Roo Johnstone joined the Welsh Pony and Cob Society as Secretary in mid-January 2015. English by birth and with a strong love for and association with Wales and rural pursuits, he served in the British Army as an officer in a reconnaissance regiment before working overseas in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
His later career also includes managing a raft of newspapers and magazines, business development for charities, the travel and lifestyle sectors, estate management and freelance communications work.
Never happier than when in the countryside, he is a keen shot and fisherman. Whilst his experience with ponies, cobs and horses has been more admiration and riding as opposed to breeding or showing, his family experience in farming and appreciation of all working animals puts him in good stead to learn quickly.
“The show and sale season starts soon,” begins Roo, “and what with elections for new trustees and the AGM at the end of March, it’s a busy time of year to join.
“The Society benefits from solid membership and expert staff in the office. My aims are to bolster services and benefits offered to members, to raise the Society’s profile within the equine world and increase interest from those who have so far had little to do with Welsh ponies and cobs,” says Roo.
“I’m looking forward to the shows and sales for the opportunity to meet and get to know the Society’s members as much as to see the Welsh ponies and cobs in action.”
Building on the Society’s charitable aims – education and welfare – are also key elements of Roo’s tenure.
The society has recently recruited Ed Gummery as Honorary National Welfare Co-ordinator whilst recruitment for honorary regional welfare officers is set to begin.
Staff from the Society also visit a range of equine and agricultural colleges each year, and Roo is organising more visits to a greater range of schools, colleges and centres – equine or otherwise.
Aside from the AGM, Roo’s first opportunity to meet members will be the Lampeter Stallion Show at Talsarn on 18th April, 2015 then the Glanusk Stallion Show at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells on 2nd May.