Scotland on a farm by horse?

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Aug 1st, 2014, 03:37 PM
  #1
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Scotland on a farm by horse?

Hello all! My husband and I are going to Scotland in May 2015. Now, I'm not entirely sure if what we are trying to do is actually do-able and I cannot seem to find the information I need on generic websites.

My husband would love to view Scotland on horseback. He also wants to explore the culture (including bagpipes, kilts, etc.). I would love to visit scenic areas, visit museums, as well as exploring some castles.

What I was considering is staying at a B&B, possibly a farm that is close to the city but has access to horseback riding (unguided preferred as we are both experienced riders). Another option we would love is staying in a castle with archery, horseback riding, and other outdoor amenities. So essentially the question is, what would be the best way to do all of this and do you have any recommendations based on experience?

Scotland is just so big it's overwhelming! We have never traveled outside of the states so I want to make sure everything is perfect. We plan on spending about 4 days in Scotland then flying to Paris and ending in Italy (Rome, Florence, and Venice). I am planning Scotland first then I will move onto the rest.

Thank you in advanced for your help!
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Aug 1st, 2014, 04:04 PM
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>>My husband would love to view Scotland on horseback. <<

You can't 'view Scotland' on horseback. And you most definitely can't 'see' Scotland in 4 days, which will really only be 3+ days since you will arrive after an overnight flight. There are some equestrian centres (which is what you'd need to google) that do half day rides and such. There are also a few farm B&B's that offer 'pony trekking'/horseback riding.

Some are low key and semi-economical and some (like Gleneagles) are VERY up market. Some may allow unguided riding - but most would be tuitioned or at least accompanied.

I'd try to find one of these operations for just a day or two stay and the other two days in Edinburgh.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 04:07 PM
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Meant to add . . .

>>I would love to visit scenic areas, visit museums, as well as exploring some castles.<<

I don't think your ideas are very realistic w/ only 3-4 days. One scenic area maybe, a couple of castles, and how much 'culture' can you cram into such a short visit.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 04:10 PM
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This is a really interesting idea.

I don't even know where to begin, but first in the UK, of which Scotland is still a part, they call it "riding" rather than "horseback riding" which matters if you try to google.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 07:48 PM
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Not sure where you have ridden before - but has it been western or English?

Eons ago when I took riding lessons one of the group, who wanted to have the freedom of individual trail rides - turned out to only have ridden western and couldn't deal with a saddle without a pommel. Nor was she comfortable at anything more than a slow shuffle and didn't know how to post - but that's another issue. (We had to demo that we could walk, trot - posting and sitting - canter, take the horse over small jumps and dismount/check hooves/remount before we could take the horses out alone.)
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 07:50 AM
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Actually I have enjoyed lots of wonderful riding in Scotland and it is a great way to see the countryside. You could either stay at a self catering or B and B and do some 2 hour or half/full day rides at different trekking stables as you travel (but agree with posters that you'd be best off choosing one spot to be in and enjoy if you can only be there 4 days), or join a longer ride at a stable that specializes in holidays and provides accommodation. Where were you most interested in being? There is gorgeous riding everywhere! Happy to share where I've ridden out on holiday in Scotland, if that helps. A good place to start is with http://www.ridinginscotland.com which most certified centres belong to. There are some free rein rides as well (unguided but with maps and booked farmhouse/pub/inn accommodation each night). It might be more fun to go out with a guide though as you will get the history and sites explained as well.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 07:53 AM
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Whoops--and google Pony Trekking, looking for hacks on each site as most appropriate for more experienced riders who are happy riding at faster gaits.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 08:07 AM
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>>it is a great way to see the countryside. <<

Just to clarify -- it is a great way to see the immediate countryside. It is not a way to 'see' Scotland or castles/culture/museums.

My ex rides (in fact put himself through college teaching Western, English and dressage) and he rode in both Scotland and England - but staying at a riding centre or B&B w/ pony trekking . . . that is pretty much what your 4 days would be. You'd have to stay at least 2 nights to get in a half day ride (since check in time isn't usually till late afternoon). So a minimum of half your time in Scotland would be tied up w/ horses. If that is what you want out of Scotland - great.

When we rode (well, when he rode - me not so much) it was part of a 2 or 3 week trip and we did mostly other things. Or it was just him going for a riding weekend on his own - not for any sightseeing. W/ just 4 days - you'll either have a short riding holiday w/ maybe a day in Edinburgh - OR - you'll have 4 days to tour a little of Scotland/castles/etc.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 08:25 AM
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Try here :

http://www.glengormcastle.co.uk/?page_id=1234

Place is absolutely stunning and the owners bend over backwards to help, great customer focus.

