President's Report

21st February 2024

Dear Members

The first council meeting of 2024 was held in Perth on 1st & 2nd of February.  The council meeting felt more proportionally represented and we welcomed Martin Cummings representing Northern Ireland and Mrs Lara Joslin being our second council member for Wales. We also have Mr Shearer Pitcairn and Mr Matthew Davidson for Scotland, Ms Catherine Evans, Ms Karen Hodge, and Ms Debbie Barr for England.   Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather Roselyn Fraser was the only member from Shetland that was able to attend the meeting, so we look forward to welcoming Ms Ingrid Johnson from Shetland & Orkney to the next Council meeting in April.  The new council members provided a fresh opinion and a welcomed outlook to the meeting.

This was my first meeting as President and I have large shoes to fill following on from Roselyn Fraser, who has shown so much dedication to the President’s role.   I very much share Roselyn’s viewpoint that being a director of the Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society, it is our duty to ensure we make every effort to protect and promote this wonderful breed that we all care for so much.

The proposal of SPS-BS rosettes being awarded only to SPS-BS members as mentioned in Roselyn’s previous President’s report will be looked at again by Council in April.    It is important that we take our members feedback into consideration.   We would like to encourage everyone with a passion for showing Shetlands to become members of the SPS-BS.

We are looking forward to welcoming some budding trainee judges to the Trainee Judges Assessment Day which will be held in Central Scotland at Champfleurie Equestrian Centre, West Lothian on Sunday 29th September 2024 and applications will be open very soon.  If you intend on applying for the Trainee Judges Scheme, please make sure you have completed the required stewarding appointments or intend to do so before the assessment day.    Stewarding assessment forms are available from the office.

This year sees the introduction of all first foaling mares being required to be DNA profiled.  This helps in the future for newly licensed VVE’d males to be easily parentage tested.   Council have considered the extra financial burden that members will incur, so we have taken the decision to waiver the £15 first foaling mare fee in 2024.   This will require to be reviewed annually as we are mindful that we are also guardians of the SPS-BS finances.  Directors of the SPS-BS do not aim to make large profits from the membership, but simply maintain a sensible and stable bank balance.   Ever increasing staff wages and utility charges mean that we always have a focus on our costs.

The SPS-BS has now began using the Animal Genetics Laboratory in Truro, Cornwall for DNA testing.  Our historic DNA samples are still held with Weatherbys and fees are incurred when genetic marker reports are required to be sent to Animal Genetics from Weatherbys, therefore, this means we are unable to alter the costs of DNA testing at this time.   It must be noted that the SPS-BS cannot accept DNA sampling reports made via private applications and all DNA testing must be processed through the SPS-BS.

At the request of the members, Council has agreed to a new affiliated society sale to be held annually by North West Auction Market, junction 36, Kendal.   The date for the new sale has still to be confirmed.   Whilst on the subject of society sale’s, may I take this opportunity to remind members wishing to enter foals at any of the SPS-BS sales that the deadline for foal registration applications is the 31st July.    This date must strictly be adhered too.

With the show season now upon us, we are extremely grateful to our panel judges who give up their time to travel to shows and officiate the day.    As it is brought to our attention time and time again, negative comments made on Social Media against our panel judges are viewed very dimly by Council and I would like to take this opportunity to remind members of our Social Media Policy.

Spring will soon be upon us and I wish everyone a successful foaling and show season.

Kind regards

Julian Walters

Shetland Pony Stud-Book Society


President – Mr Julian Walters