President's Report

Dear Members

I am writing this, my first Report, as President of the SPS-BS unexpectedly soon. Due to unforeseen circumstances I took up my position earlier than expected but am proud to find myself President of our Society again and look forward to the next two years.  I am lucky in my Council, we all plan to work together for the benefit of the Society, Membership and of course the Shetland Pony.

I began the Meeting with a minute’s silence in memory of the late Mr Dougal Dick (Transy Stud), such an enormous influence on our Society for so many years and who will be much missed.  I then, on behalf of Council, welcomed our only new member, Mrs Heather Wilson from the Mingulay Stud, Alford.  Heather has sat on Council previously and we were very pleased to have her with her knowledge and good sense back working with us.

As always we began by reading every letter sent to Council since the last meeting. It appears that one reply to a letter did not arrive, probably due to the post since every letter, after being read, is answered with the office keeping a copy of the answer dated when written and from now on the office will also keep a postage book so we know exactly what date letters are posted, I only know about Sussex where, sadly, a small proportion of post never seems to arrive, maybe this happens nationwide, I do not know but was upset to hear a letter to a member is still floating about in a sorting office somewhere.

We had updates from this year’s Breed Show, at Chard, organised by Mr David Hodge and Mr Julian Walters and the 2022 Breed Show which Mrs Debbie Pittard and her committee are organising in Wales – two shows to look forward to for all of us, but what of next year 2021 which until Friday had no Breed Show plans?  Council discussed this and our Past President Mrs Jill Jones, my Vice President Mrs Joan Lambert and Council Member Mrs Daphne Elphick agreed to help me organise a Show in 2021 at the South of England Showground, Ardingly, Sussex.  I realise we will be between two hard acts to follow and precede but we will do our utmost to keep to the high standard expected of an SPS-BS Breed Show.  Whilst writing about Shows I should remind everyone to check early if vaccinations are required, Chard and Ardingly certainly do and I think all major Showgrounds will do the same.  Equine Flu has been around and the EHV1 virus has been reported in some areas so do check before you enter any show.

Another reminder is to take hair samples from your brood mares for DNA testing against any pony in your ownership put forward for veterinary inspection at three years or older.  If you sell a mare it is vital to take a hair sample before she leaves your premises as once sold only the registered owner can agree to provide hair for DNA.

We had one letter referring to Show Stewards general incompetence, while we are sympathetic we must point out that all Shows will always provide their own Stewards and we have no ability either to police this or indeed to make the organisers do anything about their Stewards – if you have a local show and are not showing ponies perhaps you could offer to steward – it might be very gratefully accepted!

The subject of the Magazine was on our Agenda, everyone agrees that the editors, Mrs Joan Lambert and Mrs Jane Dennis ably assisted by Mrs Pauline Young from the office do an excellent job but there has been a serious falling off of advertisements which are needed to pay for the printing and postage of the Magazine, the Editors suggested we now do a Spring issue with all advertisements, hoping as many of you as possible will advertise and then follow up with a slimmer Autumn Magazine with pictures and some articles, thus making the whole annual magazine production fall in budget which we need to do to keep our ever rising costs down.  We think the lack of advertisements is the frequent use of Facebook which is a very popular way of giving information and pictures of ponies being shown, for sale or just for general instant news from studs.  The Editors, therefore, would greatly appreciate members supporting the Society by advertising in the Spring issue – should anyone have any questions Pauline at the office will be happy to assist.

I am writing this mid Storm Ciara and only hope you are all surviving the appalling weather conditions and that soon you will be enjoying some milder weather for foaling. We have all had a simply terrible wet winter and I join with you all in wishing for some easier conditions in which to manage ponies.


Anne De La Warr

(Countess De La Warr, President SPSBS)