- Horse Training

‘She might be sorely missed’: remaining farewell to high driving pony breeder and decide

  • By Charles Runcie

    Margaret Runcie, a number one determine within the UK equestrian world died on 23 December, aged 97.

    Margaret Mary Energy was born in Hertfordshire. Her curiosity in ponies began aged three, driving the household donkey, then she joined the Enfield Chace department of the Pony Membership to compete in displaying, showjumping and cross-country. Leaving college in 1941, she spent the subsequent two years protecting the Enfield Chace Hunt getting into wartime, whipping-in and exercising hounds.

    After wartime service as a petty officer within the Wrens, she studied dairy animal science at Studying College. In 1950, she joined the Ministry of Agriculture as a milk tester working primarily in Leicestershire’s Belvoir Valley, which was useful for the present circuit and looking.

    In 1953, Margaret received a scholarship to check on the prestigious College of Cornell, US. She initially turned down the invitation, reasoning “I’ve an excellent hunter who’ll win all the massive reveals this summer time,” however was persuaded by her boss in the long run. Among the many others on the Queen Mary crossing was her future husband, Ken.

    After marriage and transferring to Scotland, the arrival of a household in 1958 prompted a change from hunters. She purchased Elizabeth Arden, a pony with the qualities Margaret needed in a basis broodmare for her British driving pony stud. This was the Rosslyn Stud, and the beginning of 40 years of in-hand success. An early win was the supreme championship on the 1960 Royal Highland Present, the presentation made by The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, and the primary of 18 gold medals received there by Elizabeth Arden and her offspring.

    Her abilities in breeding had been clear-cut. Sticking to at least one household and never following trend, she was devoted to breeding ponies of the very best high quality, motion and temperament. They needed to have clear strains, a superb shoulder and be nicely behaved to swimsuit a life round youngsters. Two of Elizabeth Arden’s influential progeny had been Rosslyn Character and Rosslyn Candy Speak. Each had great limbs, glorious temperaments and bred positive foals.

    Margaret had an amazing work ethic.

    “We’d be at a present all day, get dwelling knackered, but she was off around the fields to verify on the yearlings,” remembers certainly one of many college students she taught for stud assistant exams. “She was all the time across the yard and if we needed to stand up early to arrange for a present, she would stand up too.”

    In addition to success within the present ring, she turned influential exterior it. In 1961, she helped arrange the Scottish Committee of the Nationwide Pony Society (NPS) to advertise higher requirements and training amongst native pony house owners in Scotland.

    Along with her as secretary for 33 years, they labored tirelessly, persuading agricultural reveals to placed on extra native breed courses, organising a transport pool to share prices, placing on demonstrations to coach folks, even coordinating a Scotland-wide dried milk and colostrum scheme for orphan foals. The phone was by no means quiet, with folks ringing up for assist and recommendation on equine administration, recommendation freely and generously given.

    Judging was a pure development for her, although by no means deliberate. Her full honesty and equity, with a watch for good conformation, ensured she was in demand. Along with her dimension, she was in a position to experience smaller native breeds. She was a preferred determine particularly at Irish reveals, certainly one of few judges comfortable to journey from Britain within the Nineteen Seventies when others had been postpone by the Troubles.

    Already a council member of the primary physique, Margaret turned president of the NPS throughout its centenary yr, 1993. On the annual present that yr, she escorted the society’s patron Princess Margaret round, explaining what was taking place. She was awarded the NPS Medal of Honour, then in 1995 the celebrated Sir William Younger Award from the Royal Highland Agricultural Society.

    The quotation mentioned: “Her success is largely resulting from her consideration to element in all facets of equine administration. Nonetheless, these within the horse world agree that she has that intangible asset – aptitude – which separates her from her friends.” She was the primary equestrian character and first girl to be awarded it.

    By the Nineties, the fourth era of Elizabeth Arden’s offspring was successful, significantly Rosslyn Candy Repose. She had consecutive Highland championships from 1994–7, together with a coveted Queen’s Cup in 1996. She certified for the in-hand championship at Horse of the Yr Present 5 instances, successful in 2001 for David Ross. Many contemplate Candy Repose the best pony Margaret ever bred.

    In 1997, Margaret determined to retire, and the stud’s dispersal allowed extra time to guage, with journeys to the US, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, plus years of continued involvement in lots of facets of the equestrian world.

    Present NPS president Caroline Nelson, who knew Margaret for over 50 years, mentioned: “To us within the pony world, Margaret was an astute, profitable breeder, decide and avid supporter of the British driving pony. Her dedication continued lengthy after the years of breeding, often attending reveals and helping with sponsorship. She might be sorely missed by her many buddies, and by those that have Rosslyn blood of their studs.”

    Her husband Ken predeceased her, in 2011. She is survived by sons Charles and Ian and three grandchildren.

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