Mull is one of the few areas of Europe with wildlife left, mainly because landowners like Glengorm have managed their resource and not shot everything in sight over the past 500 years. Form the cliffs you may dolphins, porpoise, minke whales, we saw basking sharks, Golden Eagles and White Tailed Sea Eagles which if you have any interest in wildlife .... Are one life's great spectacles.

http://mullponytrekking.webs.com/wheretofindus.htm

Is closeby.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 08:41 AM
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Mull is one of my very favorite places on Earth and that would be wonderful - but just so you understand that would be most/all of your 4 days right there - at least 3 when factoring in the ferry back and forth and getting to Oban from GLA or EDI and back.

If one has been to Scotland several times - or doesn't really mind visiting just one island off the west coast and not other parts of Scotland - Mull would be terrific.

But really w/ only 4 days - why not. You wouldn't see very much of Scotland in any case.


Hers's a thought . . . Since you aren't traveling til next year I assume you haven't booked your flights yet. Why not give Scotland some actual time - like 2 weeks or more. Scotland and Paris would be a wonderful 2 or 3 week trip. Save Italy for another trip.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 10:54 AM
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He also wants to explore the culture (including bagpipes, kilts, etc.)

If it's kilts and tartan he's after, you might want to visit a mill like Lochcarron

http://www.lochcarron.co.uk/visit-us/

Most kilt shops are there for tourists and will sell or rent you the cookie cutter Scot-in-a-kilt. But one place to experience Highland culture, including bagpipes is a Highland Gathering, of which there are many during summer.

or plan your visit to coincide with

http://royalhighlandshow.org/
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 10:58 AM
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. . . (I ignored the bagpipes/kilts bit on purpose ) . . .

They can't go to the Royal Highlands Show if they are traveling in May as the OP says . . .
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 11:06 AM
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Oops, completely read over that. But I imagine they can still change their plans if it's 2015.

ignore bagpipes and kilts at your peril.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 11:11 AM
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>>ignore bagpipes and kilts at your peril.<<



(I love pipes . . . but unless one is attending the Tattoo or some band competition or Games - one may have to rely on just hearing a busker on the Royal Mile)
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 11:59 AM
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which is a shame, because the best pipe music is played in competitions.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 01:00 PM
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Wow! Thank you all for your wonderful replies. Very insightful. Since we have not yet booked our flights there is still time to change our plans. I do feel as if we want to do so much in such little time. Maybe Italy could wait until the following year. Italy could easily be a 2 week trip on it's own.

I completely overlooked the difference between Western and Eastern riding styles as well! We have only ever ridden Western so a guide may be necessary after all. Mull actually sounds fantastic. I will definitely be looking into that.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 01:34 PM
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Oh -- there are actually a few places you can ride western but they are few/far between and more a 'niche hobby' rather than mainstream riding. There is even a Western Equestrian Society. But if you are going to ride in the UK IMO it really should be the 'proper' style. But if you do want to ride Western - google western riding UK or similar and you'll get lots of info.

>> I do feel as if we want to do so much in such little time.<<

A common first inclination. We'll knock you into shape

>>Italy could easily be a 2 week trip on it's own. <<

Or 3 or 4 weeks easily. If your trip(s) will be in the 2 week/14 day neighborhood you'll need to be very selective for even just Scotland or Scotland/Paris or just Italy.
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Aug 5th, 2014, 01:19 AM
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Just a note on the terms used for riding

Trekking/pony trekking. Mainly for non-riders, sit on a horse following the horse in front, and look at the views.

Hacking - riding over country/round lanes, for those with riding experience. May have different types of rides (some slower, some faster) for riders of different experience levels.

Trail riding - riding from point A to point B. Sometimes offered as half day or day options, often short holidays over a few days staying in different accommodation each night. This might actually be a good option for you. Some are fast and furious for very experienced riders, some are for less experienced, but all expect you to be competent riding outside in groups. You may even find a western style offering if you are lucky.

OOh - here's one for you, they use Apalloosas and Quarter Horses for Western riding including 4 hour trail rides. http://www.lungaridingstables.co.uk/
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Aug 5th, 2014, 05:36 AM
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Dickie_GR has obviously never been to Spain or Germany or Poland, Slovenia, Scandinavia or even the Netherlands if he believes Mull is the last place in Europe to still have wildlife.

It is perfectly feasible to do an afternoon trek without needing to stay two nights somewhere. You will be accompanied by a guide, so you don't get lost or go where you aren't allowed. They will cater to you riding skills, which will be tested before setting off.
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Aug 5th, 2014, 01:03 PM
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Sorry should have posted Britain not Europe.

I have been to all the countries on your list Hets.

Mull is one place which stands out to us as we encountered wildlife packed into such a small area.

You can generalise about anything but I sailed around the Swedish archipelago last week. Very little wildlife in comparison.

We are very, very aware of wildlife when we travel. Mull stands out a mile for resident wildlife, in some places such as Southern Sweden in early Autumn it is possible to see outstanding numbers of migrating birds but only for short periods, 200 Buzzards in a day is possible. Same for Norway, where 300 plus Orca feed on herring at certain to times.
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