The working pony is a treasured tradition on many of Scotland’s sporting estates and deer forests and it’s fitting that the 25th Anniversary GWCT Scottish Game Fair hosts the first staging of a ‘concourse d’elegance’ for working ponies in memory of the late Fred Taylor, Head Stalker on Invermark Estate in Angus, who died last year.
"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."
Entry for the competition is now open, and estates and deer forests with working ponies are encouraged to take part.
The event takes place on Sunday, July 7. 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.
The main award is the Fred Taylor Trophy, sponsored by the Earl of Dalhousie, and a set of photographs of the winning pony at work by acclaimed sporting photographer Glyn Satterley.
The event is organised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in conjunction with the Association of Deer Management Groups.
Application forms and other entry details can be obtained from:
The Association of Deer Management Groups
Tel: 0131 445 5570
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust is an independent wildlife conservation charity which carries out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
For information, contact:
Telephone: 0131 445 5570