June Newsletter 2023

Hi everyone and welcome to our June newsletter! We’ve chosen this cute picture of Scrufty this month as he gave us all a bit of a fright with his health recently but is thankfully back to his usual self and feeling well. Below is a little update on his story.


Scrufty came in from the field one Saturday and didn’t quite seem himself, his pulse and temperature were normal, but something didn’t seem 100%.

We decided to keep him in overnight to keep an eye on him on the CCTV and although he seemed comfortable, he had then stopped eating by Sunday. We called the vet out to see him as his heart rate was increasing and became quite high. The vet gave him some pain relief and treated him for colic. The vet then wanted to check his mouth, throat, and oesophagus, as there was a growing list of what might be wrong with Scrufty, and at one point Strangles was a possibility. A sample was taken from his guttural pouch, and we immediately began our biosecurity plan. Thankfully a couple of days later the results came back negative for Strangles and by this time Scrufty had started to look and behave more like his usual self with his temperature and pulse returning to normal and his appetite coming back.

Scrufty has been monitored closely since but has been back to him normal routine and health. Horses can be a mystery sometimes and as always, we are very grateful for the excellent care our horses and ponies get from Ardene House Vet Practice. We may never know what was wrong with Scrufty, but we’ll be keeping a close eye!


Firstly, a big thank you to everyone who renewed their annual membership during May. The discounted rate (£125 for Single Members and £230 for Families) has now expired as it is a pre-payment discount for those who renew during May and 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 2022/23 membership expired on 31st May (for Full Members) and as ARC is a members club, we cannot allow riders to take part in lessons once membership is expired so please ensure you visit or contact reception to organise your renewal before your next riding lesson.


As outlined in last month’s newsletter, one of the benefits of ARC as a not-for profit centre and members club is that your lesson and membership fees are always reinvested back into the club (for tack, horses, equipment etc.) and we have made a recent purchase for the club with these funds – Cavaletti stands. These are small stands that allow you to raise poles off the ground and are great for lunging and riding over.


The weeklong Pony Stars courses (with riding) are currently full booked, however we do still have spaces available on all Pony Stars courses for the grooming/stable management only sessions (10.00am–12.00pm).

We also still have some space left on the teen BHS Leadership Awards course which runs from Monday 31st July – Thursday 3rd August, 10.00am-2.00pm. This course will cover the horse explorer/BHS Leadership awards which are designed for teenagers (12-18yrs).

If you would like more info or to book any of thoee activities, then just give the office a ring (01224)733111 or drop Ali an email – lessons@aberdeenridingclub.com 


We ran a successful ‘taster session’ last month for the teen BHS Leadership awards and have had a number of our members sign up for the course already.

The leadership awards are the sessions that are like mini Duke of Edinburgh awards – they are all based around key skills of team work, innovation, leadership e.t.c. They are ideal for teenagers from 12 years–18 years and are a great way of making friends, building confidence, and developing life skills.

We have delayed the start of the course to Saturday 3rd June (4.30pm-5.30pm) to make sure those interested so far can all make the first session, but please note the course can be joined at any time. Whilst attendees need to be fairly regular, it doesn’t matter if you miss a week here and there once the course is underway.

If you would like to book into the sessions, then drop Ali an email or the office a ring.


Our Members’ Committee is organising a Strictly Come Prancing competition next month. The competition involves riders designing a ride routine (to include the movements required on the entry form) and picking one song or piece of music that they think most suits their horse/pony. The competition is marked on turnout, design of ride and suitability of music.

Strictly Come Prancing will be on Friday 23rd June at 6.00pm. The competition is open to both riding school members and liveries from those who can walk/trot through to advanced riders. Entry will be £25.00 for riding school horses and £20.00 for those entering on their own horse, with bookings opening at 10.00am on Wednesday 7th June. To book please call or email Ali on this date.


We would like to remind everyone about the photo/video policies in place at ARC. These are there to promote a safe environment for our riders/members and include:

– not filming or taking photographs of any rider in a group lesson.

– asking for the coaches’ permission first if you wish to take pictures or videos (or have someone do so on your behalf) and only taking pictures or videos in a private lesson situation to avoid inadvertently filming other riders.

We understand liking to take photos/videos of your or your children’s lessons, but please remember that not everyone is comfortable being photographed/videoed while they are enjoying their hobby.


