Call to riders keen to try their hand at tilting

Are you a competent rider? Over 16? Fancy trying your hand at an unusual equestrian sport?

If you do and are free from July 5-10 – and have a valid passport – then there’s an opportunity for you to learn the art of tilting at the ring and taking part in the annual festival of tilting in Sonderborg, South Jutland, Denmark.

Tilting is a sport that goes back to the Middle Ages, but it’s only in this part of Denmark that it survives today.

And at the tilting festivals, you’ll find some of the same elements as at the Border common ridings – flags, bands, and hundreds of horses processing through the streets of the town.

However, there the similarities end. Instead of heading for the hills, the riders go to the “tilting yard” where the competition takes place.

An initiative from the Borders Festival of the Horse and the festival committee in Sonderborg has opened up the possibility of this ancient, but modern, equestrian sport finding a place outside the Danish borders for the first time – in the Scottish Borders. One rider, Robyn Kinsman Blake of Smailholm, is already confirmed, and now the organisers are looking for two more to join her at the head of the procession with the Scottish Saltire.

A horse, a day’s training, and your accommodation, will be provided for two lucky riders – all you need to pay for is your fare from Edinburgh to Billund airport, and incidental expenses.

Dr Rolf Jelnes, of Sonderborg, will be in Selkirk this weekend for the common riding, and hopes to meet anyone who is interested at the beginning of next week. Rolf has been coming to the Borders for nearly 40 years and has seen many of the common ridings – his daughter Karen rode at Lauder in 1994 – but this will be his first time in Selkirk.

If you are interested, please email aikwood@dsl.pipex.com or abfraser@btinternet.com for further information, giving details of your riding experience.

You can find out more about tilting on www. ringriderfest.com