Triple win for Caithness horsewoman at Blair show
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Gabriella Ivey is riding high after three wins at the Blair Castle International Horse Trials, billed as Scotland's leading equestrian event.
Gabriella, from the West Watten area, qualified for the event after achieving a high standard at Caithness Riding Club in April. She travelled to Perthshire along with her newborn baby Tommy and mother Caroline to compete with horse Carltonlima Jerry.
"Jerry is 20 now and when we were down in England he did a lot of showing," Gabriella said. "He got an injury before Covid but he's come back on fire.
"We competed on the Friday afternoon for the Mountain and Moorland class. Then on the Saturday we had a chance to walk around the show, which was really nice. On the Sunday we had the two side-saddle classes in the morning."
Gabriella said that Jerry loves being away at shows and is from the same stud as the late Queen's fell pony, Carltonlima Emma. "The Queen's funeral cortège went past and she was held on Windsor Avenue by a groom."
She added that while competing at Blair she was recovering from having a Cesarean delivery operation when she had Tommy. "I was fine actually, but maybe not as fit as I normally am and some of the core strength had gone.
"I was made up that he won the Fell and Dales class as there were some very smart ponies in there as well.
"I used to do side-saddle a lot but since I moved up here there's not so much of that going on in the area. They need to get that more buoyant I feel."
Gabriella was delighted with the wins and says she has a special partnership with Jerry. "I'm really happy that he's still got it in him in his old age, bless him," she said.
Gabriella's mother Caroline said she was "over the moon" to see her daughter win the accolades at Blair.
"It's such a beautiful venue and winning was just the icing on the cake," Caroline said. "We were in shock really and went into champagne mode!"
Daren Ivey, Gabriella's father, stayed at home to look after matters on Acharole croft at West Watten and listened to the competition on the radio.
"We've had two winters up here and absolutely love the place," he said. "Fresh air, conservation on the croft and just look at that view," he added, pointing towards the wild stretch of moorland with the Scaraben hills in the distance.