do more advanced lessons and jump bigger, but as she has gotten older, as with all our horse team we have adjusted her work to suit her age and what she likes doing. Her unique “superpower” is that she tries where possible, to catch a rider who has lost balance. I have seen Dixie slow down when someone has lost their stirrup – not because they’ve pulled the rein, but because she knows slower is comfier for them. I’ve also seen her stop and turn slowly to catch the rider who was sliding off the side – for all she pulls scary (or funny) faces in the stable, she is literally a Saint.

Dixie has had her share of ailments over the years – we have to be very careful with her when the sun is out – she has to be smothered in sun cream because her skin burns so easily due to the lack of pigment in it. She also, around 10 years ago had a career ending soft tissue injury – a big tear to her suspensory ligament. She had a lot of box rest, tried out a newish treatment called “shockwave” (which is much more common now) and had the area medicated too. She wasn’t expected to come fully sound but come sound she did, and she hasn’t looked back since then. She also has some warts on her face around her nose – these don’t bother her at all and they’ve never grown or changed in nearly 20 years, but she gave us all a bit of a fright one day when we caught her in and realised one of them had either fallen off or been scratched off – there was a fair bit of blood, but then once cleaned up she had made a fairly good job of surgically removing her own wart 😊

Dixie still puts “the fear” into some riders when they go to get her from her stable, but a good trick is – don’t look her in the eye. Just go into the stable quickly and confidently and take hold of her reins. Dixie doesn’t actually bite – she may look a bit ferocious, but she’s the master of scaring people with a fierce look😊 She is a real sweetheart really!

1 thought on “February Newsletter”

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