In August 2002, Ex-Cornets Colin Barnfather and Tommy Morrison wondered how best to encourage youngsters to participate in the equestrian side of Langholm Common Riding. Several youngsters came forward to ‘give it a go’, and it was not long before many more came forward. Hence, Langholm Young Riders was born. Help was needed, and Ramsey Johnstone and Ex-Cornet John Murray were enlisted.
Riding lessons at various centres in the area were ‘free’, hence funds were needed. A sponsored walk is now traditional on the first Sunday after the election, with our newly elected Cornet leading the Young Riders to the monument and back. The very generous sponsorship enables members to receive free lessons throughout the year.
In addition to riding lessons, the Langholm Young Riders have their very own pony, Elvis. He is available all year round and for those wanting to participate in any of the Castle Craigs Rideouts.
The main object is for any young rider to follow our Cornet on horseback. For the younger members, those under twelve, the pony rideout round the town led by the Cornet, Right- and Left-Hand Men and accompanied by the Pipe Band, is the highlight of their Common Riding.
Another aim of Langholm Young Riders is for one of their members to become Langholm Cornet, the highest honour Langholm can bestow. This indeed happened in 2014 when Dale Irving was elected Cornet, and others who have followed since then are Cornet Simon Tweddle (2016), Cornet Stuart Murray (2017), and Cornet Iain Little (2018). When a former Young Rider becomes cornet, a ‘Bowler Hat Do’ is hosted for the elected member. The Young Riders present the Cornet with his bowler hat at a small function, marking the connection between the Cornet’s start as a horseman and the ultimate achievement in Langholm Common Riding.
There are other former members of Langholm Young Riders who, since leaving school, have taken up employment in stables and racing yards across the country, hopefully to make a career in the equestrian world.
As we pull away from the Coronavirus Pandemic, when lessons and events were put on hold, may the Langholm Young Riders members of today enjoy and take part and be the future of Langholm Common Riding’s tomorrow.