An Evening at Kirkton Equestrian with Douglas Duffin.
Prior to Christmas the showjumper Douglas Duffin put on an evening at his base Kirkton Equestrian Centre. This is a fantastic new facility based just outside of Glasgow. It was an informative evening with an insight to how they train their horses along with some fun entertainment.
Lets tell you about each rider who took part in the evening.
From the age of 8 years-old, Douglas’s mother encouraged him to go riding at his local yard, it was apparent very quickly that he was a natural and his love for riding grew quickly. Douglas took part in local competitions where showjumping became his forte and he excelled at the sport.
At 16 years-old Douglas knew that horses and showjumping were his future and he moved to work full time with Showjumping Trainer/Rider Ron Brady. Ron became his mentor and trained Douglas, encouraging him to ride as many different horses as possible to improve his skills. Ron spotted Douglas’s talent straight away and gave Douglas the opportunities through competition to achieve his first major goal of qualifying for the Royal Highland Show. Douglas has competed at the Royal Highland most years since the age of 16, and has been placed in a number of classes and he even won the spectacular Young Masters class in 2006.
Douglas’s drive and determination then resulted in qualification for Horse of the Year show at the age of 17. Since then Douglas has qualified every year for the highly prestigious show and although his main ambition at the time was to qualify, after a couple of years his ambitions progressed to win.
As Douglas jumped quickly up the competition ladder, Ron gave him the ride on his more talented horses to compete through the ‘Young Rider’s competitions between the ages of 19-21years. In 2005 he was 3rd at Olympia Young Riders with the horse Here’s Jack. Over the years he continued to gain successes in his showjumping career establishing new partnerships with new owners and their talented horses.
Douglas has ridden some amazing horses to date but his most successful partnerships would include the fabulous Volcano, owned by Julie McLelland, who was the first horse Douglas rode to represent Great Britain at the 4* Senior Nations Cup and also to win the infamous Puissance competition at Horse of the Year Show in 2013 jumping an enormous 7ft 3inches.
More recently Douglas has been competing with the talented Quidam B Z, a bay gelding of 10 years co-owned by Douglas and his sponsor AWJ Jenkinson where this year alone they have competed in Spain aiming for the Grand Prix and Young Horse classes, followed by the County circuit in England where they have achieved placings in the International Stairway classes. They finished 5th in the Hickstead Derby Trial this year jumping a course at 1.60m. At the CSI 5* Longines Royal International Horse Show they also achieved 5th in the world ranking class also jumping 1.60m. Together they won the prestigious 2015 Ripon Select Foods Cock O’the North title at the Great Yorkshire Show winning a staggering £8000 first prize.
Looking to the future, Douglas’s ambitions are to continue climbing up the world rankings and aim to be part of the Senior Nations Cup Team representing Great Britain in 2016 with Quidam B Z.
Douglas with his wealth of knowledge and experience not only wishes to continue progressing in his own competition career but is now training others to follow in his footsteps. 21 year-old Jordan Thomson is Douglas’s stable jockey, being trained by him and being given those all important opportunities to compete. Jordan is also regularly competing 1.40m – 1.50m tracks travelling the length and breadth of the country with Douglas to further his own showjumping career.
As we can all imagine Douglas’s mother is extremely proud of what he has achieved and loves to follow her son’s successes attending as many shows as she can to watch him.
Ron Brady is also very proud saying
“Douglas is the most focused and ambitious person he knows. His work ethic is tremendous and second to none. Still to this day Douglas works exceptionally hard to ensure his horses welfare comes first never taking a day off, he is 100% focused. Douglas still gets stuck into the hard physical work and is an extremely talented rider with superb determination.”
Anne Logan, Chairman of Scottish Branch has known Douglas for many years. Anne says
“I have known Douglas since he was a boy and he has always been a very capable and sympathetic rider, and when he smiles he brightens up every show! He is an asset and a credit to Scottish Showjumping”.
