Gleneagles Townhouse

Unbridled Equestrian Adventures

20 May 2024

One of the most thrilling perspectives of the Scottish wilderness is from the saddle, with Gleneagles’ Equestrian School the perfect starting point for first timers and seasoned riders alike.

Many of those who choose to holiday at Gleneagles’ Glorious Playground each year are attracted to the estate for its abundance of active pursuits in the picturesque Perthshire countryside. Behind the scenes, an expert team of outdoors professionals oversee a well-oiled operation that provides guests with plenty of first-class facilities to help them make the most of their stunning surroundings. Never is this truer than at the Equestrian School, whose six instructors are on hand to introduce guests to the joys of exploring Perthshire on horseback.

For Rebecca Kennedy, Head of Equestrian at Gleneagles, two factors make the school truly unique. “Firstly, it’s the countryside around us here – perhaps I’m biased but Scotland really is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and that really sets us apart,” she says. “We also have very good coaches with a high standard of knowledge so when you book a lesson with us you know you’re going to get good quality tuition and wonderful horses.”

Kennedy, who has worked with horses for more than 20 years in eventing and racing, runs a busy weekly roster of indoor and outdoor coaching, horse riding lessons and experiences for guests at all levels, with the school’s 27 horses and ponies all receiving expert care and attention. “We treat all our horses here as competition horses, which means they get the highest level of care,” she says. “They all see physiotherapists, they all have a nutritionist and we have a world-champion farrier and equine specialist vets.



Recently celebrating her five-year anniversary at Gleneagles, Kennedy has built up a strong rapport with her horses, who each come with their own character. “They get up to lots of mischief and they’re all brilliant – just like humans, some are really extroverted and love attention while others are quieter and more timid until they get to know you,” she says before introducing some of the stars from the stables. “The biggest horse we have is eight-year-old Mac, who measures 17.3 hands. I’m not supposed to have favourites but I adore him. His sister, Iona is only a little shorter and does everything from riding for the disabled to advanced dressage riding. Then little Chelsea is a black Shetland pony who is now 18 years old.”

Whether guests are completely new to horses or experienced riders, the school has something to offer, with one of the highlights being the chance to head out into the surrounding scenery – something that really comes into its own during the summer months. Between April and October, the school runs countryside walks for beginners, which takes guests out into Gleneagles estate. These outings are for up to six people and gives the chance to enjoy the surroundings at a sedate pace.


Meet the horses


Size: 17.3hh
Age: 8 years old
Breed: Shire X
Biography: Mac is the biggest horse we have in our stable. He loves showjumping and rummaging in pockets for treats! He is the perfect all rounder looking after beginners, out hacking or showing off his fancy dressage moves with more advanced riders.


Size: 15.2hh
Age: 8 years old
Breed: Irish cob
Biography: Skye loves jumping and galloping so cross country is her favourite thing to do. She is an absolute sweetie and loves being groomed and getting a cuddle.


Size: 14hh
Age: 13 years old
Breed: Highland pony
Biography: Super Trooper is a firm favourite with the equestrian team. He is a Scottish breed so is well suited to our weather and is a foodie who likes to demand his breakfast by banging his stable door.


Size: 13.2hh
Age: 17 years old
Breed: Welsh section C
Biography: Reuben is a beautiful pony who did a lot of showing at county level before he joined our stables. He is lots of fun for competent children and small adults, but he is also incredibly patient and will be a lead rein pony giving children their first riding experience.


Size: 45 inches
Age: 18 years old
Breed: Shetland
Biography: Everybody’s favourite! Chelsea loves being groomed and being a lead rein pony for children from 4 years old. She is so patient and is the perfect first pony for little jockeys.

For seasoned riders who are comfortable cantering and galloping, the school also offers two hacks a day over summer for up to four people. “These excursions are a lot faster and go much further out over the moors where the views are incredible,” says Kennedy. “You start off going through Caledonian pine forest, looking out over Strathearn Glen, and then you head up onto the moor where you can see the start of the Highlands in front of you. During the summer you’ll have the heather in bloom, which is so gorgeous – it’s a view that never gets old.”

While the stunning Scottish landscapes are a major draw, Kennedy highlights something else that guests are frequently impressed by. “Our best feedback is often how good our horses are,” she says. “They don’t just plod along but like going fast and this makes it a lot more fun as a rider – these horses arrive at certain spots and just want to go!” This intelligence comes down to the training, with Kennedy’s knowledgeable team educating their horses to accommodate all riding abilities. “Temperament is a key factor when bringing new arrivals to the stables. Horses like stability and it can take two years for a horse to accept different riders, so we train that confidence into them.”

Elsewhere, those wishing to improve their technique can take advantage of lessons in showjumping, cross-country and dressage, and for younger riders, the school offers lead reins for those aged four and up and excursions along a similar route to the countryside walk in search of fairies. Meanwhile, for those who are a little nervous to hop straight onto a horse there’s also a stables experience, which includes an introduction to all the horses, where Kennedy’s team will explain their likes and dislikes, and a lesson in grooming one of the Shetland ponies, giving an interactive experience aimed at boosting confidence that’s sure to linger long in the memory.

Whatever the level, few things compare to being on horseback among the stunning Scottish landscapes, with Kennedy particularly drawn to summers in Perthshire. “I love hacking when the heather is in bloom,” she says. “You can hear the skylarks singing and it’s so pretty and peaceful up here.”

To enquire about an equestrian booking, please speak with our Playground Planners on 01764662231 or email

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