A six-year-old Highland pony has won the inaugural award for working stalking ponies at the Scottish Game Fair.

Victor Of Alltnacailleach, from the Garrogie Estate, Inverness-shire, with his ghillie (attendant) Christina Ellis, claimed the Fred Taylor Memorial Trophy at Scone Palace, Perthshire (7 July).

Highland ponies take stags off the hill and the dead weight can be up to 20st.

Ten ponies were judged on their turnout by Peter Fraser, former head stalker on Invercauld Estate, who said  he was “very impressed” with the standard.

The ponies came from The Queen’s Balmoral Estate, Blair Castle, Garrogie, Invermark, Kinlochuichart, Tulchan of Glenisla and Reay Forest. But Victor came out on top.

Organisers hope the competition will become an annual event.

“This was a wonderful spectacle,” said Adam Smith of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust Scotland.

“We have never had 10 ponies in our main ring before, all kitted out for the hill, all with stalkers and ghillies looking superb. Working ponies are still very much a part of game management in Scotland today.”

Fred Taylor was the head stalker on Invermark Estate, Angus, for over 20 years. He died from cancer last year.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (18 July 2013)