Taking your horse on holiday could soon be even easier thanks to a Scottish scheme.

The initiative, called Ride Scotland’s Horse Country, brings together a network of accommodation for horse and rider along 300 miles of off-road hacking in the Scottish Borders.

Riders will soon be able to search for maps, hacking routes and places to stay on one website, which is due to be launched in the near future.

The idea is to help boost tourism in the area by making it easier for riders to explore Scotland on their horses, while also helping match holidaymakers with B&Bs, hotels, campsites and yards.

Project co-ordinator Gowan Miller told H&H the countryside is “stunning”.

“There are 300 miles of off-road trails — you do not have to see another person some days,” she said.

“There’s a huge history of horses interwoven through the fabric of the place.”

The Southern Upland Partnership secured government LEADER funding for the project.

It also has backing from Scottish Enterprise, the British Horse Society (National and Borders), Scottish Borders Council, Forestry Commission Scotland, Future Hawick, Buccleuch Estates LTD and Energise Galashiels.

Ms Miller said the types of accommodation will range from campsites to high-end hotels, and the project also wants to hear from B&Bs and farmers with fields or stables who are looking to diversify.

“We have the perfect combination of spectacular countryside and a heritage of long-established trails carved out by drovers, used by the Reivers and some with roots going back to Roman times,” added Ms Miller.

“They provide a stunning natural resource and we want to enhance that appeal.

“The first phase involves identifying high-quality accommodation and stopover points for riders and their horses on a trail by trail basis.

“Our initial target is to get 15 establishments on board and to expand the trails network from there.

“We are currently talking to those with accommodation and equestrian facilities to establish trail stopovers and would like to hear from anyone interested in diversifying their existing business or those already established that might want to take part. The initial response has been very enthusiastic.”

She added the project is initially targeting riders who live within a two- to three-hour drive of the trails, with the long-term aim to attract equestrians from across the UK and abroad.

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A spokesperson for the LEADER initiative, which delivers support to community initiatives for rural development, said it is hoped the project will be a “huge success in boosting the Borders economy”.

“The Borders has been famous for hundreds of years for its horses and riders,” he added.

“This project gives visitors a chance to explore and experience the beauty of the Borders whilst staying in quality, suitable accommodation for both horses and riders.”

For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/tweedtrails/ or email gowan@sup.org.uk

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