As equestrian extravaganzas go, the Borders Festival of the Horse, introduced as part of the healing process after the foot and mouth epidemic in 2001, is unique in the UK.
The 13-day programme, featuring over 40 events and equestrian activities, got underway on Wednesday (May 18) at a formal launch at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott.
Judy Steel, who provided the honours at the opening ceremony (above), said: “While other festivals seem to be in one place the Borders Festival of the Horse happens all over the region. And what variety, dressage, trick riding, vaulting, horse logging and veterinary talks.
“Best of all – guided rides through the wonderful Border countryside. It is a wonderful celebration of all that’s available for riders and horse lovers in what is surely the best riding country in the UK. This year will see a series of rides based around Sir Walter Scott: and as the festival opens from Abbotsford we should make mention of the Abbotsford Hunt which Scott organised every year on his son’s birthday.
“It was by all accounts a highly rowdy affair with food and drink flowing fast. Scott’s biographer summed it up when he said: ‘How they contrived to get home safely heaven only knows,’” said Judy who is due to take centre stage at the launch of her book Horse Tales and Saddle Songs at Bowhill Theatre on Friday (May 20).
Borders Festival of the Horse Festival organiser Ann Fraser said: “We have never had such a varied programme of events and many of these are new to the festival. And for the first time we have an extra special summer extension to our programme when the Borders branch of the British Horse Society hosts the Household Cavalry at Floors Castle.
“They will be performing their famous Musical Ride – a first for Scotland – and it’s an occasion not to be missed. The display, which will also include pipe bands, will take place on August 28,” she said.
More information about the Borders Festival of the Horse and the complete programme of events at:-