One of the oldest equestrian festivals in the world – The tradition of common riding dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries, during the continual land border wars both with England and against other clans.
It was a Border Country custom to plunder and thieve cattle, known as reiving, and commonplace amongst the major Borders families. In these lawless and battle-strewn times, it became the practice of the day for the local lord to appoint a leading townsperson, who would then ride the clan’s boundaries, or “marches”, to protect their common lands and prevent encroachment by neighbouring landlords and their peoples.
Today the tradition of the riding of the boundaries continues with 11 towns, Hawick, West Linton, Selkirk, Peebles, Melrose, Galashiels, Jedburgh, Duns, Kelso, Lauder, Coldstream using horses for the traditional ride out.
The festivals surrounding these ride outs are steeped in tradition and celebrate borders history, music and song, parades and concerts culminating in the whole town celebrating the ‘Riding’.
Other towns in the borders have their own festivals and games throughout the summer, there is an event almost every week in the summer!