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Horse Riding

horse_riding.jpgThere is something romantic and majestic about taking in the beautiful scenery of the Scottish Highlands while horse riding.  The dream of many, horse riding is widely available throughout the Highlands of Scotland, and can mean anything from an hour or so to an all-encompassing horse riding holiday.  Probably the best way to experience horse riding in the Scottish Highlands is to book through a stables or horse riding centre.  This way, you will have the advantage of trained and informed guides who know the area, and who also know the best places to go riding for the most wonderful experience possible.

Because the Scottish Highlands are so diverse, you will be able to find great rides from leisurely hacks to challenging hill riding on rugged terrain.  Most centres offer many options for all skill levels, and will do their best to provide you with the right type of ride to suit your expertise.  Some centres will organize multi-day rides and horse riding holidays, taking you deep into the Scottish Highlands like you would not be able to see it otherwise.  Whether you are looking for a leisurely scenic ride, perhaps along the coastline, or a more challenging inland ride, you will be able to find a horse riding centre that will suit your needs.

The most popular breed of horse for horse riding in the Scottish Highlands is, naturally, the Highland Pony.  Highland ponies are large, sturdy hill ponies that tend to have an obliging, docile nature.  They are very sure-footed and strong, and have a long history of being used to carry out deer on deer stalking treks.  Highland ponies were originally bred on the Western Isles and parts of mainland Highland Scotland, but now they are found all throughout the UK.  They were used as utility animals, for packing and carrying, and for farm work.  Many Highland ponies were used in military work, as well, and as recently as WWII, when they were with the Lovat Scouts.  Since the days of Queen Victoria, Highland ponies have been used for outings to enable the rider to enjoy the beautiful Highland scenery.  Because of their even temperament and consistent gait, Highland ponies are excellent for children, elderly riders, and disabled riders.  In general, Highland ponies are considered safe, reliable, and friendly, and they give a good, comfortable ride.  They are versatile, and they are a very attractive breed to look at.  Highland ponies are perfect companions for your Scottish Highland horse riding adventure.

When you are booking your horse riding outing, consider the many types of rides available.  Beginner rides should be carried out on fairly even ground and go at a walking pace.  These types of rides are also great for those who want a relaxing ride to just enjoy the scenery.  For inexperienced riders who have been on a horse before, consider a two- or three-hour ride, still going at predominantly a walking pace, but perhaps through slightly more challenging terrain—river fords, rolling hills, wooded trails, and so on.  More experienced riders can consider a wider variety of options.  Two- or three-hour hacks going at a walk, trot, and canter are great options for riders who have some skills but wish a shorter ride.  Generally, you will cover more diverse terrain and have a broader horse riding experience on this type of ride.  Another option is a three- or four-hour ride on mountain terrain.  Full-day rides will also give you the opportunity to traverse a more diverse path and cover more ground.  These are great for riding enthusiasts who want to get out and really enjoy the natural beauty of the Scottish Highlands.

For those looking for even more horse riding adventure, there is the option of a horse riding vacation.  Highlands Unbridled in Brora, Sutherland, offers a coast-to-coast scenic trek which is very challenging and generally takes between 5 and 7 days.  As well, they run a seaside special which allows you to experience three different coastlines in the Highlands.  Their longest trek, which is also the longest trail ride in the UK, follows the coastline and then returns cross country.  This ride takes a whopping 17 days!  Consider booking a short break or a “petal ride” with Highlands Unbridled and enjoy an abundance of horse riding options.  Knockandhu Riding School in Craighellachie, Morayshire, runs off-road hacks and treks through beautiful Speyside.  Tomintoul Riding Centre in Moray provides trail rides for experienced riders, taking you along the famous Whisky Trail.  Highland Horseback is another centre which runs 100- or 200-mile treks for experienced riders, going from the fertile farmland of the East of Scotland up into the Highlands.  Finally, for an all-in-one option, the Crubenbeg Highland Holiday Cottages in Newtonmore will provide you with lovely accommodation while organizing horse riding for you with Newtonmore Riding Centre, Haflinger Stables in Laggan, and Alvie Stables.  Rides can be arranged for all skill levels, and you will have the chance to enjoy spectacular Highland mountain scenery throughout the Cairngorm National Park. 

Whatever your horse riding experience, and whatever your dream of horse riding in the Scottish Highlands, you can realise it now with the myriad horse riding opportunities throughout the Highlands.  Determine your skill level then think about your options—an hour or so of gentle trekking, a half-day’s ride at a walk, trot, and canter, a full day in the mountains, or a complete trail riding holiday—they are all available to you in the beautiful Scottish Highlands.  Book your horse riding adventure today!

Want to experience the feeling of riding through the Scottish Highlands on horse back? Seeing horses amongst a backdrop of mountains and lochs presents a beautiful image, riding horses through such scenery found in the Scottish Highlands is a dream for many.

Trekking and riding centres offer a great range of activities from riding instruction
to trail riding, cross-country or the more leisurely pursuit of treking, horse riding is provided for all abilities. Some Riding Centres or horse trekking providers offer tours and even trails that last up to a week!

Get really into the spirit of things as you and your humble steed develop a connection and escape to the wilderness. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Scotland as you trek the unspoilt countryside into the hills and the glens.

For a list of Trekking and Riding Centres in the Scottish Highlands, please see below. We have compiled lists of the best equestrian related businesses, trades and individuals in the Scottish Highlands. There are many breeders, stables, and schools, along with the stores from which you can purchase any equipment you may require dotted around the Scottish Highlands.

With such beautiful scenery in the Highlands of Scotland it is easy to understand why horse riding is so popular, what better way to explore the dramatic landscape than from horseback?