June Newsletter

Hi everyone! Our picture this month is Seth, who we felt deserved to grace the newsletter with his pic after he took part in a fundraiser ride at Balmoral late last month – well done Seth! As most of you know, Seth was rehomed to ARC in a joint scheme between BHS and RSPCA – the scheme rehomes rescue horses and ponies in BHS approved riding centres. Seth hasn’t ever been in riding lessons as he made friends with Janine very quickly J but we’re all very proud of him and love seeing him and Janine out strutting their stuff!


A big thank you to all our members who have returned their membership forms (and codes of conduct) prior to renewal (1st June) and for making payment. The discounted rate (£120 for single members and £220 for families) has now expired as it is a pre-payment discount so the standard rate (£130 for single members and £240 for families) now applies. For anyone who still has to renew their membership, please remember that the membership expired on 31st May (for full members) and as ARC is a member’s club, we cannot allow riders to take part in lessons once membership is expired so do please ensure you visit reception before your riding lesson.


Most of our members are aware that we have a “closed” Facebook page for members, where we post about upcoming events and try to give members information first before posting on the public page. We also use the closed page to note if there are private lesson cancellations meaning that members who are active on that page can get cancellation slots fastest. It’s a closed page as we want to ensure that it is safe for all our members to use so the group is “approval only” for joining – you need to send a join request (which comes to Ali or Sally) which we will then approve if you are a member or parent of a member. If you do not receive approval within the day, then either drop Ali an email or send a message to the club public page just detailing whether you are an existing rider or parent – a lot of the time we can work out if someone is the parent of a rider, but with people sometimes preferring slightly different spellings of their names e.t.c. on social media for professional reasons, if we miss your application it’s normally because we don’t know which rider you are associated with so just drop us a message or email to clarify.


At the time of writing this newsletter we still have some space available on various Pony Stars courses and for the dressage competition and jumping training session – details below.

Pony Stars – both 10am-2pm to include riding and 10am-12pm care only

Beginner: Mon 25th-Thurs 28th July

Novice: Mon 1st -Thurs 4th August

Pony Stars – 10am-12pm care only

 Beginner: Mon 4th-Thurs 7th July

Novice: Mon 11th-Thurs 14th July

Dressage Competition: Mon 18th July (open to all levels)

‘All Things Jumping’ Training: Wed 20th July (open to Dark Blue ribbon riders and above)

To book, please email Ali or just pop into reception for more information.  


Due to the timing and length of the summer holidays this year (and the fact so many people are likely to be heading off for a break post Covid now they can!) we are going to be doing the annual rider assessments in September – most likely the third week in September at this point. We will detail more about the assessments in a future newsletter but do please remember that they are not a “test” – they are designed that we can check our lessons are all still progressing correctly and that the riders within each group are in the correct group. It also allows us to ensure that all our lessons are following a clear progression route and have correct horses allocated to them. As normal, your lesson will be as standard, with the only difference being that another coach will be watching and making notes and you can then pick up your assessment form (with feedback) from reception the following week.


We currently have 2 potential new recruits for the riding school which we are doing assessments on to see if they would like to live at ARC. Quite a few of you will have seen Holly (2) who lived locally and was struggling to keep her weight under control/get the balance of work and food correct so we agreed that we would take her on trial. So far, Holly 2 has been very sweet and seems to be suitable – we are just waiting on her next shoeing appointment as her foot care is very important due to her having previous laminitis, so we want to make sure she has the best feet for the job too.

You may also have seen a chunky 14.3h.h. piebald gelding going around (he has fairly unique face markings) – his name is Snip. Snip also lived locally and is a very loved family pet, but his family are being relocated abroad and his owner contacted us (after a recommendation from a vet) to see if he might be suitable for ARC – so far, he seems to be the right type and he is being ridden by our staff at the start of some lessons e.t.c. till we assess him fully. It’s really nice with these horses to see that owners recognise ARC as a great home for horses – it wasn’t that long ago that a lot of private horse owners assumed a riding school wasn’t a great home for  a horse – in reality, a (good) riding school is one of the best homes – the horses have a great routine, have the best of care from equine professionals and are working with experienced staff – it’s nice to see that being recognised in our case and it’s a perfect solution for both the owner and ARC sometimes.


