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Review of 2006

A great year for summer weather and a horrible back end.

In January, I decided to accept Scott McGregor's offer to swap colts with him. He had already bought Royal Scott. I had put a huge amount of thought into this and eventually decided to take MacCallumdene ( Rory of Balinoe x Salinadene). He's yellow dun and a handsome boy with lots of potential. In the same month, I sold H.S. to Julia Lewis from Aberdeenshire who wants him as a potential stallion. I've seen him since at shows and he's maturing well. My old cow Cannach was put down as she just melted away.

In February, we were invited to the premiere of "Wild Country" in Glasgow. It was quite a night and a great chance to chat to the cast and crew again. Had a long chat with Martin Compston and his dad and to Peter Capaldi, who is a real gem.

March brought heavy snow. Shame we weren't snowed in!

Shona came to work for me from the middle of April. We had seven calves - two bulls and four heifers - but one died at two weeks old of pneumonia. On the pony side, we had three colts and two fillies. Whilst we were at RHS, Holly was found dead in the field, so we had young Hamish to feed six times a day for four months. He turned out well despite losing his mother. We had lots of visiting mares and 17 out of 18 were in foal.

My last Gargunnock Show as secretary was in June and it was a huge success both financially and socially. We won the In Hand Championship with three year old Harriet and Reserve with Heigh Ho.

Overall we had a good showing season with Elise being Reserve at NPS Summer Show; Heigh Ho being 1st at RHS, 1st at Doune & Dunblane, 1st & Overall HP Champion at Kinross. The star was Heigh Ho's filly foal, Storm (by Rannoch, who was 1st at Gargunnock, 1st at Doune & Dunblane, 2nd at the Breed Show, 1st & Foal Champion, Reserve Highland Champion & Reserve Supreme Foal at NPS Youngstock Show. Rob Roy (Kestrel x Rosemaree) was 1st foal at RHS and Foal Champion at Blair.

We had several visitors from overseas: Barbara & George Clardy from USA, Lena Sarnholm & Steve from Sweden, Elizabeth & Martin Wener from Germany and Guido van Dijck from Belgium. In July we hosted a stud visit from the North East of Scotland group. In September, a visit from a group of Swedish horse insurance people was great fun and I was helped enormously on the performance side by Gilean Docherty, Lisa Webb, Jane McNaught, Lynn Sangster and Barbara McVean, not to mention Sally Coutts who provided commentary and Kirsten and Shona who helped in the kitchen.

I provided lots of surprise for Ronnie for his 60th birthday in August, but the best was his party about which he had no inkling! It was a huge success!

In September, we had a holiday in Co Donegal in Ireland. It was wonderful. I found the farm which my family had owned and worked. The weather was good and it was a very relaxing break. Scott McGregor left for Australia in September.

"Equi-ads" magazine ran a profile of me in its September edition! I was very flattered!

One of our cows was top price at the October show and sale in Oban. The Highland beef sold well over November and December. I accompanied a friend on a visit to Lindisfarne and Chillingham. I was amazed by the Chillingham wild cattle. An unforgettable experience!

We sold several ponies this year: Harriet to Orkney; Hosanna and Misty to Orkney; Rob Roy to Lismore; Hardy to Durham; and Hector to near Oatridge College.

A busy but satisfying year!

Review of 2005

I thought last year was busy, but this has been equally so. January was stormy and we lost our old tin shed in very high winds. February and March were lovely and warm and sunny. Then more rain! By summer by comparison, we had a water shortage!

We had six colt foals this year, one of which is a part bred. I'm really pleased with all of them, but sad that Kelpie's foal, which would have been our only filly, was stillborn. We had problems with Elise and her first foal which didn't suck. Scott McGregor gave us invaluable help and all ended well.

The calving didn't go too smoothly this year, but we had seven calves: four heifers and three bulls, one of which died at a few hours old.

We had a good showing year both for ourselves and for ponies we'd sold. Rosemaree's foal by Kestrel, Fourmerk Royal Scott, was Foal Champion at the Royal Highland Show and Foal Champion and Reserve Highland Champion at NPS Youngstock Show. He was sold to Scott McGregor as a potential stallion and will go to Australia in 2006.

Elise had two Championships - at Doune and Dunblane and "Scottish Farmer" Championship Show - as well as many firsts. Her black colt foal, H.S., a Kestrel son, was Foal Champion and Best opposite Sex to Champion at Doune and Dunblane, and Foal Champion at Central Scotland, with many other high placings.

Heigh Ho was first at NPS Spring Show, second at RHS, first at Malvern M&M, first and Champion Home Bred at Malvern HPS and first and Youngstock Champion at Central.

