WINNING the Sanderson Trophy for the overall Scottish native horse or pony is the pinnacle of every heavy horse exhibitor’s Royal Highland Show, but to win The Scottish Farmer Trophy which travels round the livestock sections each year was the cherry on top for Shetland pony breeder, Harry Sleigh.

It’s perhaps no wonder the 11-year-old standard stallion, Wells Reliance, did so well though as two grandparents, Wells Highlight and Wells Paula, both have both claimed the Sanderson Trophy with Highlight also scooping The Scottish Farmer Trophy.

This marked the fourth time the Turriff-based Wells Stud has lifted the Sanderson Trophy.

Reserve for the prestigious cup was the Clydesdale leader, Charlotte Young’s Doura Magic Touch, whose show career has been unrivalled with the two-year-old colt twice winning the National Stallion Show and lifting the Cawdor Cup as a yearling.

Not to be outdone, Highland ponies secured the St Johns Well’s Trophy for the best pair of native ponies by the same sire.

At the top of the line were Jane McNaught’s Dunedin Mascot and Fraser and Lorna Boyd’s Jessicah of Wooplaw, both by Dunedin Marksman.


A TWO-YEAR-COLT with a sparkling show career went one better than his reserve championship here last year when Charlotte Young’s Doura Magic Touch scooped the supreme accolade of the Clydesdale lines.

The two-year-old colt, which was bred across the water by Victor Millen and joined the Doura Stud at Hall Farm, Ayr, as a foal, has been virtually unbeaten since his first outing on the foal circuit, claiming the overall championship and therefore, the Cawdor Cup at the National Stallion Show as a yearling before following it up with the Stallion Show title earlier this year.

Sired by Glebeview Sir Charles and out of the Carnaff Ambassador-bred Ballinrees Lady Jayne, Magic Touch also landed the senior and reserve overall honours at the Winter Fair last November.

Irish breeding proved popular as James and Jennifer Reid’s three-year-old filly, Bencannon Majestic Flowergirl from County Antrim, claimed the female championship before standing reserve supreme.

This Redcastle Brelee Majestic daughter was champion at the County Londonderry Horse Breeding Society 50th anniversary show at Ballymoney as a yearling, and has also secured a red ticket at the Winter Fair. She is out of Collessie Venus.

Another colt that had an outstanding show career scooped the reserve male championship. Harry Emerson’s Lutterington Harry, from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, but produced by Ronnie and Pete Black, was unbeaten in his foal/yearling season, culminating in the male championship and reserve supreme ticket at the Highland as a yearling.

The three-year-old’s pedigree features Arradoul Balvenie on to Middlebank Carlogie Anna Maria.

Reserve female was Matthew Carrick’s Littleward Meghan, from Thornhill, Stirling, a two-year-old filly brought out with assistance from Matthew’s sister Margie and bred by their father, the late Charlie Carrick.

Another by Arradoul Balvenie but this time bred from Littleward Lady Athenia, Meghan has been out a handful of times and picked up a red ticket at the most recent Winter Fair.

Ridden Clydesdale

IT was a case of two wins in a row for John and Margo McIntyre’s Glenside Matthews Flower of Scotland when the seven-year-old mare won the ridden Clydesdale class for the second year running to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show.

With Judith Grant on board once again, the Dillars Ideal daughter, bred by John Adamson out of Barlauchlan Claires Delight, has picked up a number of tickets over the years, both in-hand and under saddle.

Stepping into the reserve spot was a gelding that has made the trip to Birmingham for the British Ridden Heavy Horse of the Year on many occasions, Annette Noble’s Peggyslea Andy, ridden by daughter Ailsa. Sired by Millisle Solway Bay, this eight-year-old is out of Ingleston Princess.

Highland pony

HAVING won a previous five male titles and one supreme honour in the Highland pony section, it was always Robin and Karen Stewart’s dream to win the female championship and that dream was made all the sweeter when their West Lodge Alby went on to stand overall champion.

The 13-year-old brood mare may have only been lightly but very successfully shown from the couple’s stud near Durris, Aberdeenshire, but secured top honours at Keith, Banchory, Fettercairn, Angus and Tarland shows, most recently standing champion of champions at Angus back in 2016. Bred from West Lodge Amy, her sire is the former in-hand and ridden champion at the Highland, Echo of Achnacarry. She was shown with her foal at foot by a previous Breed Show champion, Coulnacraig Jacobite.

