Girth control not a principal issue for Borders rideouts

General picture of Common Ridings in the Scottish Borders.
General picture of Common Ridings in the Scottish Borders.

Borders common ridings and festivals do not look set to follow in the hoof prints of Musselburgh, which has started issuing official advice to candidates hoping for selection as principals, about new weight limits as a result of concerns over horse welfare.

A 16-stone weight limit for candidates has been introduced by the stables that supply the mounts for Musselburgh’s Honest Lad and Lass, as well as any riding instruction needed.

However, there is no suggestion there was a problem with the 2013 Musselburgh principals.

And while many other stables already operate similar policies, weight issues do not seem to have been a concern for Borders festivals and common ridings.

Asked if consideration had ever been given to including official weight limits for principals as part of their own selection criteria, president of Hawick Common Riding Committee, Stuart Marshall, told us: “We are very fortunate in Hawick to have principals who actually own their horses and look after them all year round.”

And David Houston, chairman of the Braw Lads’ Gathering Executive, said the issue had not cropped up in Galashiels.

“I don’t think the subject’s ever needed to be broached,” said Mr Houston.