27th April 2017

MARJORIE MARTIN 

Mrs Marjorie Martin (nee Sleigh) of the Westpark Stud passed away on 17th April. Marjorie was a well-known stockperson, who, along with her father, Harry, and brother (also Harry) enjoyed major success in the Shetland pony world with the Wells stud in the 1950s to the 1970s. Over this period Marjorie and her father bred and showed over 25 Royal Highland Show champions and eleven Royal Show champions under the Wells banner, and exported ponies to many countries including USA, Australia, France, Denmark and Czechoslovakia. She started her own stud in the mid-1970s under the name of Westpark.

With her Westpark stud, Marjorie won The Royal Show in 1979 with Wells Elmar. She went on to win the Royal Highland Show with Lakehead Ensign in 1980, beating her father into reserve. Marjorie followed up this success in 1985 with Westpark Elagance. She won the St John’s Wells trophy at the Highland Show in 1998 .  Marjorie also enjoyed a very successful career in the North East showring, winning all the local shows, including Turriff Show five times.

Westpark breeding is the foundation stock for numerous studs which have gone on to win at shows in both Scotland and England. Marjorie’s breeding continues to be at the forefront of the Shetland Pony breed. After she retired, her stallion, Westpark Royal Star, who was sold to her nephew, Harry Sleigh of St. John’s Wells, won the Royal Highland Shetland pony male championship and went on to win overall reserve in 2014. In the following year he won the Royal Highland Show Championship. Royal Star was also overall supreme and the best overall native pony at New Deer Show in 2015, and in 2016 he was champion at Turriff and best Native pony at what was to be Marjorie’s last show.

Marjorie judged at numerous shows, including twice at the major French show and was one of the few to have judged the Royal Highland show twice along with nearly every other major show in the UK. Marjorie was widely acknowledged to be a fair and expert judge.

Marjorie’s passion, skill, knowledge and expertise of Shetland ponies and of horses in general was without parallel.  She was always willing to pass on her knowledge to other breeders and will be sorely missed in the Shetland pony world.

Marjorie was ably supported by her late husband, Wilson, both on the farm and at shows.