President's Report

Dear SPSBS Members

Council held the first Zoom Meeting via our computers and laptops on Friday 23rd October.  This was a first in the annals of the Society and equally a first for many of us.  Remembering we are all volunteers and many of us are not involved in office work and mainly come from rural areas, often with not very good broadband, I was very impressed with the skill and determination of Council Members in their efforts to master Zoom and am happy to report we had a very good meeting and as an added bonus it was good to see faces I have not seen since last March albeit slightly skew whiff on the screen!

As usual we read all the letters sent to Council with apologies for the delay in replying but, as everyone knows, Council have been unable to meet in Perth since our last meeting in February due to the Covid19 restrictions put in place by both the English and Scottish Governments.  We applied to OSCR for a dispensation to hold a Zoom Meeting which was happily given but they said no to my hope for an AGM at Worcester.

Sadly this year has been one long succession of non events, no Breed Show, no International Show and no ISPC let alone all the cancelled local and county shows.  The Breed Show will (hopefully) be held on the same weekend and with the same Judges in 2021, David Hodge and Julian Walters had a splendid one in place for this year and will be simply moving it to 2021.  The same should happen with the International and ISPC but obviously that depends on France and any restrictions their government may impose, I sincerely hope both these events will all be possible next year.

Our probationary Judges Scheme was stopped for 2020 for the obvious reason that there were no affiliated shows but, again, I hope things will start again next year although at present the outlook is not as good as we might have hoped, I think we are all more worried about Christmas than anything else, that time of year when we all get together with our families and friends to celebrate the birth of our Saviour.  What a strange year 2020 has been. 

The Office are slowly starting to get bits of information from the Scottish Government about Brexit and as soon as we know anything concrete we will put it up on the Society Web Site but at present it all seems to be rather in the air, I wish I could tell you more but like everyone the Office and I are still in the dark.

Council decided to leave all prices as they are except for the cost of importing ponies which, from 1st January 2021, will be £200 per pony.  This is to cover the cost of the office time that has to be devoted to imported ponies.

Sales went well, Lerwick did it’s usual amazing job with i bidding and live streaming, Aberdeen had very few entries but nonetheless achieved good prices.  Our new English Sale at Worcester went well and again achieved high prices.  There were some comments on FaceBook about the Covid rules as seen on photos but they were totally compliant with the English Rules which differ from those in Scotland.  Reading have announced they will not be holding Shetland Sales in the future so Council are in discussion with Worcester who are happy to accommodate us next year.  It is very close to the Motorway and has lots of parking, a good café and decent loos which seems to be what members most want, plus, of course good prices.

Meanwhile as many of you will know our Vice President Mrs Joan Lambert has decided that age and health force her to retire and Mrs Roselyn Fraser will be taking her place from January 1st 2021 and then will follow me as President in 2022.  We will all miss Joan who has done so much for our Society, you will all remember her constantly at Shows and Sales selling her Shetland Pony Trading Merchandise, the good sense she consistently showed when President, her exemplary sense of duty and service and we will miss her greatly.  However, we all feel very lucky to have Roselyn, whose name was the only one put forward by Council, and I very much look forward to working with her, we have been good friends for more years than either of care to remember.

We say goodbye to outgoing Council Members Michael Barugh, Eileen Carlyle, Daphne Elphick, Stevie McKay and Janice Priest all of whom have supported me unwaveringly in this exceptional year and all of whom I am very grateful to and all of whom I will miss both round the Council Table, on the Computer Screen and chatting to on the telephone.  Thank you to all of them and also last but not least to you, our Members without whom we would have no Society.

With my very best wishes

Countess De La Warr, President S.P.S.B.S