Many of you may not be aware that ARC does not actually own Jack – he was a livery at Oldfold in 2003 when we originally moved there and then we took on responsibility for him in 2006 as his owners were moving away. His owner lives down South (an adult with their own child now!) but they come and see Jack if they are ever up in Aberdeen. We have been planning for Jacks retirement for a while now – he is in his early 30s now and it’s hard to retire him at ARC as he wants to come in each day/do his job as he likes his routine so much. So, when his owners were up at the end of last year, we were chatting about his retirement, and they have now bought their own land and stables (they have another older pony there) and they said they’d like to have Jack home for retirement if we were supportive of that. We were supportive– we all love Jack to bits, but it’s also nice to see him go back to his original family and spend his last years chilling in the field and being groomed, so Jack leaves on 17th June to travel down to England. We will all miss him (as our junior members will too) but we’ve only been his “caregivers” for the last 17 years – it’s really nice to be involved in his retirement plans.


Hamish is a lovely 7 year old 16.1h.h bay Clydesdale who we bought as a 5 year old from a local centre in Inverurie who breed Clydesdales. We were looking for a Clydesdale in 2020 as we sadly lost Twiggy, our previous Clydesdale who did some amazing work with both our members and therapy riders.

The passing of Twiggy resulted in some local press interest because she was so popular, and we noted in the press that we were looking for another Clydesdale and were put in touch with Hamish. He is a brilliant example of how generous both the local and international community are – a local person (non-rider) very generously donated £1000 to the purchase of Hamish and Sally was then approached by a coach that she knew over 15 years ago, who now lives abroad – that coach wanted to fund Hamish’s new saddle and donated £1000. We think Hamish just caught everyone’s attention as he is such a big gentle guy, and it was so sad when we lost Twiggy. So having big shoes to fill, Hamish stepped up to the plate and we are all hopelessly in love with the yards Clydesdale now. He is used in adult lessons on the flat (we don’t jump him or do lots of canter work with him due to his size) and he is incredibly gentle – he has also carried very small children (5 and 6 years old) who have been really keen to get a pic on his back on their birthday or special occasion.

Hamish has to wear brushing boots all round (which look ridiculous on his big feathery legs) as he moves very close behind and brushes his legs together. He also has a 19” saddle, which is a bit of a record breaker for ARC, but it looks teeny tiny on him with his massive body. He doesn’t’ fit into normal tack or rugs, so we have to buy his rugs from “The Big Horse Shop” – they make particularly deep chested rugs for the “fuller” sized horses and his bridle had to be specially ordered as his head is somewhat larger than other horses

With size however does not come strength we have discovered – Hamish has perhaps the lowest pain threshold we have ever known in a horse! We first got wind of this when he had a skin infection on one of his legs – for most horses if treated quickly enough, this isn’t sore, and it clears up with oral drugs from that the vet will prescribe when they have assessed it. Only in Hamish’s case, he couldn’t walk – his (slightly) swollen leg was so painful for him J He also needed drugs that were injected every day rather than given as oral powders as the oral ones didn’t clear the swelling. Then there are his teeth – he is either missing a couple of adult molars all together, or they haven’t erupted yet (at the age of 7!) so he needs a lot of dental attention to keep on top of his teeth – he pairs up with Achil, seeing Alice every couple of months to make sure everything is fine.

In April, he also caused a total panic when he had a foot abscess – now abscesses are sore – no getting away from it. However, Hamish took it to extremes – he had a pulse of 70 (normally 36 – 44bpm), couldn’t walk at all and then kept throwing himself on the floor in his stable as it was too sore to stand on. This resulted in two vets at the yard at midnight discussing with us whether he had broken his pastern (pretty catastrophic) and whether we should x-ray immediately, when luckily one of the vets managed to find a bit of pus by digging at the foot. He may be the biggest, heaviest horse on the yard, but he is absolutely not the toughest! We are all a bit obsessed with that giant pink nose though and his amazing temperament!

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