In celebration of the Highland Pony Centenary

Sylvia Ormiston, stud manager, at the Balmoral Estate will be joining us at the Scottish Game Fair.  Sylvia will be doing a daily demonstration of the working Hill ponies, discussing breeding suitability and the training process of these versatile ponies to the final product. Sylvia has been at Balmoral since 2007 when her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II began her breeding programme of Highland ponies. Ponies with breeding lines going back to Queen Victoria were spread all over Scotland and were called back to Balmoral where Syliva has since produced, worked and bred these wonderful ponies under the watchful eye of her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These ponies are being produced as traditional working ponies, ridden ponies and for the show ring.

The Highland Pony Society is extremely fortunate to have had Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth

II as its Patron.
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was actively supportive of the Highland pony and the large breeding herd remains on The Balmoral Estate.

Sylvia will be available all weekend with her ponies for visitors to ask questions and share her knowledge of this wonderful breed of pony.

The Fred Taylor Memorial Award

The working pony is a treasured tradition on many of Scotland’s sporting estates and deer forests and we are delighted for the return of a ‘concourse d’elegance’ for working ponies in memory of the late Fred Taylor, Head Stalker on Invermark Estate in Angus.

The event takes place on Sunday, July 2nd 2023. All ponies entered should be accompanied by a stalker/ghillie in estate or sporting wear, and ponies should be turned out in appropriate tack for the hill, either to carry a stag, or panniers, or other hill work. Every pony entered must be working or have worked on an estate or deer forest during the stalking/shooting season.

A preliminary judging will be followed on Sunday afternoon by a parade in the main ring, final judging and awards of rosettes and prizes. Visitors to the Fair will be able to meet these characterful ponies and their handlers throughout the day.

History from original press release:

“Fred Taylor worked nearly all his life at Invermark and was Head Keeper for about 30 years,” said the Earl of Dalhousie, owner of Invermark.

“He was very widely liked and respected by his team, by the many visitors to Invermark and in the wider gamekeeping fraternity. He was also particularly good at bringing on ponies for stalking and, with his wife Anne, had planned to breed Highland ponies in his retirement.

“Sadly he died in 2012 with just a year to go. It seems very fitting that GWCT should propose a Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy, to be awarded for the first time this year for the best turned out working stalking pony and ponyman.”

2023 Enterants

Atholl Estates Blair Atholl Perthshire

Balmoral Estate, Braemar Aberdeenshire

Dalhousie Estate, Invermark, Angus

Drummond Estate, Glenartney, Comrie, Perthshire

Glenclova Estate, Angus

Invercauld Estate, Callater Braemar, Aberdeenshire

Kilfinichan Farms, Isle of Mull

Reay Forest, Achfary, Sutherland

Stratvaich Estate, Garve, Ross-shire

Judge – Mairead Allen, Cunnoquhie, Perthshire

Mairead Allen has been involved with ponies all her life starting, aged 10, with helping at her local riding school. After school she worked with
grooming for people with Fell driving ponies.

Worked at Ayton castle with Lady Delamere grooming polo ponies and hunters. In 1990 she came to be head groom for Sir Charles Connel, Colquhalzie in Perthshire where there were hunters, eventers and Highland Ponies.

Her love was the Highland ponies which she oversaw the breeding of and broke the ponies for work on the hill. Once they were broken to work on the hill she took them up to Sir Charles’ estate, Garrogie in Invernesshire, where the head stalker there, Norman Stoddart, then worked with them. She recently retired after 30 years with Sir Charles.

She has judged at various shows where her knowledge of Highland ponies has been much appreciated. Her expertise on how a pony should be handled and tacked up for the hill make her an ideal judge for the Fred Taylor competition.

The GWCT Scottish Game Fair is a trading name of Stable Events Ltd., a company registered in England and Wales (registered no 13236715). Registered Office: Invision House, Wilbury Way, Hitchin, England, SG4 0TY. Organised under license from the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust.
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