Although I generally make it a rule to not tread too close to any animal that is more than five times heavier than I am, my Texas upbringing means that horses have always been the exception.

I was fortunate to do a bit of riding as a child but never had the pleasure of spending time with the gentle giant of the horse world – the Clydesdale.

Famous for their size and the long hair – or feather – covering their ankles, these magnificent creatures were first bred in Scotland for farm work and haulage. Though they were once labelled endangered, today the breed is on the rise thanks to the passion and commitment of people like Ruth and George Skinner of Strathorn Farm Stables in Old Rayne, Aberdeenshire.

Strathorn Farm sits in the middle of the rolling green countryside with the entire vista of Bennachie in sight. It is a place where travelling by horse suddenly seems much more sensible than by car, which is probably why so many people come here to learn to do just that.

Long established as a riding school for over fives, today Strathorn is equally known for its carriage driving lessons and its expertise in schooling horses of all sizes to ride and drive. But of all that is on offer, nothing compares to a ride in one of the hand-built drays, pulled by a pair of glorious Clydesdales.

Travelling by horse-drawn carriage will transport you to another time, before machines reigned supreme in the countryside. A time when man and beast worked as one, driven by a common purpose and mutual respect. In this case, the ‘beasts’ may weigh the better part of a ton, but their grace and splendour would rival even the daintiest ballerina.

Whether you are looking to make a grand entrance at your wedding or just want to experience something new, the Strathorn Clydesdales will not disappoint.

T: 01464 851204

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