Durris breeders’ special show award

Karen and Robin at last year's Angus Show
Karen and Robin at last year's Angus Show

A Durris couple have received a leading award from the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland.

Robin and Karen Stewart have won the President’s Initiative 2009 award for the best from Aberdeenshire at this year’s show.

They are among those recognised following the Ingliston event in June. The directors give the President’s award to those achieving the highest of accolades across the show.

Previous winners of the special North-east honour include Harry Sleigh and Sons, and Stuart Wood and Nicole Lockhead-Anderson.

This year’s show marked an important moment in Robin and Karen’s show successes as they were named Overall Highland Pony Champion with their home-bred mare West Lodge Alby, with her colt foal at foot.

The 13-year-old mare had taken the female championship earlier in the day.

The Stewarts previously stood Overall Highland Pony Champion in 2002 with West Lodge Alby’s grandfather Coulnacraig Highlander.

However, winning the female championship at Ingliston had been a long-held ambition for the couple.

On receiving the special award, Robin said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been chosen by the Society for this award, as I hold a great deal of respect for the society and the show itself.

“I have personally been showing at the Royal Highland since 1977 when I showed Acma of Fingask. Since then, with my wife Karen, we have stood Highland Pony Male Champion five times, so to finally take the female championship with a home-bred mare was one of the highlights of my showing career.

“I am proud to have supported the show for so many years and thank the Society very much for this special award.”

Following their Royal Highland Show success, the couple were invited to meet Princess Anne at the opening of the Highland Pony Society’s new headquarters in Perthshire in July.