January Newsletter 2024

Happy New Year to all our members and here’s to a great 2024! We hope everyone had a nice relaxing time over the festivities – our horses and ponies had some lovely days off and our staff enjoyed some extra time off during the fortnight that we ran skeleton lessons, so everyone is all refreshed now and ready to face winter!


We had to cancel the session in December as Sally had hurt her knee (making it challenging to stand up for any length of time) the day before the session, so thank you to those who were booked in for being understanding that we’d to cancel at short notice!

The new date for the session is Sunday 28th January at 4.30p.m and those who were booked/paid for the previous one will have their booking carried over (happy to do a credit instead for lesson e.t.c. if anyone can’t make the new date) and it means we can also now accept more bookings. The session is really beneficial to both riding school and livery members and will cover how horses learn, so help clarify both how you can handle the horse on the ground (when tacking up/taking from stable e.t.c.) and then what to do as a rider to ensure both the horse and you are enjoying a good productive session.

If you would like to attend (and weren’t booked on the original date) then just let us know at reception or email lessons@aberdeenridingclub.com and Ali will add you to the list – the cost is £20 and the session will last around an hour and a half.


We are starting a new Pony Stars session (Dartmoor Dazzlers) with Liam on a Saturday at 3.30p.m. Pony Stars courses run weekly for one hour (so 3.30–4.30p.m each Saturday) and cost £18 per person. There is an initial one off cost of £25 which covers a great book, bag and stickers e.t.c. to do all the great activities – the book/bag e.t.c. are all designed for this age group of children and are theirs to keep once the course starts.

Pony Stars are suited to 12 years old and under and are a great way of both building confidence with the ponies, but also other important skills like communication and teamwork. The course works through a clear structure, with stickers, badges and rosettes for each level of achievement.

We will be starting the new intake of Pony Stars on Saturday 27th January so if you have a young person that would enjoy taking part, then do just let Ali know and book in for it – Pony Stars bookings work in a similar way to group lessons – you just let us know each week if you are attending the following week.


We are continuing to experience a bit of a challenge with people trying to book into their lessons late – we know that everyone forgets sometimes, but we’re also aware that some members try to book in as late as possible as they want to avoid a cancellation fee. So, to clarify, you need to book in at least 24 hours before your lesson and please remember we are closed on a Friday, so if you are trying to book in for a Saturday lesson on a Friday, there is no-one to answer email or check for payment being made by bank transfer e.t.c. We’ve had a couple of members complain that their email or answering machine message hasn’t been responded to late on a Friday evening when they want to ride on a Saturday, but this is too late to book in as the worksheet is done 24 hours before (the worksheet is the plan of which horses can do which sessions) and our staff coaching hours are all confirmed. The best way to ensure you are booked into your chosen session is to let us know the week before if you will be attending and to make payment then – remember our cancellation policy is only 24 hours before lesson – if you need to cancel or change your lesson outwith the 24 hour period we are always happy to carry a credit forward. Buying a block booking card also avoids having to remember to make payment each week and a block booking card works in exactly the same way from a cancellation point of view but saves you a minimum of £1 on each lesson, so they are the best method of payment for members who are riding fairly regularly.


Our horses and ponies are very lucky in that many of our members bring them a treat when they attend their lessons, but could we make a polite request about carrots? When feeding carrots to a horse or pony, you should either feed them whole (and allow the horse/pony to break the carrot up as they want) or slice them lengthways into carrot “fingers”. We have noticed quite a few people bring up carrots that have been sliced up into small round discs, which are the perfect shape to cause choke in a horse. Choke is not the same as choking in a person – choke in a horse is where the horse ends up with a solid bit of food lodged in their oesophagus (food pipe) which is very uncomfortable for them and quite distressing. Horses have a one way valve (unlike humans) at the entrance to their stomach, so it’s physically impossible for a horse to be sick or retch, so they can’t clear the obstruction easily – so please – keep feeding the carrots – we love to see the horses enjoying their treats, but if you want to cut them up then do so as below:



On the subject of carrots, a special thank you to all our members who left presents under the tree for the school horses and ponies – they had a great feast on Christmas Day with carrots, turnips, apples and bananas in their field!


As we have finished our current “horse stories” we thought we would try something different this month and include a quiz on the last page of the newsletter! If you would like to take part, then you can complete the quiz (either collect a paper copy from reception or fill in the answer electronically and send to. Ali) – we will then mark the quiz entries and advise the answers in next month’s newsletter. The quiz is suitable for all ages – children and adults so give it a go!



(If you hand your quiz sheet into reception or email it, we will mark it and announce results next month!)

  1. What colour is KoKo (school horse)?
  2. Who’s nose is this? (Current school horse or pony)

3. Horses often have a “full” or “competition” name in their passport, which is different to their everyday name. One of our very well know horse’s passport name is “Convinced Ya” – which horse do you think it is?

4. What should the temperature be of a healthy horse at rest? (in degree Celsius)

5. Most of our school horses are shod in front and barefoot behind. However, we have 2 horses/ponies that wear back shoes as well. Guess which two! (We will explain why they wear back shoes next month!)

6. Who is the tallest school horse – Achil, Cyrus or Mr T?

7. How many stomachs does a horse have?

8. “All fat brown mares can hardly ever kick” is poor grammar, but an important sentence when trying to remember something – but what does it help you remember?

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