There were some long faces at Newtonmore Riding Centre last week when the local police told them they would have to cancel their British Horse Society Riding and Road Safety Exams scheduled to take place on Newtonmore Main Street on Sunday 30th August, the same day that 2500 Hogs (Harley Davidson Motorcycles) from Thunder in the Glen were due down this end of the valley.
However after some rapid intervention by our area BHS Safety Rep an alternative venue for the exam was chosen at the the Industrial Estate in Newtonmore and the tests were able to go ahead with the full sanctioning of Northern Constabulary.
The exam results were brilliant, with 10 out of the 11 forward passing even though the candidates were only told the new revised road route 2 minutes before their test.
There were candidates from as far afield as Fife, Crieff and Gairloch and a pass rate of this standard is very good. The tests consist of a theory section, a simulated road test route and if these are satisfactorly completed then the final part is the actual real Road Test out on the Public Highway observed by two BHS examiners. The minimum age for doing the test is 12 years old and some of the most anxious candidates we had were much older, the test is probably more in depth than the driving test for a car or motor bike because you have to control an animal with its own mind and not a machine. All the local candidates from NRC passed, and we had 5 altogether on it, Pat Morris, Becs Morris, Eilidh Watson (14), Shannin Cooke (12) and Honor Rainy Brown (12). The one candidate who was not local and did not pass the simulated route because of nerves will return for more training and practice in October to NRC.
No surprises the 12 years old passed really, Shannin was 3rd at Lochaber Show last week in the Open Highland Pony Ridden Class out of nine and Honor, the other 12 year old from Cromdale, was 2nd on Friday 28th Aug at Blair Horse Trails in the Open Mountian and Moorland Ridden Class, so I suppose they are two good riders for their age and two to watch for the future.
Also at Lochaber Show last weekend Gillian Macrae of Newtonmore won the Ridden Highland Pony Chanpionship with Isabella of Muck, a 5 year old mare that Ruaridh bought as a 2 year old but who has Ormiston bloodlines on both sides and works daily at NRC. Gillain had a great day at Fort William at the show and obviously so did the rest of the team too with Shannin taking two 3rds with another Highland Pony now 6 years old and called Highland Tess of Cairn Dearg (Now sold to Rebecca Morris for her mum Pat). Gillians own pony 3 year old Alice of Caimbe got a second after being the In Hand Champion at Lochaber last year.
For more information about Road Safety Exams visit the BHS website.