Shetland ponies make their big debut at a show and sale in Carlisle
later this year.
Norman Blackburn's grandson, Tommy,
aged five, with pony Muffin
Increasing interest in the hardy native breed both in the north
and across the country has led to the demand for the sale which
is being conducted in October by Carlisle auctioneers Harrison & Hetherington
at Borderway Mart under the auspices of the Shetland Pony Studbook
Among the instigators and organisers of the sale is veteran Shetland
pony breeder Norman Blackburn, of Newton Reigny, near Penrith.
While he first established his Newton stud at Church Farm 36 years
ago, recently he has witnessed a growing number of breeders in
the region, particularly since the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001
among farming people.
“In recent years a lot of farming people have diversified
into breeding Shetland ponies and there are a lot of breeders in
the north from Crewe up to Edinburgh who are pledging their support
to this first sale in Carlisle,” said Mr Blackburn.
“I’m convinced it will be a huge success because of
the enthusiasm of breeders and because Borderway is such a central
and easily accessible venue for the sale. Harrison & Hetherington
is giving great backing to the sale. In fact, I could see it becoming
one of the premier sales in the country,” he added.
Harrison & Hetherington’s Alison Millar said: “We’re
all very excited about this new venture at Harrison & Hetherington
and we hope we can add a new dimension to the marketing of Shetland
Norman Blackburn is a Shetland society council member and because
of the interest in the region has been actively involved inn the
setting up of the North West and Borders Shetland Pony Group.
He has taken on the role as chairman with long-standing breeder
Janet Lowthian, of Gamblesby as secretary and Stephanie Atkinson,
of Newbiggin, Temple Sowerby, as treasurer – together they
have more than 70 years’ experience of Shetland pony breeding
Testament to the popularity of Shetlands in the area was the group’s
inaugural lunch at the end of January in Eamont Bridge which was
attended by 105 people.
This has encouraged the group to go ahead with plans for an open
show on June 25 at Newton Rigg Equestrian Centre near Penrith,
affiliated to the society as well as a car boot and pony tack sale
at Newton Shetland Pony Stud, Newton Reigny, on May 28.
A dinner and dance followed by a presentation of prizewinners
on September 2 at the Shepherds Inn, Rosehill, Carlisle, will lead
up to the inaugural show and sale at Borderway Mart on Wednesday
This date has been selected to fit in between established sales
at Aberdeen on Monday October 9 and the Reading event the following
Plans for the show and sale are already well advanced. The show,
which will begin at 10am will be judged by the President of the
Shetland Pony Society Stud Book Anna Stevens.
Lining up will be foals, yearlings and two and three year olds
to include mares, stallions and geldings.
Entry will be open to all registered animals whether miniatures
or standard ponieswhich stand below 34 inches at maturity or the
taller standard types.
“Shetland ponies, which because they are a native breed
are easily managed and have their own individual characters, appeal
to breeders as well as those who want to compete in showing, driving,
long-reigning or such as the Shetland Pony Grand National which
stages its finale at Olympia and which is coming to this year’s
Lowther event near Penrith as a qualifier.
“The Shetland is usually everyone’s first pony – I
was pony daft as a kid,” said Mr Blackburn, “however,
they now are appealing to people who have never handled a horse
or pony before.”
Highlight of Mr Blackburn’s career so far as both a judge
and an exhibitor of Shetland ponies was lifting five trophies at
the prestigious Reading show and sale with a 21 week old miniature
Further details on the Carlisle October sale, schedules and entry
forms can be obtained from Norman Blackburn, on 01768 864622, Janet
Lowthian 01768 881029, Stephanie Atkinson on 017683 61070 or from
Alison Millar of Harrison & Hetherington’s pedigree department
on 01228 640924.
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