Reinforcements for the Lanimer cavalry

The Anniversary Ride Out when new march stones were dedicated attracted scores of local riders and many more from across the Border Riding Festivals (Picture Sarah Peters)
The Anniversary Ride Out when new march stones were dedicated attracted scores of local riders and many more from across the Border Riding Festivals (Picture Sarah Peters)

Echoing the comedy film City Slickers, a group of Lanark ‘tenderfoots’ have got into the saddle with the aim of boosting the numbers riding

in the Royal Burgh’s traditional events.

Horseriding is not exactly a popular pastime for the modern-day bloke and this is reflected in the number of newly-selected Lord Cornets in recent times who have had to be taught to ride to carry out their duties at The Marches and Lanimers.

It is a far cry from the situation when traditions like the Riding of the Marches which were founded centuries ago, and when almost every adult male would have known how to ride a horse.

Even much more recently, in the 1890’s when the ‘modern’ Lanimers started, the majority of men in the Royal Burgh in these pre-automobile days, would have had at least basic equestrian skills.

The decades of progress in transport and working lives has steadily diminished the number of men with any riding skills whatsoever.

Recently one Lanark man, who returned to the Royal Burgh after many years living in Glasgow, decided to do something about the situation and he and a band of pals have now formed their own ‘club’, dubbed the Lanark Riding Association.

The founder, Ian Douglas, explained: “The Association has been formed to encourage local people to engage in the equestrian activities during Lanimer week and to facilitate their introduction to riding.

“A group of five local men - friends and friends of friends - have already got involved and have been travelling through to Edinburgh over the last two months for lessons at the Tower Farm Riding Stables who specialise in providing horses for Lanimer week and other summer riding festivals throughout the Borders and South of Scotland.

“A Lanark Riding Association Facebook page has been created and has already received a great deal of local interest.

“The ultimate goal is to develop local people’s riding skills, to the extent that they are competent enough to take part in some of the Lanimer Week rides and other events at other Scottish towns.I would welcome anyone over 18 who is interested in getting involved, to get in touch via the Facebook page.

“Only one of the group has previous riding experience - from 35 years ago! - although the rest of them have made fantastic progress in a short period of time with camaraderie playing it’s part and I hope to see them all on horseback in Lanimer Week.”