MORNING dawned bright and crisp, promising an excellent day for the Lossiemouth Equestrian Centre Christmas Show.
Yard manager Rudi Paret, parents and children from the yard were up early, brushing, plaiting and generally getting their ponies and horses looking their best, ready for the off.
A variety of classes were designed to provide fun and entertainment both for the equines and humans.
Pony, gymkhana and fancy-dress competitions alternated with more serious dressage and jumping contests, culminating in the ‘Chase me Charlie’, in which riders are eliminated when they knock down a fence as it increases in height.
A beautiful chestnut mare, Stacey, with Justine Morley on board, leapt higher and higher until they cleared about four feet. Jumping that high on a very sprightly mare is no mean feat, given the limited space in the small arena.
The most entertaining element of the show was the gymkhana. It was a test of speed, agility and control, and strange objects such as an umbrella on a tarpaulin tested even the most placid of equines. In the Welsh cob section D, Ffoslas April Morn (Taffy), for one, certainly wasn’t about to put a hoof on that!
The very intelligent Tonto refused to stay in the pen, while his rider, Ellie Kabamba, ran round the arena. Twice he escaped, but not before he had tried to eat the carrots in the bucket. There was a lot of dismounting displaying the horsemanship of the young riders. The event was won by a black six-year-old black fell pony, Misty, and rider Chloe Smith.
The walk trot dressage test was won jointly by 15-year-old Taffy and a lovely seven-year-old chestnut thoroughbred called Archie, ridden by the very capable Kerry Norgate.
Brave mum Dawn Harper overcame her nervousness and took Taffy into the ring. He is not a pony that is known for his predictability, and he later dumped Dawn’s daughter, Jordan, unceremoniously on the ground and ran back to the stables. Dawn tackled the course, though, and notched up a very commendable clear round.
Eleven-year-old Eve Talloch and Starski were very speedy, and could certainly enter time trials.
Rudi Paret and his partner, Sue, are looking forward to making the yard into a Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) centre in 2014. Rudi is a dedicated and multi-talented horseman, with qualifications in farriership, agriculture, horticulture and even equine dentistry, and is a group instructor for the RDA.
Rudi will attend training days with the RDA to improve his knowledge in the specialist field of teaching disabled children to jump. It is well known that horses can aid the development, both physical and mental, of disabled children, and Rudi wants to put his knowledge to good use.
He has been teaching at the RDA centre at Burgie for 11 years, and he hopes that this new dimension to his yard will be to the benefit of all.