It’s not every day that a young Clydesdale sportsperson gets the chance to perform in front of the Queen and Prince Philip.
But that’s exactly what happened to Lesmahagow lass Ruth Haddow (15) when she competed for Scotland at last month’s four-day Royal Windsor Horse Show in Berkshire, England.
“It was a big event with so many people watching and Ruth thoroughly enjoyed it,” said the teenager’s mum Christine.
“There was a really good attendance and the Queen and Prince Philip were watching on the Saturday and the Sunday.
“It was a thrill and an honour for Ruth to perform in front of the Royal family.”
And there was further satisfaction for Ruth and her team-mates when they accumulated enough overall points to become reserve champions in a Senior Pony Club Games competition also featuring teams representing eventual winners England, plus Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Prince Philip presented rosettes to the top teams, who included debutant Ruth who excelled when competing on her Irish sports pony Polly.
“Ruth thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience,” added Christine, who joined her husband Alan in spending the whole week at the venue watching Ruth competing.
“Alan and I took great pride in her performance.
“She made lots of friends and memories that will stay with her for the rest of her life. It was never an absolute certainty that England were always going to win.
“Scotland gave England a good fight before unfortunately being pipped in the end.”
Ruth and Scotland team-mates Georgia Brown, Heather Wylie, Amy Bryce and Emily Black were backed up by Ruth’s fellow Lanark and Upperward member Katie Frame (14) who was the eserve rider.
And the Scots did well in the various equestrian disciplines, competing in a total of 56 different events over the four days.
Examples of their tasks included the balloon race, in which each team rider attempted to burst a single balloon with a stick but was docked points if they burst more than one. The Scots triumphed in this discipline.
Also popular with the large crowd was the pyramid event, which saw ponies gallop up to a table with letter-covered blocks at the top of the arena before their riders leaned over, picked up the blocks and carried them to another spot halfway down the arena.
The ultimate aim was to use the blocks to spell the word ‘Daks’, the main sponsor.
The Scots, trained by Laura Jack, finished just 11 points behind England.
Ruth’s next big event is a Horse of the Year Show qualifier in Ayrshire in July.