Most of the time I have the best job in the world, allowing me to be entrepreneurial and visit the most beautiful parts of Scotland.

The day I wrote this was one of those days that ticked every box. It did not look so good on paper from the start when one sets out for Balmoral (to organise our amazing platinum ride and drive in May) to find the snow gates at Glen Shee and Cairn o’ Mount both closed – but a diversion by the Slug Road proved suitably beautiful and snowy Royal Deeside was, indeed, a picture.

The amazing Sylvia Ormiston, who manages HM The Queen’s stud at Balmoral was lamenting to me about the long snowy cold winter, when despite the beauty, keeping ponies fit proves difficult with the temperature remaining just around freezing and the snow balling up in the ponies’ feet. We discussed the weaknesses of grease and boots etc, when I had the brain wave.

Now, my mother was brought up in the Borders and in the snowy 1930s people knew what to do. So I said to Sylvia: “When my mum was a child in the Yarrow Valley she was sent to school on snowy days with her socks on over her shoes.” And we looked at each other and said ‘Genius!’ and that is what we did.

So there I was 10 minutes later cantering around the arena on board ‘Balmoral Lomond’ with a pair of Sylvia’s old blue socks on and not a snow ball in sight!

Anyway – enough of being a Scottish sage and to matters more modern. The BHS is getting well into its platinum year and at Balmoral we will be joining forces with the Equine Grass Sickness Fund (EGSF) who are celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018, so between us we will be marking a century of equine charities improving welfare in Scotland.

On April 28 the EGSF is holding a conference at the Moredun where key scientists will discuss the vaccine trial, how to nurse chronic cases and how to (if it is possible) reduce the risk of your equine becoming a victim of this devastating disease. Feel free to join the event, simply look at

Euthanasia is not a welfare problem, but delayed death is when it comes to equine welfare. Having recently witnessed my dearest friend put her lovely horse of 15 years to sleep on account of his worsening arthritis, it was driven home to me just how brave a decision it is – to call time on your life defining and life shaping companion for his sake.

The rightness of the decision does not help the making of it – his increasingly frequent joint injections, limited activity (no more riding) the need for box rest and huge vet bills were not the reason – it was simply better for him. But it was hard for the lady whose waking and sleeping days his wellbeing and care had framed for so many years.

And that is just one of the issues to be tackled at our joint Scottish equine welfare conference at the Weipers Centre, on May 11, with obesity, lifestyle, measuring pain and quality of life calculators all being discussed.

Our ‘Rider responsibility’ events for 2018 kick off this week in Dumfries where Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Police Scotland and our lawyers, Anderson Strathern, join forces to show riders and owners the easiest way to protect themselves and others by adhering to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and best practice on road riding.

BHS recently commissioned the Transport Research Lab (TrL) to investigate the issue of ‘conspicuity’ and found that LED lights on the rider in a triangle formation offered lifesaving additional protection, that the colour of hi viz – orange, pink, green or yellow – is of little consequence, as long as it is florescent /reflective and stands out against the background and that speed limits are recommended on roads where horses are ridden. Read the full report on

So it might be more than socks that we wear in the future!