Sir William Young Award presented to Dochy and Sylvia Ormiston

The winners of this year’s Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) Sir William Young Award have been announced as Dochy Ormiston (MVO) and Sylvia Ormiston (MVO).
HRH Princess Anne presenting the Sir William Young Award to Dochy Ormiston (MVO) and Sylvia Ormiston (MVO).HRH Princess Anne presenting the Sir William Young Award to Dochy Ormiston (MVO) and Sylvia Ormiston (MVO).
HRH Princess Anne presenting the Sir William Young Award to Dochy Ormiston (MVO) and Sylvia Ormiston (MVO).

Awarded annually, the Sir William Young Award recognises exceptional contributions to the world of livestock breeding and celebrates the enduring legacy of the late Sir William Young, whose invaluable service to Scottish agriculture continues to inspire.

Dochy and Sylvia have respectively overseen the Balmoral Highland Cattle Fold and Highland Pony Stud since 2007, seeing huge success during their time at Balmoral Estate.

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The Ormistons were invited to Balmoral and entrusted with bringing order to the existing breeding programs and establishing the Balmoral Highland Pony Stud.

The Highland Cattle Fold, founded in 1952 by Her Majesty The Queen, boasts a herd of 50 calving cows and followers. These cattle have topped the lists at every major show and sale, including the Royal Highland Show, where they won with a homebred bull, Gusgurlach of Balmoral, as a 2 and 3 year old - the first time this has been done.

In addition to his role as a Trustee on the Highland Cattle Society, Dochy actively contributes to the breed's development committee and has earned acclaim as a distinguished judge, presiding over competitions nationwide and internationally.

With the encouragement of Her Majesty, Sylvia took the helm of the Highland Pony Stud in 2007, building upon its legacy since the registration of the first Balmoral Highland Pony in 1979. Balmoral Stud has shown ponies over the years with much success showing in hand and under saddle.

The Estate are firm supporters of working harness classes, having won twice back-to-back at Scone game fair, as well as helping the Game Fair by doing working harness demonstrations for the public visitors. They have won the harness class on many occasions at the Royal Highland Show and attended this as often as possible over the years.

Sylvia's contributions extend beyond breeding, as she collaborated with the support of Her Majesty to develop a new style of working pony saddle and girth that is now widely used across other estates. Currently serving as the President of the Highland Pony Society and renowned as a respected judge, Sylvia continues to leave an indelible mark in her field, inspiring and uplifting others along the way.

The award was proudly presented by HRH Princess Anne, a dedicated patron of equine charities across the country.

Dochy said: “We are so delighted to be recognised for our contributions and remain committed to preserving and advancing these remarkable breeds."

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Sylvia added: “We are so passionate about the preservation and improvement of the Highland breeds, and it is an honour to be recognised in this way by RHASS and made all the more special to be presented with it by Princess Anne herself.”

Jim Warnock, Chairman of RHASS, extended his congratulations to the pair: "Dochy and Sylvia have left a permanent mark in the world of Highland Cattle and Highland Pony breeding. Their dedication and commitment to excellence have made them worthy recipients of the Sir William Young Award and all at RHASS extend our huge congratulations.

“They have set a shining example for future breeders, and I have no doubt that they will continue to be great ambassadors for their breeds.”