We’d like to thank all of our members who contributed their stories to the #KeepBritainRiding campaign on Facebook to raise awareness not only of the need for riding schools but also the horse:human relationship and the value it brings.


While we have frozen Membership prices for the third year running, we are going to be increasing the price of lessons (effective from 1st July 2023). Now we know – nobody likes a price increase, but ARC has not implemented a price increase for lessons since November 2021, and we now need to increase prices in order to cover the increased costs we are experiencing to ensure we remain in good financial health.

The increase will be £3 on riding school group and private lessons, effective from 1st July.

We think it’s important to provide our members with information on some of the areas we have been experiencing increased costs.

  • Our costs having increased 30-40% across the board from bedding/feed to general supplies.
  • We have seen a huge rise in our winter energy bills. In December 2022 our utility bill was £2,500 up from £1,100 the previous year (December 2021).
  • There has been an increase for the National Minimum Wage which impacts on costs for entry level staff.

The ARC Board of Directors and staff team have worked hard to control costs, these measures have included implementing a hiring freeze, controlled use of the lighting, monitoring supplier costs/changing where necessary and ensuring the cancellation policy is implemented on all cancellations within 24hrs. All of these efforts have been instrumental in us successfully delaying an increase as long as possible and having made a small profit in 2020/21 this enabled us to postpone a price increase for 6+ months over the winter while a lot of other businesses/suppliers were raising their prices. We have now used this surplus and made a £24,000 loss in year-end 2022, and in order to combat our rising costs are at the point where we have to implement the increase.

If you have any questions about the price increase, please don’t hesitate to forward any questions to Sally or Ali in person, or via email:



2023 sees ARC turn the big 2-0! Which we believe is the perfect excuse to bring back the August Show! There will be further details to follow in next month’s newsletter, but we can confirm we will be planning a riding school and livery show at ARC across the weekend of Saturday 19th-Sunday 20th August, with a celebratory BBQ on the Saturday evening. Keep your eyes peeled for more info soon!


Squirrel is a 25year old 12hh chestnut gelding who is working livery and owned/ridden by Emma. Before joining as a working livery, Squirrel was well known at ARC as we taught his owner and him for a few years, so when he came up for sale it was a perfect match that he could become a first pony for one of our liveries and do some work in riding school too to make sure he had enough work to keep him healthy. We don’t take on working liveries at ARC, but we decided to break that rule with Squirrel and his owner as his owner’s parent is an old friend of the club and is a very experienced rider, so we knew that her management of Squirrel would complement how ARC like to manage their ponies.

Squirrel works in the riding school on Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturday mornings and does everything from beginners to more advanced junior riders. He is a tiny wee pony compared to our other ones, so we had to get a smaller headcollar and saddle for him when he came, we jokingly refer to him as “the boss” as Squirrel likes things done in a very specific way and isn’t shy of telling us if he’s not happy about something. He has a great sense of humour, keeps us all on our toes and is popular with our younger riders because he is nice and forward and super cute. Having previously been a very experienced competition pony, he is a good teacher for young kids, but he lives his life on a permanent diet as he likes his food too much and has a condition which means he needs to stay trim. Squirrel likes to try and nibble the coach’s bottoms when they are tightening his girth which gives customers a good laugh! Squirrel does not get turned out with the other schoolboys, so he has Mr T, Ricky and Harris as his pals, he’s our smallest pony and his good friend Mr T is one of our biggest horses. Squirrel is also one of the smallest BHS assessment ponies as he does BHS Stage 2 Lunge and Coach assessments. Squirrel is a big favourite with the customers, and we are lucky to have him as part of the team!


As you may be aware, Aberdeen Riding Club supports Hippotherapy sessions on a Friday morning.

We are a member group of the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and work with children and adults with disabilities.  We are a charity providing physiotherapy through equine movement. Governed and guided by a board of volunteer trustees and supported by a team of committed, passionate volunteers, ARC Hippotherapy is a welcoming and happy place for our participant riders.

We operate on a Friday morning from 8.30am to 1.30pm and we are looking to recruit more volunteers to help us provide this valuable service. 

You would not be expected to attend every week or for the whole morning, just as and when you are available.


Please contact Lisa Matheson at: archippotherapy@outlook.com

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