He was always long
Ruaridh of Ubhaidh (Ubhaidh being the gaelic spelling of Uvie and the name of my fold, my breed brand).
I mind him walking slowly along the farm road as a calf his long spine stretching gently with each stride.
And then again when my horse breeding aunts came
to stand in the field surrounded by the animals and Patty striding forward to stroke his neck
I booked him for the Spring show of the following year,
but before I could start preparing him a hurricane came and blew away half my roof
while Lynda and I cowered in the toilet.
A month after replacing my scattered shelter
I was parading Ruaridh in the ring.
He was quiet and responsive, long and leisurely
with a fine heavy head and even horns, padding steadily on fine wide hooves carrying his weight squarely on wideset legs,
but he had a skinny arse.
If I’d forced him to bring him on he might have bulked up
but the truth is
it was always going to take longer than usual to fill his oversized frame.
It was the first time I experienced failure in the ring- one bid took him to six hundred guineas
and that was it. I led him back to the pen quietly, doubtful of his future and my ability to hold him on the small farm.
And then Her Majesty approached –
heavily disguised as Docky Ormiston, manager of the Balmoral herd.
So she bought him-
Docky developed him
and today at The Royal Highland Show
the largest agricultural show in Scotland
he was judged Highland male champion.
His full brother, Angus Halfhorn,
remains with me on the farm.