The male champion, Carlung Valour, stepped forward in to reserve spot to achieve a best ever result for his owners, Alan and Carolyn Munro, who previously won the youngstock title with a home-bred yearling filly from their Loandhu Stud in Ross-shire. On his first outing since his purchase from Susan Wardrop last year, this three-year-old yellow dun colt is by Carlung Feargus and out of Reynelladene.

The second prize brood mare in the shape of Ulrika of Whitefield from the Baird family from Blairgowrie, followed Alby to take the reserve female championship. Sired by Oliver of Forglen and out of Queencake of Whitefield, she is another with some top tickets to her name, including a red ticket in the brood mare class at the Highland three years ago as well as the championship at the North-east Scotland Highland Pony Enthusiasts Club. Her colt foal is by Whitefield Prince Platinum, a multi-champion stallion.

Jane McNaught’s ridden champion from last year, Heather Jock of Fourmerk, added more prizes to his haul when he took the reserve male honours. This 10-year-old gelding by McCallumdene and out of Heather of Fourmerk, also stood reserve supreme ridden at last year’s Breed Show and has won multiple tickets in-hand when brought out by KVC Equestrian.

Shetland pony

THERE is unlikely to be a stud with such a winning streak at the Royal Highland as the Wells Stud, which has won in the region of 40 Shetland pony championships over the years.

Now run by Harry Sleigh jnr who was winning his fourth such title under his own name, what makes these wins even more impressive is the fact that they have been with different ponies.

This year’s leader was the 11-year-old stud senior stud stallion, Wells Reliance, which was going one better than his reserve supreme honours here as a three-year-old. Full of home breeding, being by Wells Extra Special and out of Wells Valerina, he went on to scoop the Sanderson Trophy, the fourth time the stud has done so, as well as The Scottish Farmer Trophy for a second time.

There was further success for the Wells Stud when Wells Prelude secured the reserve male ticket.

This three-year-old colt is also backed by home genetics, this time by Wells Masterclass and out of Wells Paris. He has only been lightly shown and always at the top of the line-up, winning his class here as a yearling.

Reserve supreme was Lucy Poett’s female champion, Harviestoun Sardinia, which was brought out by her daughter, Katy Leavey. The eight-year-old Harviestoun Precocious daughter was shown with great success as a youngster and landed the reserve title at Perth Show last year. She is out of Harviestoun Sardi.

Charlotte of Transy, a 12-year-old mare from the Transy Stud, stood in reserve female spot. This Earnbrig Ragnor daughter shown with her foal at foot has had a successful show career, standing supreme horse at the NPS Autumn Show at Netherton as well as best native at last year’s Turriff Show and overall in-hand champion at Central and West Fife Show. Her dam is Centenary of Transy.

Miniature Shetland pony

IT was a good day in the miniature Shetland section when entries from Matthew Davidson and Craig Johnstone secured the top two tickets in the male championship before their Milday Morse went on to stand supreme.

The four-year-old skewbald stallion – which is by Tawna Rubus and out of Milday Attraction, having been bred by John Lawrie – was junior champion here two years ago and has lifted many championships within the Central Scotland Shetland pony Group as well as in CHAPS classes.

Their reserve male was the similarly bred Milday Valentino, this time a three-year-old liver chestnut colt by Tawna Rubus and out of Milday Darashane. He was recently champion at the Central Scotland group show.

Robin’s Brae Tilly, a four-year-old mare from Glenn and Jane Smith but bred on the Shetland Isles by Mrs L Smith, landed the female honours before going on to stand reserve supreme. Her pedigree features Gunelsta Oscar on to Gott Marda.

The second prize yeld mare from Lynda Cochrane followed her to be reserve female. This was Parlington Viola, an 11-year-old by Parlington Maverick bred from Parlington Fay. She was champion at the Royal Northern Spring Show and Fife earlier in the year.

Highland pony under saddle

STALLIONS headed up the competitive ridden section when mouse duns topped each of the open classes before Harris of Mendick stood supreme ahead of Eran of Croila.

Having led the 14hh and above class of 21, Aileen Curle’s eight-year-old Harris added to his already impressive haul of prizes, including the supreme ridden Highland championship and NPS ridden final at Blair Horse Trials last year.

