Looking for help mostly handling and training my Highland ponies near Tain (Inverness), North Scotland.


United Kingdom


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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    I breed Highland ponies on my small farm in the north of the Scottish Highlands near the east coast and can use some help over the summer. This summer I have seven youngsters, so enough to keep it interesting but not enough to make it hard work!

    I am retired and my ponies are a hobby. I'm old so my approach to training is relaxed and easy going. I have a dozen ponies of all ages and stages of training. I prefer 'natural' methods and let the pony set the pace. I don't believe there is a "right" way to train and enjoy swapping ideas and trying new methods.

    Only one or two ponies will be rideable at any one time as they are sold at around four years of age when they have been backed and ridden. I do have a ridden champion that experienced people would be welcome to ride and there may be others while you are here. There is excellent hacking locally on the beaches and in forestry.

    No mucking out or poo picking as the ponies are tough and live out 24/7, even the foals! The poo is either harrowed in or picked up by machine.

    I try not to use the phone as I am a bit deaf, but I usually reply to emails within a few hours via my desktop computer. I do not have a mobile.

    Sorry, but your pets are not welcome.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    General Maintenance
    Animal care
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The farm is located about 3.2 kilometers from Tain and the main A9 road north and about 56 kilometers north of Inverness on the east coast. It is a good base for exploring the north of Scotland but still a bit isolated and self contained. Tain has several supermarkets, shops, health centre, etc. and is worth exploring. There is no problem to arranging 'time off' and I am happy to provide a limited taxi service. There is a main line railway station at Tain, an air port at Inverness (Ardesier), and there are regular local bus and train services. I have a bicycle you can use and plan on getting a second. You will find it easier to get around if you have your own transport.

    Please bear in mind that I am old and do not get involved with the local social life much. Sometimes I like to put my feet up and watch TV or have a nap! If you are studying, writing a book, or otherwise want peace and quiet to do your own thing, this would probably suit you down to the ground. If you want to go off and explore Scotland for a couple of days, that's fine too. But be aware that this is a farm and cocks crow and dogs bark and animals still need to be fed and tended!

    Also, do research "things to do" in the Highlands before you come so when you get here you can explore the area and culture. There are a few links on my web page that might help.

  • Help


    You will be helping to groom ponies, lead, help in the round pen, long reining, and helping with backing. I usually have some already broken and others just backed and needing experience. There is excellent hacking in woodland literally on the doorstep and beach rides quite close for experienced riders. At the moment I only have one pony fully trained but he is a ridden champion at county level. If there are two of you (recommended) at least one should be a good rider and experienced wih horses. Training horses is not the same as riding, so even if you are an experienced rider this could be a learning experience.

    I have both Public Liability and Employers Liability Insurance but visitors might consider getting their own rider insurance if they intend riding in the UK. An idea of your weight, height , and a note of your experience would be helpful, also photographs.

    Sorry, no pets!

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken


  • Accommodation


    Accommodation is in a self contained caravan with accommodation for two, so you can enjoy your own privacy. We share extra facilities in the house. The caravan has all the essential amenities (gas and mains electricity, heating, cooker, wash hand basin, sink, shower, etc, with sleeping bags, towels, bedding, and kitchen and eating essentials provided) and there is a refrigerator and washing machine in the house. So it is quite comfortable and we can each have our own privacy when we want. We can share cooking, buying food, etc. as I am easy with that, but if you have special requirements, that will be your responsibility.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    This is a placement best suited to two people, at least one of whom is experienced and confident around horses, as it is quiet here without a lot of social activity. But if you are 'horsey' and happy with your own company, that is fine too. I have a relaxed attitude and don't work to the clock or to a time table. I generally take the dogs out in the morning to go round the ponies, then check on the Internet and then have breakfast, starting work around 10am - 10.30am with lunch around 1.00. Some days I will spend time in the office. But it is flexible.

    The farm is secluded with no near neighbours. A single person might find it lonely. I can provide bicycles but visitors will definitely find exploring Scotland easier with a car or motorcycle as distances are large. There is no problem to your taking a day or so off to explore.

    My neighbours about 0.8 kilometers away are a popular trekking centre, Highlands Unbridled, who also take on volunteers. So when it is quiet here, you can introduce yourself and probably get to meet other young people as Jan and Graham take on workawayers every summer and are good friends!

    When writing, please state age, experience, height, and weight. Minimum age 18. No phone calls please. I have Public Liability and Employers' Liability insurance but if you are wanting to ride, your own riders' insurance is recommended. Obviously, you'll need working clothes and a hard hat for riding, and, it can be cold here sometimes, even in summer. Apparently, the caravan is a success and has most of what you'd need with extras in the house.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    3 hours a day, 5 days a week (very flexible!)

New born foal. Ten minutes old!
Getting to know the family.
Young Highland ponies eating off a fresh deer skin to get them accustomed to the smell of blood.
Desensitising foals.
Desensitising foals.
Sometimes Highland ponies can be too friendly!
A picture from the past. Your host getting a goishawk used to the pointers, all now sadly gone.
More desensitisation.
Highland ponies can jump!
Your host with two young Highland ponies.
Morrich Highland Ponies
Derry and Max. Max is trained in protection work but he is a very friendly dog when properly introduced.
One of my helpers and Josethdene, my Highland stallion. Joe is a ridden champion at county level. He has a superb temperament as is the father of all the youngsters here.
Loading practice. Torran has to be held back or he would be first in and hoover up all the feed!
Black foals usually change colour, most eventually going grey like mum here.

Host ref number: 927969581196