January Newsletter

Happy New Year everyone! We can hardly believe it’s January already but here we are – we hope everyone had a great Xmas and New Year – the horses and ponies (and staff) enjoyed some well-deserved down time over the festivities whilst we ran on our skeleton lesson rota.

The pic is Gizmo who officially had the most “gifts” under the tree – he was delighted to get his treats on Xmas morning, as were all the school horses and ponies when we took them in a wheelbarrow up to the field. They were all given the “fresh” items in the field (apples/carrots e.t.c.) and then the Polos and bagged treats have been kept (and are on the school wall) so that they can enjoy them when they finish a lesson for a few weeks so feel free to grab one when you are putting your horse away from a lesson and treat them.


We know! It seems a long way off yet, but we are already planning some Easter activities, so please see the following things and booking dates!

“Pony Fun Day”

This is a similar idea to the unicorn day we ran at Xmas (which was a great success) and will run on Monday 13th February (mid-term school break). The session will run from 10.30a.m – 1.30p.m and include:

Treasure hunt, grooming and handling and some (on foot) games. The session is open to both members and non-members and costs:

Member – £25

Non- member £35 (includes one off membership).

This activity session is most suited to 12 year olds and under

Bookings for this session will open from Tuesday 10th January with full payment on booking.

Easter Egg Fun Day – Monday 3rd April – this is a fun (non-riding day) for under 12s – it will include an Easter Egg hunt, grooming and handling and some games – the day runs from 10.30a.m – 1.30p.m and costs £25 for members and £35 for non-members.

Pony Stars (Dartmoor Dazzlers) Tues 4th  April – Thurs 6th April inclusive. This course is for beginner/novice level members who have either not done any stable management or just started doing it or started Pony Stars recently or haven’t done any. We have 6 riding spaces and 10 non-riding spaces.

Riding spaces are from 10.00a.m–2.00p.m each day and include a group riding lesson. Non-riding spaces are from 10.00a.m– 12.00p.m each day and include grooming and theory lectures.

Riding spaces (for all three days including lessons) are £140 and non-riding spaces are £25 per 2 hour session (you can book as many/as little days as you want from the three).

Pony Stars (Welshie Wizzers) – Mon 10th – Thurs 13th April inclusive.  This course is for novice/intermediate level members who have either completed beginner stable management or Dartmoor Dazzlers Pony Stars. The course will work to the Welshie Wizzers content and is from 10.00a.m-2.00p.m each day for the riding course (with lesson) and from 10.00a.m–12.00p.m each day for the non-riding option.

The riding course is £175 for the four days (including riding lesson) and the non-ridden sessions are £25 per day and you can book as many/as few days as you like from the 4 days.

For those who have not taken part in Pony Stars before, a Pony Stars pack to the correct standard (either Dartmoor Dazzlers or Welshie Wizzers) needs to be purchased prior to the course starting – the packs are £25 each and are great with a bag, book and lots of activities for the kids to do (at home as well!)

Bookings for the Easter fun day and Easter Pony Stars sessions will open on Monday 23rd January at 10.00a.m with full payment for Easter fun day and non-riding Pony Stars on booking and a £50 deposit taken for the full riding Pony Stars course.


We are offering the following sessions in January either in person or online (live only – no recordings currently available). The sessions are all £15 each and are open to either members or non-members so if you would like to book onto any of them, then just drop Ali an email at:


or give her a call on 01224 733111

Saturday 14th January @ 4.30p.m with Sally – “What to do when you warm your horse up for a ridden session” – this session will cover types of warm up for different horses and riders – what the goal of your warm up is, what you can do as a rider to ensure you and your horse have the best session and common pitfalls to avoid” – this session will be in the arena with horses working.

Saturday 21st January @ 4.30p.m with Sally – “What we can do to ensure we can continue our relationship with horses in the future” – this session looks at what riding centres and individuals can do to promote equestrianism to the public and ensure we retain our social license going forwards. This will be a discussion session with Sally presenting on some of the approaches ARC have taken over the last five years

Saturday 27th January @ 4.30p.m with Sally – “Should I buy a horse and what type of horse should I buy?” This session will cover the process of sourcing, trying and buying a horse and will have some practical content, where we look at some different types of horses and ponies. This session is really beneficial to anyone – you don’t need to be ready to buy a horse! Lots to learn on different types of horse and pony and common pitfalls to avoid.


Some good news this month! Our ARC board met in December to look at how our cost controls and measures are working and our current financial position. Obviously, like all small businesses we are experiencing a huge increase in costs from suppliers, but as we have noted in previous newsletters we are working as hard as we can to prevent an increase in lesson fees as we feel quite strongly that riding needs to remain accessible and as the ”end user” our members are already experiencing huge cost increases in other areas – power, fuel, food e.t.c.

The good news is that (so far) the measures we have put in place are working and we are “holding steady” – so all members can give themselves a pat on the back! This is quite simply a result of our liveries working hard to reduce wastage and reduce electricity usage and our riding school members being understanding of our cancellation policy (cancelled sessions within 24 hours are chargeable).

We know that nobody likes a cancellation fee, but in implementing a stricter control over this, we are so far managing to hold off a price increase – we won’t be able to hold off an increase forever, but if we can just get through the worst of the winter months it would make it easier for everyone!

The Story of Mr T

We bought Mr T in 2019 after we advertised on our public Facebook page for big horses for the riding school. Mr T was an 11 year old who was in a private home beside Inverurie and his owner contacted Sally to ask if she would be interested in him.

Mr T was originally bought by his previous owner as a show horse (Hunter) and he had reasonable success locally at this and had also been loaned out to another rider at a different livery yard. He worked mainly on the flat and hacked but hadn’t done a huge amount of jumping – he was honest and enjoyed his jumping, but just hadn’t done a lot of it.

When we went to see Mr T, his owner was great – very honest about him and keen to find out what type of home we would be offering him – we still keep in touch with his previous owner and update them on what he has been up to e.t.c.

When we viewed him, he was quite unfit and a bit overweight as he’d not been in work, but he was very sweet and genuine and we didn’t bother riding him to try him – seeing his temperament with his owner was enough – so we had his eyes and heart checked by a vet, had him flushed to check he wasn’t a strangles carrier and he then arrived with us 2 weeks later. He did a few ridden sessions with Sally first and some of the other staff and then he went into lessons, and he loves it – he is one of our kindest, most enthusiastic horses who is always happy to come in and work.

His owner had detailed that he could be a bit “strong” to handle when being led e.t.c. but he tends to only get a bit pushy if he has been stabled for a while – he lives out with us and is very polite going to and from the field – although in the first week we had him he did run off in trot with Sally when she was leading him to his field J

Mr T really loves jumping – he is bold and honest to a fence and like a good old fashioned Irish horse, will help riders out by going on any stride. He particularly enjoys doing arena eventing in the outdoor arena – more space for his big 17.1h.h. body to go forwards! He does Stage 2 assessments, works with SRUC and does our Intermediate/Advanced riding school sessions. He does quite a lot of BHS assessment training with riders as he is a great assessment horse – he will go as well (or as badly) as he is asked to on the flat J He can be quite heavy down the rein at times – purely because he is a big guy, who is built a little downhill, but if you ride him forwards with your seat and legs and keep him balanced with your upper body (rather than reins) he is a delight to ride.

He is great friends with Ricky, Hamish and Squirrel (an odd group if ever we saw one) as he lives out with them in the field – he also has an old injury on a hind leg – from when he was much much younger which healed with a scar so if anyone is interested in what a big wound heals like over years, then have a look at his leg!

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