The former best of breed at Olympia, which was bred by John and Kate Dykes, has already secured his HOYS ticket as well as several supreme ridden championships earlier in the season. Produced and ridden by Brian Williams, he is by Dougal of Mendick and out of Clover of Mendick.

The winner of the under 14hh class, Jean Carnegie’s Eran of Croila, which qualified for HOYS last year, picked up the reserve ticket. This nine-year-old is a former supreme champion at the NPS Spring Show and qualified for HOYS last year when ridden by Heather Kerr. Bred by the late Cameron Ormiston, the Kyle of Croila son is out of Rhona of Croila.

Heavy horse turnouts

IT’S the highlight of the Sunday afternoon at the show – the thunder of the heavy horse turnout as they compete in the main ring final.

The turnouts run throughout the four days and culminate with the six-horse class in the main ring while the grandstand is packed with spectators.

The judge, Richard Green, from Barnoldswick, had his work cut out picking a winner, first from the five teams of six horses, then straight onto the championship. For the sixes he chose Hugh Ramsay’s impressive outfit, with Jock McMillan’s Mill Clydesdales in reserve.

There were five teams in for the championship and it was a popular choice when Richard pointed to Hugh Ramsay’s team of six as winners. Hugh has been competing at the Highland for more than 50 years and has the whole family involved, his daughter Elaine and granddaughters were helping in the immaculate delivery vehicle he was pulling.

Hugh, now an MBE for his services to the breed, had his six Clydesdales in sparkling form – Bobby, Jack, Glen, Banjo, Yorkie and Bill.

Taking the reserve spot was a new face to the Royal Highland Show, John Goodwin from Kent, who brought up his team of four, which he often shows very successfully around the south of England. John was pulling a bottle dray built in the 1970s by Rowlands of Devon as a show vehicle, and he had four stunning Shire horses doing the work – Dizzy B, Oscar, Henry and Sidney.

As always the crowd roared their approval as the winners and a host of other turnouts from previous classes put on a fantastic display for the grandstand. The last word came from the judge who said: “The six horses drove well and showed what big powerful animals they are. It’s no easy task controlling six horses. Very impressive.”

Harness, grooming and decoration

Taking the red ticket was Benny Duncan with his traditional wool harness on his horse, Geordie. Benny also picked up a first in the best-groomed horse class.

Reserve was John Goodwin with his Lancashire harness, on his horse, Sidney. John picked up a second in the best-groomed horse class, and a third in the best decorated floral harness.

The competition had a healthy entry of 18 exhibitors this year, showcasing the dedication these horsemen have to their craft.

Clydesdale Young Stockman

THE Clydesdale young stockman class on Sunday morning brought in four competitors and they all did a tremendous job of dressing their horses.

The competitors are judged on washing their horse’s legs and dressing the tail to present the horse for showing and then showing the horse to the judge.

This year’s judge was Robert Bailey, from Clonmel, in Tipperary, in Ireland, and he examined their work carefully before awarding the top spot to Keira Gowans, age 16, of Kirriemuir.

This was Keira’s first time entering the young stocksman class, though she had won the young handler’s prize for the past two years. She was showing a Scott Greenhill horse, called Fordelhill Hannah.

Taking reserve was Hannah Lindsay (13), from Crossford, in Lanarkshire. Hannah has shown here before, but this is the first time she has placed so highly and was showing her own Goodsburn Lucky Heather.

The judge said: “The entries were to such a high standard it was difficult to pick a winner. However, I though Keira did everything that I would have done, and I couldn’t fault her work. They would all put older people to shame, as they were so impressive.”

Clydesdale Young Handler

THE Clydesdale young handlers’ section had around a dozen entries this year.

A mix of boys and girls brought their horses forward to show off their skills, as it is only the handler that is judged in this section and not the horse. They qualified for this section by winning a handling section at local shows.

Taking the title was Heather Keron (14), from Crieff, who qualified at Perth Show. She has been in this class a couple of times before, the highest placing being fifth, so she was delighted to take the title while handling Rolling Thunder Maggie May.

In reserve was Keira Gowans, directly after winning the young stockman title. Keira has won this title for the past two years.

Michael Bailey, judge commented: “Again it was a very close competition, it was certainly down to the line, but Heather did everyone a professional would do.”