Durris breeders take home top show title

Karen Stewart with prize-winning West Lodge Alby
Karen Stewart with prize-winning West Lodge Alby

A Durris husband and wife team were among the prize-winners at the recent Royal Highland Show.

Robin and Karen Stewart, from Stablesbrae, lifted the hotly-contested Overall Highland Pony Championship in the main ring, having earlier won female champion in the Highland pony ring.

Local MSP Alexander Burnett has lodged a congratulatory motion in the Scottish Parliament.

He said: “The show is the pinnacle of hard-working rural Scotland and to see constituents being justly rewarded is one of the great pleasures of being here.”

Showing their home-bred mare West Lodge Alby with her colt foal at foot - who is by their home-bred stallion Coulnacraig Jacobite - the win was a lifetime ambition for the couple. Robin has been showing at the Royal Highland event since 1977 and has stood Highland pony male champion five times and overall Highland pony champion in 2002.

However, the female title was one which they had always dreamt of winning.

Karen said: “Of all the championships we have won over the years this is the one which, as a breeder, we always wanted to aspire to. And to achieve it with a mare you have bred and brought on yourself makes it even more special.

“No matter how many times you show in the main ring you still get that special buzz, knowing you’re with the best examples of the Highland pony breed and with so many people looking on, it is truly special. But to be handed the champion sash is a moment that never leaves you.”

Robin and Karen are prominent in local equestrian circles. He is horse convener for Banchory Show and previous president of both the show and the Highland Pony Society. Karen has been secretary of one of the biggest dedicated Highland Pony shows in Scotland for over 20 years which takes place in Aberdeen in August.