Overall champion in horses and ponies at the Royal Northern Spring Show, held at a chilly Thainstone Mart, was the Shetland standard champion from H.P. Sleigh and Son, St John’s Wells, Fyvie, with the stallion Wells McCoy.
Irish draught breeder and supreme judge Ann Western, of Toux Farm, Mintlaw, was thorough in her inspection, selecting Scotland’s native ponies for the overall tri-colour sash and reserve.
Fresh from his appearance on the BBC programme The Mart, Harry Sleigh showed Wells McCoy to lift the supreme and the overall best bred by exhibitor.
McCoy is a black entire three-year-old, sired by Stow Review, and out of Westfield Pride, which goes back to Wells Pride, a prolific winner for the stud. Lightly shown, McCoy was first at Turriff in 2015 and is destined for the National Stallion Show next weekend.
“I thought he had something important about him from the moment he entered the ring,” said Mrs Western.
“He had a lot of quality and looks like a good working stallion.”
Standing reserve supreme was Cairn’s Jude, a five-year-old Highland pony mare from Cilla Crockett, Crannoch Hotel, Cullen.
Handled by John Reid, this cream mare is home-bred, being sired by Donald of Shielhill and out of Naomi of Foreglen, who has previously stood champion at Strathbogie and a first-prize winner at New Deer.
Cairn’s Jude was unshown in 2015 but in 2014, as a three-year-old, was champion at New Deer and reserve at Echt. She is unbroken but in time may be broken to come out under saddle in the future.
“She was a lovely Highland pony, well behaved and a nice working sort,” said Mrs Western.