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Eric Starke and Cally from Glen Clova estate in Angus claimed first prize in this year’s Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy for Working Hill Ponies at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair.
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The 11th annual showing competition took place in the main ring on Sunday 2 July and is held in memory of Fred Taylor, who was the headstalker on Invermark Estate for more than 30 years.
This year saw 18 ponies and their ghillies parading in the main arena before a judging panel assessed them. The ponies are harnessed with tack for the hill, either for carrying deer or panniers for grouse, and the ghillies are dressed in their estate tweed.
Eric won the trophy back in 2017 when working at Glen Prosen and has been working at Glen Clova since last November. Grey mare Cally, who is 14-years-old, works regularly during the season carrying red deer and grouse. Eric says she is a mild, clever mare and never puts a hoof wrong.
Judge Mairead Allan commented: “The ponies were judged on a points system - marks out of five for harness, handler and then the pony itself. I had two ponies standing equal with 14 points but Eric and Cally had such a calm relaxed manner throughout the class and that's what swayed me in their favour. It looked like a real partnership.”
Glen Clova won the use of an Isuzu D-Max pick-up for six months as a prize.
Next year’s event takes place from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July 2024.
The UK's only dedicated Gun Dog magazine
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