Now aged 38yrs old and having spent over a decade under the guidance of British jumper Ron Brady, in March 2018 he moved to Kirkton Equestrian Centre in Eaglesham, Scotland. He manages the facility, offering coaching and horse training services.
Ron Brady lives and breathes showjumping. One of Scotland’s leading showjumpers, he teaches showjumping and brings on young horses that have the talent to showjump.
Ron’s background is just about as far removed from this elegant sport as you can get. He did not ride before he could walk and he did not have ambitious parents behind him buying perfectly schooled ponies at every stage of his development.
”Even now, I can remember everything about that first lesson,”
”I can remember the names of the horses and the way everything was. From then on I went every week, school was just an inconvenience. I would do anything to get a ride, sweep the yard, water the horses, muck out. I had no interest in anything else – I couldn’t think of anything else. It was my dream to own a pony.”
By the time he was 15 Ron did manage to acquire his own pony, albeit one he shared with a neighbour’s daughter and which was kept partly in a rented field and partly in the Brady’s family garage.
The urge to compete soon followed. But the difficulties in getting transport to local shows was such that by the time he managed to get himself to a competition Ron was determined to succeed. This meant either winning or at the very least being placed.
Back home, he was the ”laughing stock” of Cowdenbeath.
”It was unheard of for anyone to own a horse,” he says. ”There was nowhere to exercise and nowhere to school the pony. Sometimes I would sit at home and wonder what I was trying to do.”
When people saw how serious and committed Ron was, they began to support him.
Although his mother died when he was 12, his father began to adjust to his son’s eccentric interests. ”I think he wanted to protect me,” he says, ”he didn’t want me to be let down.”
As Ron did any kind of part-time job he could to pay for the upkeep of his horses, the neighbours came out to watch him practice jumping over ”the barrels and poles and things I stole from the side of the road.
”I would buy young, difficult horses,” he says, explaining that they were cheap. ”If they could jump, I would just sit on them. Over the years I made mistakes, but I always felt positive about the sport. If things went wrong, I always felt there would be another day.”
From his first pony Ron graduated first to Max, a 14.3hh cob he bought for #200, and then to Tarkus, a 16.1hh Clydesdale cross thoroughbred ”with great big hairy heels,” who was not at all the kind of horse you usually see showjumping.
But Tarkus and Ron were a good team, and the wise horse taught his pupil much of what he needed to know. Above all, he gave him confidence.
During his late teens Ron made various attempts at a conventional career, partly to please his father, who wanted him to get a proper job.
He spent a year in a tailor’s shop, an experience that left him even more determined to showjump full-time.
Yet there have been major disappointments along the way. Just as every promising young tennis player dreams of playing at Wimbledon, so does every promising young rider dream of competing at Wembley.
Ron’s big opportunity came in 1993.
”It was a big build-up,” he says, ”after years of hard work.” And yet the ride was a disaster. As the poles flew in all directions, the faults mounted until there were 12 or 16 of them. Ron can’t remember exactly how many.
”I just felt I rode badly,” he says. ”I felt so disappointed. I was riding so desperately to prove I could do it – it had taken me 10 years to get there.”
Although things still go wrong the present is bright.
Despite his initial fear that he would never qualify for Wembley again, Ron did so the following year and was placed seventh in the prestigious Foxhunter final.
Voted Scottish Rider of the Year by Rider Magazine last year, Ron focuses much of his energy on putting back into the sport much of what he feels he has been given.
Besides teaching, he produces talented novices’ horses, training them for owners. His long-term goal is to develop his yard to the point where young up-and-coming showjumpers could come and train.
”There is nowhere in Scotland where you can do this,” he says.
His yard, on the edge of his 100-acre farm in Fife, is home to horses, grooms and working pupils.
”So many people have supported me,” he says. ”I have been lucky, and I owe an immense debt of gratitude to the owners who send me their horses to ride even now.”