Of ponies we'd sold, Hazel and her foal, Glenwestcastle Loch Tay, by Kestrel, had a great year for Nicki Barfield. Hazel was three times Reserve Champion at Malvern HPS and Tay was Foal Champion. Tay was Reserve Foal Champion at Sibton Show. Lynn Johnston from Peterhead won the Championship at Elgin with Thor of Fourmerk, two year old colt. Roseanne, who went to Lee Ann Bunn in Virginia in 2004 is now being ridden and is very responsive and forward going.

We sold Kinloch (Lochie) to Joanne Bennett from Preston and Shaniadene has gone to Sweden in foal to Kestrel along with Cara of Auchendarroch (by Kestrel).

In August, we had a stud visit from HPEC North of England and Pennine Groups with about fifty people, some of whom stayed the weekend.

I was happy to be elected on to HPS Council again in June and I am still Secretary of Gargunnock Show. Next year will be my last as secretary - I hope!

Our good friend, Scott, left for Australia at the end of November. He sold Ballinton Farm and most of the ponies and has bought a property in Victoria. We will miss him greatly. We did enjoy his several farewell parties. It's the end of an era for Highland Ponies as Scott has done so much for the breed. We hope he'll be happy in his new venture.


Review of 2004

The busiest year I can recall! Life was certainly run in the fast lane all year as we had record numbers of visitors, both human and equine, and I took over as secretary of Gargunnock Show in March with only three months to get everything organised.

We had six foals this year: three colts and three fillies. Hazel and her colt foal by Haakon were sold and went to Norfolk in August. Rabbie Burns of Fourmerk, Rosemaree's black colt foal by Kestrel, was sold at weaning as a potential stallion. The remaining foals are Heriot of Fourmerk (Kestrel x Holly), Fourmerk Kyla II (Haakon x Kelpie), Fourmerk Helena (Haakon x Hope) and Fourmerk Heather Mist (Rannoch x Honey). Lee Ann Bunn in Virginia had two filly foals, one by Rannoch and the other by Haakon.

Seven calves were born, but sadly one heifer died. We have three bull calves and three heifers.

Kestrel had a record number of visiting mares and we look forward to seeing all his foals next year, both ours and visiting mares' foals.

We sold Hazel (as mentioned above); Thor, who went to Peterhead as a potential stallion; Rosanna and Glory, two yearling fillies went to Netherlands; and Rabbie Burns. We had too many heifers by Fergie and so decided to sell some. Four have gone to their new homes in Angus, Isle of Bute and Gloucestershire. We have looked for some time for a replacement bull as Fergie has been here for seven years and we have not been able to keep any of his daughters. We found Dalriada of Munlochy who was at Auchnacraig fold on Mull and we sold Fergie to Ken Brown, President of the Highland Cattle Society.

Old Misty was put down at the age of 23 as she just wasted away. A sadder loss was Tara. We found her lying, unable to get up, her hind legs paralysed and she was put down. Even sadder was the loss of our beloved flat coated retriever, Tarff, who was diagnosed as having kidney failure in April. His successor is Barty, a flat coat puppy who arrived in October.

Our human visitors, many of whom stayed here, came from far flung places to see our ponies. Julia (nee Ferguson, of Harkaway Lodge Stud) and Rod Graves from Australia; Lena Sarnholm, equestrian journalist, from Sweden; the Clardy family from Pennsylvania who have bought Rannoch's filly foal from Lee Ann; Guido and Gerda van Dijck ( van den Cappelenberg stud) from Belgium; Elizabeth and Martin Wener, who have Bruce of Fourmerk, from Germany; Wendy Rowe (Lone Tree Stud) from California; and Anna and Ian Jamieson, who hope to start a stud, from Sweden. Nicki, who bought Hazel stayed here twice over the summer and was a huge help to us at the Highland Show. We had a stud visit from Border Highlands in August, when thirty people came to lunch and to see the ponies.

Just when life should have been quieter in October, we were a film location for a horror film called "Wild Country" which will be screened in cinemas in October 2005. It was great fun!

Both Heigh Ho and Elise had good show results, with Elise taking the Youngstock Championship at the "Scottish Farmer" show and the Overall Championship at Central. Heigh was consistently highly placed throughout the year, taking firsts at Doune & Dunblane, Kinross, Central and "Scottish Farmer". Rabbie and Heriot both did well in foal classes.

Our beef from four steers was all sold.

Review of 2003

This was another satisfying year, especially from the point of view of the weather. It was one of the hottest, driest years on record. Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed the sun, we had problems with water as all the burns dried up!

We had five fillies and one colt foal this year, two of these being Haakon's first foals. Rhanna, Rosemaree's Kestrel filly foal, was Foal Champion at Doune and Dunblane and at Malvern, where she was also Reserve Champion Bred by Exhibitor. Rosemaree herself was second at RHS and first at Doune and Dunblane and Malvern. Her three year old son, Rannoch, was Highland Pony Champion at the National Stallion Show in March. Hosanna, Holly's filly by Kestrel, was Foal Champion at Braco. Elisedene, the bought in two year old filly had a very good year, being Reserve Champion at Gargunnock, Reserve Female Champion at RHS and Reserve Female Champion at Malvern.

