Five Shetland girls recently embarked on a 1,300-mile journey of a lifetime to take part in the Shetland Pony Grand National at the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
The show was an opportunity for jockeys Arianne Fraser, 12, and Emily Moss, 12, from Whalsay; Jade Stevenson, 11, from Nesting; Bronagh Goodlad, 11 from Quarff; and Aimee Budge, 11, from Bigton, to show what they could do. They were up against some very stiff competition from throughout the UK, with almost 40 ponies taking part.
The racing was fast and furious with some new ponies making it interesting viewing at times. All the Shetland combinations did well with everyone especially looking forward to the last races on the Sunday afternoon.
After spending the week getting six-year-old Clothie Humbel used to the atmosphere Arianne had an excellent result by finishing first by a nose in the first race. They were closely followed by Bronagh and Clothie Flyn.
The second race saw Emily and veteran Tirrik of Sunnydale have a fast run to finish a creditable fifth.
The third and final race was nail-biting with a very close finish with Jade and Jared of Musselburgh coming in third just ahead of Aimee and Clothie Night Echo. The two were narrowly pipped at the post by Lauren Watson (Aberdeen) and HRE Dollar who was previously raced by Anya Risk from Gulberwick.
As well as the racing Arianne, Jade and Bronagh were selected to represent the Shetland Pony Grand National in the Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo which took place each evening. On the Wednesday Jade and Arianne got to visit the Royal box where they met the Duchess of Gloucester while on the Saturday evening Bronagh was delighted to meet the Queen.
A spokeswoman thanked everyone who made this trip possible, particularly Ailidh Risk, Kira Fraser and Hannah Budge who worked hard as grooms to the girls and their ponies, drivers David Goodlad and Elinor Bosanquet, NorthLink Ferries and the SIC sports development service.