Honouring the working pony tradition

Beat keepers Andy Malcolm (left) with Mac and David Caithness with Prince at Invermark. The ponies are wearing traditional stalking tack and panniers.

Beat keepers Andy Malcolm (left) with Mac and David Caithness with Prince at Invermark. The ponies are wearing traditional stalking tack and panniers.

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The working pony is a treasured tradition on many of Scotland’s sporting estates and deer forests.

And so it is fitting that the 25th Anniversary GWCT Scottish Game Fair hosts the first staging of a ‘concourse d’elegance’ for working ponies in memory of the late Fred Taylor, Head Stalker on Invermark Estate in Angus, who died last year.

Earl of Dalhousie, owner of Invermark, said: “Fred Taylor worked nearly all his life at Invermark and was head keeper for about 30 years.

“He was very widely liked and respected by his team, by the many visitors to Invermark and in the wider gamekeeping fraternity. 

“He was also particularly good at bringing on ponies for stalking and, with his wife Anne, had planned to breed Highland ponies in his retirement. 

“Sadly he died in 2012 with just a year to go. It seems very fitting that GWCT should propose a Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy, to be awarded for the first time this year for the best turned out working stalking pony and ponyman.”

The event takes place on Sunday, July 7.

A preliminary judging will be followed on Sunday afternoon by a parade in the main ring, final judging and awards of rosettes and prizes. Visitors to the Fair will be able to meet these characterful ponies and their handlers throughout the day.

The main award is the Fred Taylor Trophy, sponsored by the Earl of Dalhousie, and a set of photographs of the winning pony at work by acclaimed sporting photographer Glyn Satterley.

The event is organised by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust in conjunction with the Association of Deer Management Groups.