February Newsletter

Hi Everyone and welcome to February’s newsletter. Gizmo thought he would have his pic in the newsletter this month as he was very pleased to be the pony with the “most gifts under the tree” for Xmas! Gizmo continues to do well and is comfy on the foot that he fractured but getting him turned out is proving challenging due to how often the ground is frosty which wouldn’t be great for the old fracture, so he is waiting for Spring!


We are looking forward to the fun day on Monday 13th February – the day will consist of dismounted sessions – a treasure hunt, games and grooming/handling. The day is open to younger participants (under 12) and is ideal for both riders and non-riders as it is supervised by quite a few coaches.

We still have some space available on the session which runs from 10.30am –  1.30pm and costs £25 for ARC members and £35 for non-members (includes trial membership).

If you would like to book in for this, then just contact Ali on 01224 733111.


We are now full for the ridden spaces on Easter Pony Stars, but still have space for the non-ridden option which runs from 10.00a.m – 12.00p.m each day. The beginner level course runs on Tues 4th – Thurs 6th April inclusive and will be covering the Dartmoor Dazzlers activities. The Novice course runs from Mon 10th April – Thurs 13th April inclusive and will cover the Welshie Wizzers activities.

The cost for the remaining non-riding spaces is £25 per session (for the 2 hours 10.00am – 12.00pm) and if you require a Pony Stars pack for your rider, then that is an additional £25 for the pack which includes the detailed booklet (which they can keep and do the activities in afterwards), a carry bag and a set of stickers.

Again, if you’d like to book any of the non-riding spaces for Pony Stars, then give Ali a ring or an email to get booked in.


We continue to see a huge increase in the costs to run the centre L to put it into perspective for our members, our electricity bill for December 2021 was £1100 and for December 2022 it was £2500. The “government support” for businesses is 3p per Kw used, so last month it came to the princely sum of £150 J it also ends in March, so it’s not really particularly effective!

This is just one of the costs that we are seeing increase hugely – the bedding that we use for the horses has gone up over £2.50 per bale/bag since last year (and we use around 100 bales/bags of bedding a month), the fuel for the tractor now costs over £800 for 500 litres when it was half that a year ago (before the government decided we could no longer use rebated fuel), our insurance costs are up over £2000 annually, despite us having over 20 years no claims discount, and fertiliser (for making the horses haylage) now costs around £9000 for the same amount that cost £4000 a couple of years ago. Last summer, when we started to plan for the cost of living increases we always knew that there was only so much cost control we could do – we changed bedding supplier, are turning off lights as much as possible and are reducing the amount of fertiliser we use this year, but it is still a very hard balancing act to run a yard at the moment and not increase lesson and livery prices!

We are working very hard to keep the cost of riding affordable as we recognise that cost can become a barrier, but it’s getting harder and harder each month! Members can help us by either trying to cancel their lessons with plenty of warning and equally be being understanding when we have to charge a cancellation fee if you are a no show or cancel within 24 hours – as you can see by the costs above, we can’t afford to get the horse in, tack it up, pay the member of staff e.t.c. and then also refund or credit a cancellation at short notice – even if you are ill – please be understanding and be polite to Ali – she is only implementing a policy that has been in place for many years and she is doing her best!


We are going to run the following training sessions in February, which are available live online (sorry we are still not offering recordings) or in person – if you’d like to book in for any of them, they cost £15 per session and can be booked by emailing or calling Ali at reception.

Friday 10th February @ 5.30pm – How to assess fitness, plan fittening work and what factors to take into account – this session will look at assessing horses fitness, but almost more importantly, what factors you should take into account when getting a horse fitter – will include variety of sessions, type of surface, where lunging fits in e.t.c.

Saturday 18th February @ 4.30pm – Equine health. This session will cover everything from Equine First Aid through to when to call the vet and how to manage common health conditions.

