THE BLACKFORD GLEN WELCOME
At Blackford Glen we believe in a philosophy of treating people and horses with the respect they deserve and this attitude appears to pay dividends both in our riding and our socialising. Look after your horse, both emotionally and physically and he/she will look after you, whether it is in the Show ring or on the trail. When it comes to people, we try and do the same. In other words, we do our best to look after one another in all sorts of ways but are also delighted to meet any newcomers who may appear. Everyone is welcome but especially those interested in Western riding whether they are “English” riders who would like to try something new, existing Western riders who would like to meet like-minded folk or complete beginners who have never been near a horse in their lives.
All members of the Blackford Glen Western Riders’ Club, including the horses, love meeting new people and getting to know them. To that end, and to encourage a feeling of fellowship, we have a small but fairly well appointed clubhouse, known as The Howff. (A large picture of Denis the Menace on the door reminds us that we are not to take ourselves TOO seriously.) In here, the members can meet for a chat, a cup of tea or coffee and even the odd glass or two of wine (very important!) There are also facilities for snacks with a fridge, freezer and a microwave available for anyone who wishes to use them. In addition, we have a large barbecue situated inside the Howff where we can produce bacon rolls etc. if we have the inclination. It is to this place that we bring newcomers so that they can find out, over a beverage of their choice, about Blackford Glen, its people and what we have to offer.
We are also able to offer limited overnight accommodation for those who have travelled a distance or even those who just cannot be bothered going home! Up the hill from the Howff is Kola’s Korner (with a large picture of Oor Wullie over-seeing events this time!). This is a glorified shed but with the luxury of central heating, a bathroom with shower and wash hand basin (toilet facilities are located in the yard), a bedroom and a kitchen area. We have, at present, two single mattresses on wooden bases, four blow-up beds and plenty of floor space. All you need to bring with you is a sleeping bag! There is a fridge, kettle, microwave, tea, coffee etc. so, provided you have brought the relevant ingredients, breakfast in the morning can be enjoyed looking out on to the hill behind Kola’s Korner where there is always some activity either black Hebridean lambs leaping around like Zebedee (in the Spring), black Hebridean ewes running away from the ram (in the Autumn) or maybe even the odd horse or two (all year round). All in all, it’s not a bad place to be first thing in the morning.
Kola’s Korner has another very important role to play in the running of the Blackford Glen Western Riders’ Club. Apart from a venue for club meetings and AGMs, it really comes into its own when we hold our parties, usually, but not exclusively, on the Saturday evening of a Bob Mayhew two-day Clinic. Many a rider has been known to have a session with Bob on the Sunday morning “as if through a glass darkly”! With its integral covered patio at the back housing a wonderful outdoor fireplace, Kola’s Korner is able to host parties at any time of the year and also caters for the smokers (important when it comes to Bob!) without them having to feel excluded from the festivities inside.
Anyway, this is just a short description of some of the things Blackford Glen has to offer but hopefully it will have given you an insight into how we do things here. Our guiding principle is to keep alive the spirit that John has succeeded in engendering i.e. Blackford Glen is a place where people can come to be at peace with themselves, to be with horses and to meet like-minded, fun loving people.
PS. Kola’s Korner is named after Kola, a lovely, well mannered and obliging black Welsh cob type horse. She was John’s horse when he first started taking Western riding lessons from Trisha Wren and then, when John bought Chance from Trisha prior to her emigrating to New Zealand, she became my much loved and sorely missed tutor in Western. She died in 2007 at the age of nearly 30 years old, after a short illness, and is buried in the back garden of Kola’s Korner. She lives on and will never be forgotten by those of us who knew and loved her.