October Newsletter 2023

Hi everyone and welcome to the October newsletter! We thought we would put a historical picture on this one as on 1st October 2023, ARC was 20 years old! The pic above is from our 10th anniversary (so in 2013) at our old premises in Milltimber – the pic is from the August show then and shows the outdoor area that everyone had to walk across from stables to indoor arena (or wait in till lesson finished) so all being under one roof at Anguston is a huge improvement! But we still think very fondly of our old premises as it’s where the club started and grew!


A big well done to all our junior riders who were assessed at the end of September/start of October – it’s always great to see how everyone is riding and the improvements they are making. Assessment sheets are now available for everyone to pick up from reception and we have stored a copy in your rider file. Having done all the assessments, we have a few helpful points for everyone:

  • Remember you are not meant to move up a ribbon each year. The beginner level ribbons (white – yellow) are normally achieved each year with a rider who is starting out, but once you are orange and above, there is a lot of content to each ribbon so it’s normal to stay at one level for a few assessments – particularly once you are into the ribbons with jumping/cantering without stirrups e.t.c.
  • If we were going to give everyone a golden piece of advice, it would be to work without stirrups as often as possible. You don’t need to do it for the whole lesson – short sessions are best but there really is no substitute for learning to sit independently. It’s why work without stirrups is in so many of the ribbon gradings – if we’re going to teach you to jump e.t.c, then we need to know that you can sit independently to the canter without balancing a wee bit on the reins – this is what work without stirrups is best for!

Well done everyone!


We are running Pony Stars sessions on both weeks of the October holidays – for both weeks, the ridden courses are fully booked, but we still have availability for the stable management/grooming sessions. These run from 10a.m – 12 pm each day and follow the same content as the ridden course, but just miss the riding lesson (which is done at 1p.m) hence why stable management attendees finish at 12.

If you’d like to book on for a day (or more) from 15th Oct – 19th Oct (beginner level) or 22nd Oct – 26th Oct (novice level) then drop us an email or give us a ring – each 2 hour session costs £30.


We are about to open our CLTH sessions to more participants – the CLTH programme currently runs from 1.30 – 3.30p.m on a Wednesday afternoon and we started it with just one participant who we had received funding for. The Changing Lives programme is for young people who are finding an academic situation challenging – so young people who are non-attendees or are struggling in the school environment or are electively home schooled. The course is designed to teach the young people key skills in a group environment with other young people (although we can offer private sessions for those who we assess as requiring it). The sessions can either be privately funded by parents who are self-referring the young people, or they can be funded by the young person’s school as the course is aligned with the National curriculum and in 2024, we will be able to offer a personal development qualification for those attending. If you are interested or know a young person who would benefit from this great course, then please drop Ali an email on the email address below. lessons@aberdeenridingclub.com

We have a wealth of information on the course and can help liaise with schools to encourage them to support it for young people.


Poor Holly is having to take some time off as she has damaged her annular ligament on her back leg. It is quite a bizarre injury as it happened in a lesson – in walk! This would normally be the type of thing that happened as a result of high-speed work, but as with many horses – Holly remains a mystery. She has been scanned and x-rayed to find the problem and has now had the area medicated so she will continue with another 3 weeks box rest (with in hand walking) and then be rescanned to see if there is any improvement.


Sally is running a variety of training towards the BHS Stage 4 care and management assessments over the next couple of months. We have a full day training towards the BHS Stage 4 care on Fri 24th Nov (£120 per person) and then we are also offering online training for the management section on Friday evenings from 5.30p.m–7.00p.m. The management sessions are great for anyone who has an interest in equine businesses as well as those who are actually wanting to sit the assessment. If you would like more information on either of the courses, then please just call or email Ali.


Just a reminder to everyone that lessons should be paid a minimum of 24 hours in advance – if you are calling to pay the morning of the lesson or doing bank transfer, we will not be able to take the booking as the horses work hours are set the day before, so there won’t be a horse down for your lesson so please just remember if you don’t pay by block booking card to ensure you are booked in and paid prior to 24 hours before the lesson thanks!


As this newsletter was going to press, we were waiting to hear the results of Freya and Liam’s latest assessments. Freya was having a first attempt at her Stage 3 Ride, which involves riding 2 horses on the flat, one jumping at 90cm and one x-country – she travelled to England to sit the assessment and enjoyed it.

Liam is awaiting the results from his Coaching4All course which he has been doing for the last few months – the Coaching4All is an inclusive coaching qualification – it aims to give coaches more depth of knowledge and experience in making horses more accessible, so is a perfect qualification for our staff – Sally and Laura already hold it. We will update everyone with results once they’re in but wanted to wish them all good luck!


Trojan is a 15h.h. skewbald cob gelding, who Sally first met at Cavan Horse Sales when he was an 8 year old (he’s now in his late teens). Sally was looking for a horse for a teenage boy who wanted to do a bit more jumping and was quite tall. He would have been a bit overhorsed by a big moving horse, so Trojan was perfect as his size and shape meant he could carry a tall rider, but his turbo cob conformation meant he rode a bit smaller.

Born in Ireland, Trojan had been backed as a 4 year old and produced for working cob classes – a type of working hunter class (which has rustic jumps) specifically for cob types. Trojan was very successful at this and was placed at the Dublin show, which is a huge event in Ireland.

So, Sally bought him for the livery and he came back to Aberdeen and spent 3 years very happily competing up to 1m showjumping and 90cm eventing with his owner. His owner was then heading off to university, so he was sold to another livery and stayed at ARC for a few months, before that family moved to Edinburgh and Trojan moved with them. After a short period in Edinburgh, Trojans rider was giving up concentrating on a future career, so the family very kindly offered to donate Trojan to ARC to ensure he had a safe home for the rest of his days. We were delighted to accept Trojan as he had always been a firm favourite of Sally’s and we knew he would do a great job with our riders. Trojan has been a firm favourite ever since – he does a range of lessons and BHS assessments and is a very sweet, patient horse who will teach every rider well.

He can be a bit behind the leg if you “nag” at him too much and he likes a nice soft rein so he can go forward – so when you are warming him up, concentrate on making him work in his own space rather than letting him follow his pals and ensure you are using a light leg aid and backing it up with a tap with the stick if need be – much better than trying to kick at him with your leg which he’s not a fan of!

Trojan wears a rubber pelham bit – not because he requires extra brakes (hence he doesn’t wear a curb chain) but because he prefers the thicker, more simple mouthpiece of that bit. He also wears a Patriot jump saddle, so is a very good one for working on your lower leg position and getting a bit more security in it.

Trojan lives out 24/7 but not with the main school boys herd as he finds them a bit intimidating (particularly Jaffa!) – so he lives in our “odd group” with Rikki, Mr T, Scrufty, Squirrel and Harris. They are a strange group with a huge mix of sizes and personalities, but it works for them as they’re all a bit too timid to join the main group! Trojan is also convinced he is permanently starving (he’s not) so he likes to try to steal some mouthfuls of hay out of the evening nets that hang up when he is walking past!

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