July Newsletter

Hi everyone and welcome to the July newsletter! The picture is of our haylage crop, which we took off the fields at the end of June which may explain why Sally looks a little bit stressed in the last week or so of June.

We make around 800 large bales of haylage each year – around half from fields at Anguston and around half from fields remaining at Oldfold which haven’t been built on yet as part of the housing development at our old site.

The haylage this year has seen a huge price increase – mainly because the cost of fertiliser has gone up so much – in previous years our fertiliser was around £4000 for the crop and this year it is £7500 which is a scary increase! The cost of the bale wrap and fuel for contractors’ machinery is also all increased hugely, so as with every other business (and individual) we are seeing a worrying increase in costs across the board. However, we are doing our utmost to keep the cost of riding the same as we are only too aware how much everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment.


A quick reminder of our cancellation policy for our members as we have had a few issues lately with short notice cancellations and members then requesting a refund for it.

As all members know, our policy is that all lessons and training must be paid on booking. If you need to change or cancel your lesson outwith 24 hours, we will then credit forward the session (a credit as opposed to a refund). If you cancel within 24 hours, we will firstly try to fill your slot (by advertising it on our closed club Facebook page) and if we fill it, we will carry your credit forward. If we cannot fill the slot, then you will forfeit payment for the late cancellation. We know that nobody likes cancellation charges, and we do everything we can to avoid members losing a payment if they do have to cancel, however we are also a small business, working through a cost of living crisis and still playing catch up from various lock downs and restrictions over the last 24 months, but this policy (we feel) gives members the best chance of not losing their fees. Obviously if someone is a “no show” for their lesson or training, we cannot advertise the slot, so payment is forfeited. We have an answering machine in the office with time/date on it and access to reception email at all times so if you want to have your cancellation credited, the more notice you give us the better thanks!


The dressage and jumping days are proving popular which is great, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone at them! Our Pony Stars (ridden) sessions are also fully booked, but we still have some space for the non-riding Pony Stars sessions so do please just ask at reception if you are looking for any activities for the younger member over the Summer holidays.


Jack has arrived in his retirement home now and we were sent a lovely wee video of him out enjoying his new field. Whilst it’s always sad to see our beloved ponies leave (and very few of them do!) it was really nice to see Jack head off to his owners to enjoy a well deserved retirement.


We have now finished our first year’s provision of practical sessions for the Equine Studies (HNC) students from SRUC. They were a lovely bunch and the course worked very well fitting in around our other activities at ARC. So, we now get some quieter Tuesdays over the summer before the new intake of students start back with us in September.


We have some availability left at weekends/evenings and off-peak times during the holidays as we had organised plenty of extra ones for any members who wanted them. We will contact riders on our waiting list from Wednesday this week to fill the slots if they aren’t taken, so an early note to members if they would like to take advantage of the slots to give us a ring or an email to get booked up before we offer up spaces to the waiting list.


Just a gentle reminder to private lesson riders – if you have a private lesson booked, try to arrive 5 – 10 minutes early so you are ready to start at your allocated time as we often can’t run late as we have another lesson with that coach directly afterwards. Obviously, some of our staff are slightly prone to running later than others (ahem! Martin! 😊 ) but where possible we try to keep to time through the day!


As noted in a previous newsletter, our annual rider assessments will be carried out in September this year to allow everyone time to get back from their holidays e.t.c. The assessments will run under the same format as previous ones – most important thing is to remember that it’s not a test! It’s just our way of ensuring everyone is in the correct group lesson and that the coaches are following the correct syllabus with you all. So please don’t worry about it – it’s a good thing to have!


We have some staff and members taking part in BHS assessments in July and August so just wanted to wish everyone good luck for assessments if they have any coming up! You’ll all be fine – you’ve all done lots of preparation so now it’s just a case of showing the assessor what you know!


So, Gizmo is now being walked out in hand twice a day – he is still quite lame in trot, so on agreement with the vet we are now just giving him lots of time in the hope that it improves as he is still not sound enough to be turned out/retire if need be. Time is often a great healer though and his re x-rays looked as good as they could, so everyone needs to keep their fingers crossed for him please!


We are not going to be running any online training in July as we are quite busy with BHS assessments and other sessions going on but will be looking to restart sessions in August. If any members have anything specific, they would like to request for training (can be in person practical stuff or online stuff) then do please drop Ali an email so we can offer what you all want!


Henry is the handsome gentleman of the yard and a bit of a favourite with most members as he lives in the stable next to Achil and looks out onto the indoor arena. Henry was bought in 2013 as a 11 year old so is now a late teenager. He was one of the first horses Sally bought from Ireland (along with KoKo) and he was bought as a jumping schoolmaster.

Sally saw Henry jumping in the sale ring and was impressed by him – he didn’t have the strongest rider on him, so he was quite often being “missed” a bit at the fence (meaning he was having to cope with very changeable take off points and different canter speeds). At the sale, the horses tend to go in and jump around 90 – 1m then they put the fences up a bit higher – with Henry, they just kept going up and he kept jumping them incredibly honestly, despite a bit of a lack of help from his rider so Sally bid on him in the ring and bought him for £8000 (which was quite a lot for a school horse 10 years ago!).

Henry then went off to be vetted and the vet found a sarcoid (cancerous wart) on his “man bits”. This in a way is a good thing for the buyer as a sarcoid is a reason for a horse to fail a vetting, so the owner is then left in the position where the horse has failed a vetting and they can’t represent the horse to the sale, so the buyer and seller then tend to renegotiate the price. So, Henry was then bought for £5000, and Sally felt she’d gotten a bargain (particularly because the sarcoid has never changed/grown or caused a problem). So, Henry came back to ARC and was a legend from day one – Henry will help anyone to jump a fence. He is honest, enjoys his jumping and will look after everyone well. He is a really well-educated horse though and Henry is of the opinion that he knows far more about jumping than his rider, so the rider’s job is to direct him, keep him forward and then leave him to do his job! He has done lots of Uni competitions and BHS assessments as he puts everyone at ease with his honesty. He also became a bit of an urban legend at our old premises at Oldfold in a Uni competition 😊 One of the other teams had a very confident young rider on them, who had never met any of our horses as they were from a totally different city and Uni. This rider decided that they were going to “school and educate” Henry in the jumping and took a bit too much responsibility for the take off point. This resulted in the rider “pushing” Henry at several fences and encouraging him to take off further and further away from the fences. Henry was clearly getting a bit bored of this as he knows best re take off points. So, he tolerated it till jump 5, then when the rider pushed him on an extremely bold stride, he landed and did a perfectly timed buck, so the rider sailed over his head J He then stood there looking ever so politely at the rider who then remounted and allowed Henry to decide the take off point after that 😊

A true ARC legend – Henry is an older guy now – his body is stiffer; his belly is a bit bigger with middle aged spread and he falls in more at the corners as a result but he’s still everyone’s favourite jump horse!

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