29th July 2023

Take your horse on holiday

Taking your horse on holiday is something that many riders dream of doing. Did you know we offer this option at Hillhouse? Humans get to stay in outstanding self-catering cottages, horses graze in the farm’s fields, and you’ll all be treated to wonderful trails over tracks and open fields with incredible views. There is also direct access to the rugged Lammermuir Hills for more adventures. Or, it’s an easy trailer journey to an incredible network of options across the wider Scottish Borders. You can ride over hills, through woodland and along beaches to your heart’s content. This is historically horse country, and remains so today, with some of the best riding in all of Scotland.

Rides at Hillhouse Farm

We are very fortunate to have spectacular riding here at the farm. You can choose from well over 20km of routes across the 1500-acre lands. The routes include farm tracks as well as loads of opportunities for canters and gallops over open fields. We just ask that the livestock (all sheep) are respected and that you don’t ride through the middle of a flock! Keeping to the track or to the fence line when the livestock are in the middle of a field is the way to go. You can view a map of the routes we recommend here.

Accommodation for horse and rider

We have 4 self-catering cottages at Hillhouse, all of which would be suitable for those staying on a horse holiday.

Our newest addition, Fairnielees, is the largest cottage. It has three twin/king bedrooms (plus sofa bed) and it sits on its own half a mile from the main farm accommodation. At Fairnielees, you’d feel like you have the farm to yourself – it’s completely surrounded by hills, fields and tracks. There isn’t another building in sight! There are options for grazing at Fairnielees so your horses and ponies can stay right next to you.

Our other cottages, Hernie Cleugh, Highfield and Berry Hill, are all at the main group of houses on Hillhouse Farm. They are also ideal for those staying with horses or ponies. Again, there are fields in the immediate vicinity which you can use for your horse.

We charge a small fee for grazing during your stay.

Best riding routes across the Scottish Borders

The riding at Hillhouse Farm is excellent and will be enough if you’re here for a short break. If you’re staying longer, and fancy exploring further afield on horseback, you can find beautiful routes a short trailer journey away. For example, head to Lauder to ride the historic Lauder Common Riding route. You will ride grassy tracks and moor paths, with some stunning views over Lauder town and Thirlestane Castle. Also nearby, you’ll find the Earlston Circuit and Gala Circuit, and further afield there are countless other routes.

A wonderful booklet of Horse Trails around the Scottish Borders has been produced by the Southern Uplands Partnership and it gives you all the details. To give you an idea of some of the adventures you can go on, have a look at this video:

Common Ridings of the Scottish Borders

The Scottish Borders has such a rich history when it comes to horses. Indeed, collective “ride-outs” are hosted by Border towns every summer. It’s a tradition which celebrates the historic checking of the boundaries of their lands. The ride-outs are known as Common Ridings. It’s a practice which dates back to the 13th century and endured through many centuries. Common Ridings were once a neccessity in these much-fought-over border lands between Scotland and England.

It’s possible to join in with Common Ridings. The best option is Lauder Common Riding (held early August) as it’s the closest to Hillhouse. Anyone can take part, there is no need to register and there is no fee! Lauder Common Riding says “People come from all over the world each year to join in and are welcomed with open arms.  We do ask that you listen to any instructions from the Marshalls and Stewards though.”

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