BBC ALBA documentary on Scottish working horses


On Monday 30th July – from 8.30 to 9.00pm, BBC ALBA is airing a documentafry on the lives of working horses in Scotland: Dileas – Working Horses.

Traditionally, Scotland has relied on iconic breeds such as Clydesdales and Shetland ponies – indispensable to generations of farmers.

BBC ALBA’s programming is a compelling and informative new three-part documentary series on the lives and roles of working horses in Scotland today.

Episode One of Dìleas – Working Horses sees presenter Angela MacKay visit Jackton Farm in Ayrshire, meeting the Steel family, who breed Clydesdales and demonstrate the work involved in preparing them for annual driving competitions.

Allan Steel Stallion Show

‘A hobby that’s got out of hand’, they say.

From the largest Scottish breed to the smallest, this episode also visits the Shetland Isles where the island’s breeders are taking measures to ensure the quality of the breed is maintained to a high standard – and are also promoting their use as ridden ponies.

Davie Robertson pony breeder

Episode Two follows National le TREC Champion Lianna Bourne and her horse Holly as they train and compete in a winter series competition, learning about the special trust required to become a good team in equestrian sport.  Lianna and Holly have an unbreakable bond. She says: ‘To build a good relationship with your horse, it really does take time’.

The programme also follows professional eventer Olivia Wilmot and her horse, Axil, at the Blair Atholl Horse Trials, showing the work involved in competing at the highest levels of Eventing.

Finally, the series focuses on the work carried out by horses in modern methods of therapy.

Riding therapy class

Episode Three visits the Glasgow group of the RDA (Riding for the Disabled Association) and discovers what is required of a riding therapy horse in carrying out their vital roles in improving the lives of disabled riders. There are personal statements from riders with cerebral palsy.

This episode also looks into Equine Assisted Therapy and visits Castle Craig hospital in the Scottish Borders where therapist Aureol Gillan reveals how the unique temperament of the horse helps addicts through the process of rehabilitation.