In the sixties and seventies showjumping was considered an exciting spectator sport second only to football. ”The sport had a fantastic following, but then it lost television coverage,” he says.
Ron is inclined to blame riders who did not put enough back into this exciting spectator sport. He says he makes a point of talking to as many young riders as he can and is always available to talk to spectators or sign autographs at competitions.
”Horses like Vibart, with his famous kick-back, and Stroller, the 14.2hh pony, used to be household names. People would stay in to watch the showjumping at Wembley or Hickstead and bookshops would be full of books about showjumping.
Scottish teenager Shaunie Greig is among British showjumping’s most exciting prospects! Shaunie started competing at the mere age of 6 years old and even qualified for the Royal Highland show at that age.
More winnings came when she moved into the 148’s, Shaunie won many juniour classes qualifying for and the going on to win Horse of the Year Show in 2017 and 2018 a feat not done for 50 years!
She also won Hickstead JC championshi the she went on to represent GB in the Europeans winning Gold last Year!
Her first show was abroad in Lyon in 2018 in which she was 2nd in the world cup qualifier which qualified her for Mechelen in December 2018 on Casino Royale.
The beginning of November saw her come 3rd in the World Cup in Stuttgart on Granouche.
Olympia 2018 saw Shaunie win The Voltaire Design Mince Pie Stakes 148cm class, which was held on Saturday 22 December riding Casino Royale .
Shane then headed to the TheraPlateUK Liverpool International Horse Show 2018 in we send our congratulations to Shaunie Greig & Casino Royale VIII taking 4th place in the Liverpool International 148cms Championship, sponsored by Carden Arms.
We look forward to hearing how she gets on this year!
James is a promising up & coming rider who is gaining more and more attention with his consistent results in competitive classes. James started riding at the age of 5 years old before joining the Stewartry Pony Club. his career progressed in ponies winning many highly sought after pony finals including HOYS & Hickstead. The pinacle of James’ pony career came when he was selected for the Pony European Team in 2007 & 2008 bringing home a team gold on both occasions and an individual bronze. In the years following his pony career, James started building up his own team of horses and started to make his mark on the senior circuit.
He won regional HOYS qualifiers on home produced horses and national level Grand Prix’. His first big result on the senior circuit came when he won the wildcard qualifier on the home produced 8yo Tyson Uno for the international classes at HOYS. From here James has went from strength to strength winning international Grand Prix’ and climbing the British rankings and made a name for himself as a man to be reckoned with in a jump-off! This in turn has saw him invited to jump succesfully on a few occasions at 4* level. James & his team hope to keep producing horses for the future and continue to climb the rankings.
Kirkton Equestrian Centre
Kirkton Equestrian Centre is a state of the art equestrian facility opening early 2018 in Eaglesham, on the south side of Glasgow and will be run and managed by top international show jumper Douglas Duffin.
We offer full service Livery with facilities to cater for 52 horses.
Our Livery Clients have the advantage of having access to world-class training on site as well as the chance to ride in our fabulous facilities.
Here at Kirkton Equestrian Centre, Douglas Duffin and his team can provide you with a training programme that will suit your needs. We can tailor a training programme to cater for any level of ability.
- 60m x 40m top of the range gel track indoor arena with a full set of international show jumps
- 50m x 30m floodlit outdoor arena
- Off road hacking
- Large custom made ventilated stables with sealed and bonded rubbed flooring
- Wash bays with hot and cold water
- Turn out options available with secure post and rail fencing
- 8 horse covered horse walker
- Shower and changing facilities
- Visitors lounge with catering facilities
- Wi-Fi connection
LIVERY PACKAGES AVAILABLE
Full livery package and includes;
- Tack up and finish off horse
- Tack cleaning
- Groom/bath and mane pulling
- Excercise when needed
- Use of show jumping course (take out weather permitting)
I have to say I came away having enjoyed my evening and learnt a thing or two as well so it was well worth the trip and we look forward to them organising another one of these evenings!