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Tourism Scotland - Trekking & Riding

In Scotland we take great pride in our history and culture, in our landscape with acres of unspoiled open country, shining lochs and rivers, heather clad hills and long sandy beaches. We also take great care in looking after our visitors.

Trekking in Scotland

In short it's ideal for a trekking and riding holiday and it won't come as a surprise to learn that pony trekking originated in Scotland on the native Highland Ponies. Some 50 years ago the late Lt. Commander Jock Kerr Hunter joined the Scottish Council of Physical Recreation. He had a burning ambition to make the mountains, rivers and glens of Scotland more accessible to young people. He set about creating courses on many activities including riding, which he quickly recognised as presenting the opportunity to get groups of people deep into the Scottish countryside, using old drive roads and youth hostels, whilst learning a skill involving the welfare of a living animal. And so he coined the name Pony Trekking.

Pony Trekking
is suitable for both the novice and more experienced rider who wishes to travel at a leisurely pace and enjoy the beautiful Scottish scenery. Ponies used are usually the native Highland Pony which is strong, safe and very sure-footed. Children under 10 years in some cases may be allowed on a lead rein but teenagers and adults who have not ridden before can enjoy the experience of a one or two hour trek, whilst those who have some experience may opt for a full day or even a week, when treks will increase in length throughout the week. Trekking is a marvellous way of exploring some of the more inaccessible areas of Scotland.

Trekking in Scotland

is offered to experienced riders who wish only to go for a short ride, from one to three hours. The horses used will be highly schooled and fit to go at fast paces, so will not be suitable for novices. If unsure about ability, ask when booking or at the centre - it may be safer and more enjoyable to choose a leisurely trek instead.

Trekking in Scotland

Trail Riding
is for the more experienced rider who is secure at the canter and capable of riding some considerable distance. Horses used are fit and capable of maintaining a fast pace over a variety of terrain's. When booking this type of holiday do not be tempted to exaggerate riding ability. Day and weekend trail rides as well as week long expeditions are offered, but riders opting for the longer rides must also be very fit. It is advisable to bring full riding gear as casual clothing such as jeans would not be suitable for this type of holiday. Trail riding may be centre based i.e. returning to the same venue each evening or moving on with a variety of accommodation offered each evening.

Holiday Riding Courses
give riders an opportunity to learn more about their own special interests such as dressage, show-jumping, carriage driving or stable management. Instructors are usually specialists themselves and often compete in the particular discipline offered. It is possible to improve quickly with concentrated teaching in a relaxed holiday atmosphere.

Unaccompanied Children's Holidays
are offered by many centres where it is possible to 'adopt a pony' for a week. Supervision will be provided at all times and the holiday often includes other excursions or a gymkhana to end the week. Parents should check with the centre if they wish travel arrangements to be detailed.

Trekking in Scotland

Bed & Breakfast for Horse and Rider
Scotland's Borders could have been created especially for the enjoyment of horse and rider. The gently rolling hills, the winding rivers and the dramatic forests provide some of the most enjoyable riding conditions in the UK, if not in Europe. The Borderers themselves have a deep tradition of horse riding borne out by local festivals or common ridings, held annually in every town, when horses play the central part in the festivities. There is also a strong tradition of local people enjoying their countryside by horseback. As a result there is grazing and many stables throughout the region. Some of these facilities adjoin Tourist Board inspected Bed & Breakfasts, providing the ideal base for those wishing to take their own horses on holiday. What better way can there be of getting away from the bustle and stress of every day life, than riding your own horse through beautiful country knowing that a warm welcome awaits you and your horse at the end of the day.

The Buccleuch Country Ride
The first of its kind in Scotland, this 57 miles (90km) route provides the independent horse and rider with a 3-4 day ride through stunning Scottish scenery on private tracks, open country and quiet country roads.

Trekking in Scotland

The Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland (TRSS)
The Trekking and Riding Society of Scotland specialises in looking after the interests of all those seeking a riding or pony trekking holiday in Scotland. It operates an inspection scheme of its member centres to monitor and maintain standards and provides appropriate training for all levels of staff employed in the riding industry. It is the Society's aim that those booking with an approved centre will find everything as advertised, plus courteous, fully trained staff and safe, happy horses and ponies suitable for the standard required. TRSS is the governing body for equestrian tourism In Scotland and provides training for the certificates awarded.

1. TRSS Seasonal Certificate.
This is a temporary certificate for competent riders of 16 years and over who wish to work for one season only at a TRSS Approved holiday riding centre. It is specific to that centre only during that one season and valid for no longer than 6 months. Training and assessment is carried out by the TRSS qualified Centre Operator and a Society Assessor may visit during the season to verify the qualification at any time.

2. TRSS Assistant Ride Leader.

3. TRSS Ride Leader Certificate

4. TRSS Centre Operator.

For further information on training for the TRSS examinations contact: 
Mrs Susan Howard, Bruaich-Na-H’Abhainne, Maragowan, Killin, Perthshire, FK21 8TN

Member Centres are described on the TRSS website at 

The British Horse Society (BHS)
The British Horse Society is a charity to promote the interests of horse and pony breeding, to further the art of riding and driving and to encourage horsemastership and the welfare of horses and ponies. It is internationally recognised as the premier riding, training and examination body of the United Kingdom. The British Horse Society run similar equestrian tourism certificates and provide training for them.

1. British Equestrian Tourism Assistant Ride Leader.

2. British Equestrian Tourism Certificate.

3. British Equestrian Tourism Holiday Riding Centre Manager.

For further information contact the British Horse Society Training and Examinations Office, Stonleigh Deer Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. CV8 2XZ

Clients before booking should satisfy themselves that the centre of their choice has correctly qualified staff and should note that the British Horse Society Assistant Instructor’s certificate (BHSAI) does not satisfy the requirements for a Ride Leader.

Contact the Local Tourist Board for further information

Scottish Youth Hostels Association
Pony Trekking & Horse Riding holidays

Pony Trekking
Set amongst the rolling hills of the Ochils in central Scotland, this unique all-age trekking holiday offers an excellent way of seeing the beautiful countryside surrounding Glendevon.

The atmosphere is relaxed and informal both on the treks and in the youth hostel. This is a great value ‘hands on’ trekking holiday which follows old mill trails, bridle paths and country tracks.

The holiday includes use of pony, instruction, leader and either 2 or 5 nights self catering accommodation at Glendevon Youth Hostel. Food is supplied for you to prepare in the hostel's fully-equipped self-catering kitchen.

Horse Riding
Why not enjoy a week long riding holiday at the Scottish Equestrian complex in Lanarkshire, central Scotland? No stuffy instructors, no boring nags - just lots of fun, super instruction, great horses and top quality hostel accommodation.

This holiday is based at our superb New Lanark Hostel. The riding is suitable for all ages and abilities. 

The holiday includes 5 days riding and 5 nights full board hostel accommodation at New Lanark. Full tuition and equipment is provided. Minimum age is 8 years old. Minimum number per guide is 2. Maximum is 10.

  Activity Holidays | Tourist Index


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