One of the most celebrated equestrians, Sir Mark Todd, visited Aberdeen last week for two days of training clinics and evening demonstrations at Fountain Equestrian Centre.
The evening sessions, sponsored by equestrian store Country Ways and Ardene House Equine vets, included riders from Pony Club to CCI*** being coached over a course of technical jumps in front of an audience of 150.
The weekend also included two days of Arena Eventing Clinics for riders to be coached over jumps with their own horses.
The clinic was sponsored by Emily Anderson-Green and Subsea Tooling Services and included lessons from BE80 level up to 1.10+ for 1.5hrs in groups of 5 aiming at riders at all levels of eventing.
The arena cross country jumps were designed and handmade by Aberdeenshire Cross Country Jumps and the complete set was auctioned off in aid of Willberry Wonder Pony, raising £1600.
The weekend, organised by David Lawson Equestrian Events, was a rare opportunity for budding equestrians in the North East to learn from Sir Mark’s many years of experience competing at the highest level.
Rosemary Michie, owner of Country Ways, said “We were delighted that Sir Mark came so far North. There was a huge amount of interest in these two events and everyone took something home, whether it was working on counting their strides between jumps or simple exercises to help teach your horse to change legs.
"This was a very special opportunity to learn from someone who has so much experience - though the highlight of the evening was undoubtedly when the ‘mystery rider’ turned out to be Sir Mark himself riding Eilidh Middleton’s CCI** eventer, Buddy!”
David Lawson said: "The clinics and demos were a huge success and I think Sir Mark was pleasantly surprised by the standard up here, and if the riders take home some of the exercises he taught them, the standard will be even higher when he comes back!”
Sir Mark Todd’s numerous achievements include competing at seven Olympic Games, winning two Olympic gold medals, four Badminton titles, five wins at Burghley and numerous other honours.
Speaking at the event, Sir Mark said: “I had a great time in Aberdeen! It was a busy two days teaching some very talented riders and their horses. The demonstration evenings were also a tremendous success and I’m looking forward to visiting again!”