We sold Honour (Kestrel x F. Hazel) to Sandra Joling in Netherlands. F. Flora is now in Holland, too. In October, F. Roseanne, three year old filly in foal to Haakon, was exported to Lee Ann Bunn in Virginia, USA. With her went Sharian Primrose, in foal to Rannoch. In November, the filly foal, F. Hannah (Fyfedene x F. Honey) went to her new home with Amanda King in Devon. Jubilee went to Margaret Hallam in Leicestershire in December.

In August, Central Scotland Highland Pony Club had a stud visit to Fourmerk and seventy people came to lunch and to see the ponies. It was a really enjoyable day.

Ronnie had his first judging appointment at New Cumnock in August and acquitted himself well at a quality show. I judged the M&Ms Strathendrick Riding Club Show.

The cows produced four bull calves and three heifers. Three two year old steers and a heifer supplied our customers with Highland Beef at the end of the year.


Review of 2002

It's been a busy year and a good one, despite the terribly wet weather. We had six foals this year - three colts, three fillies - and we were pleased with all of them, but especially Rum (Kestrel x Rosemaree) who, following in the hoofprints of his brothers, Rannoch and Ruaraidh, won several Foal Championships. Harmony, the last ever Innes foal (x Holly) and a lovely filly, also did her share of winning. Rannoch didn't go out until the last two shows of the year and was Highland Pony Champion and Supreme Champion at the inaugural NPS Scotland Youngstock Show. Rosemaree was Reserve Champion at NPS Summer Show.

On the cattle front, we had four calves -two bulls and two heifers - but one bull calf died. We then bought two cows with calves at foot. Our butchered steers have sold well and all the buyers have been pleased with the meat we've supplied.

We sold Siouxi, the yearling part bred filly, in March and Rum and Ruskie, two colt foals, were sold in December. Lee Ann Bunn from Virginia, USA, has bought Annie, (Roseanne), who will go to her new home in 2003 after she has been served and scanned in foal. Other visitors from abroad were Elizabeth and Martin Wener from Germany in July and Linnea Ornstein from Sweden.

In the late summer we got Shergar, a Shetland gelding, for our grandchildren, Alexander and Eilidh. He was bred at Harviestoun and is a real character and 100% safe for the twins.


Review of 2001

This year we lost two ponies, Bobby was put down in January when his liver damage became untreatable, and Innes died of a twisted gut in May.

On a more cheerful note, after foot and mouth was on the wane, we sold five heifers to a new breeder in Fife. We also sold two ponies: Rannoch and Madge who was sold in September to Christina Maxwell who has James I of Boquhan, the first foal I bred.

In July I judged a small Highland Pony show in the south of Germany and there I saw Bruce, who is owned by Elizabeth Wener. I really enjoyed judging there and was impressed by the quality of the ponies before me.

Kestrel was schooled by Jane McNaught and this was his first year under saddle. He qualified for the Picton Novice Championship at Malvern, where he was a creditable second in his class. He was Reserve Supreme at the "Scottish Farmer" Show. There were 3 foals by him this year: Hazel had a filly called Honour and Heather Turnbull and Ellie Douglas got a filly and a colt respectively.

In December, I bought a filly foal, Elisedene, from Scott McGregor


Review of 2000

By February, there had been so much rain that the fields were a sea of mud. Five mares were positively pregnancy diagnosed, but Misty slipped her foal in March. That same month, Kestrel gained Premium at the Highland Pony Stallion Parade and became an HPS Life Premium Stallion.

In April, we visited Patricia Laves in Germany and were delighted to see Big Lizzie (Elizabeth of Croila) who used to belong to me and was sold to Frauke Misof some years ago. She is now owned by Patricia. Rosemaree foaled a colt (Rannoch). Perrie and Rosella both foaled in May, Siouxi and Roseanne respectively, but we lost Honesty, the two year old filly, who hemorrhaged into her lungs. At Drymen Show Rowan, two year old filly, was first, Kestrel was first and Best Opposite Sex to Champion, Rosemaree and Rannoch were both third. A week later Rowan died of grass sickness.

June saw us exhibiting at NPS Summer Show where Rosemaree and Rannoch were both first and Rosemaree was Reserve Champion and Best Bred by Exhibitor. Holly foaled a filly (Hope). Kestrel was 4th at RHS.

Haakon arrived from Orkney in July, just before the HPS Breed Show of which I was secretary. In August, at Kinross Show, Rannoch was Foal Champion. Rosemaree and Rannoch were both second at the 'Scottish Farmer' Show in September and at Central Scotland Show, Rosemaree was second, Rannoch first and Hazel first.

Rannoch was Foal Champion at Stirling Foal Show in December.