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 and 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 before in their lives.
All members of the Blackford Glen community, 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 meeting place, 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, people 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 and a microwave available for anyone who wishes to use them. 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 overseeing 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 other very important roles to play in the running of the Blackford Glen yard. Apart from a venue for meetings of the Blackford Glennies when it is too cold to meet anywhere else, it is a rehearsal room for the “Alternative Medicine” Dance Band, a classroom for “Grass Roots Remedies” herbalists and a venue for seminars relevant to Blackford Glen activities.
Kola’s Korner comes into its own when we hold parties – usually, but not exclusively, on the Saturday evening of a two-day weekend clinic. Many a rider has been known to have a session with the clinician on the Sunday morning “as if through a glass darkly”! With its central heating and integral covered patio at the back housing a wonderful outdoor fireplace and barbecue, Kola’s Korner is able to host parties at any time of the year.
This is just a taste of what Blackford Glen offers, 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.