Saturday 25th February @ 4.30pm – Scales of training and how to ensure you are structuring your riding and horse training alongside them and understand them. This session will cover the scales of training, why they come in the order they do and why it’s so vital that riders and coaches have a good understanding of them. This session will be half theory and half watching horses working in the arena.


Having run two successful rider/physio sessions last year we have the next one booked for Monday 27th March from 1.00pm – 4.00pm. The rider physio sessions are a great opportunity for both liveries and riding school members to get some real benefit from a physio and coach to ensure they can sit as well as possible on the horse! The sessions involve half an hour with a chartered physio from Perform Physio (Caroline Frew) who will look at you on the horse (or pony) and then work with you off the horse to help you with any squintness/positional challenges. You then go straight into a half hour private lesson with your coach (you choose either Sally, Laura, Martin or Liam) who works with you to put the improvements into practice. Feedback from these sessions has been brilliant for the previous ones and we have 3 spaces left (we offered the first spaces to those on the wait list from last time). Cost is £70 total, which includes the private lesson and the physio time. If you would like to take one of the spaces, then get in touch with Ali by phone or email and we then allocate you an hour slot (between 1.00pm and 4.00pm) once we know who is attending and which horses they’d get most benefit from riding.


Ozzy 1 is a 27 year old dark brown gelding that Sally originally met at Cavan performance sales in Ireland 8 years ago. At the time, Sally was looking for a jumping pony for a livery child whose long term pony (Brewster) was off with an injury. Sally’s task at Cavan was to find a pony for the family who wasn’t too expensive as the pony would be relatively short term while the other pony was off work.

There were equine professionals at the sale that Sally knows and when Sally took an interest in an 18 year old pony that nobody else was interest in (he was too old) they all laughed loudly at her looking at an old pony that was “past it” J Sally thought Ozzy was perfect – he had competed up to 1.10m with children in Ireland and was a true jumping schoolmaster. He was sound and healthy for an 18 year old pony, but had quite unusual conformation – a very long back for a gelding (mares have longer backs as standard as they need room for reproductive organs and carrying a foal).

So, Ozzy was bought for the princely sum of £800 and came back to ARC for the livery family, where he was a complete star. He did Pony Club training, competitions and represented his Pony Club with his livery rider at regional level in showjumping and eventing.

When the time that Ozzy’s rider had outgrown him (they kept him for longer than intended despite the other pony coming into work because he was such a star), none of us could bear to see the old guy leave the yard, so another livery family bought him – now aged 21, for again the princely sum of £800. He did the same brilliant job for that family – again getting the riders confidence up jumping and representing Pony Club at the Regional competitions.

The downside to being a 13.2h.h. pony is that your riders keep outgrowing you, so when his rider outgrew him, we agreed to purchase him for the riding school – he was now 23 years old and the time had come for him to take a step down from jumping 80cm. He still had a huge amount to teach younger riders as he was so experienced, so in purchasing him for ARC we ensured he could stay at the yard forever and keep himself busy as retirement wouldn’t sit well with Ozzy – in his head he still thinks he’s a 5 year old.

So, the princely sum of £800 was paid again – this time by ARC – the theory behind the price always staying the same was that the sale of Ozzy was not about money – it was about ensuring he could stay with us forever. So, he entered the riding school and loved it – he does most standards of children’s lessons from rising trot/learning to canter through to more experienced riders who are jumping – Ozzy teaches each and every rider an amazing amount. He loves his job and is always happy to come in each morning from the field – he took a while to settle into the school boys field (he was the Alpha in his previous group and had to get used to some bigger “Alphas” in the boys herd J) but they are now all great friends – his best friends are Mario, Kev and Jaffa so he likes the more boisterous boys and it’s not uncommon to see him going absolutely flat out round the field playing like a 3 year old. Ozzy really is the perfect gentleman and we are all hugely fond of him and pleased that Sally  didn’t listen to those laughing at her at Cavan horse sales all those years ago

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