RIDING with a difference was the challenge on Sunday during a special event in the Manor Valley.

Organised by Border Highlands, the Hill Pony Competition challenges Highland ponies and their riders to follow a course round a farm where they have to perform a wide range of rural tasks from filling hay bags, carrying a basket full of apples through a wood, collecting eggs, lifting feed bags, throwing tatties and more.

A huge thank you is due to Robert Barr, who threw open Woodhouse farm for the day, ignoring the disruption and even providing ideas and equipment for the course.

The event was a fundraiser for Tweeddale Rideability, the local Riding for the Disabled group based at Crookston Farm in Manor.

Many members from the group were able to demonstrate the benefits of horse riding, as they took part on a specially designed, short Hill Pony course.

Although there was a bit of anxiety at first, soon everyone was full of enthusiasm.

On crossing the burn one pony jumped but the young rider sat firmly in the saddle (she rightly earned a medal).

Carrying a bucket through sheep pens was awkward and picking an egg out of a ‘nest’ needed clever fingers.

There was plenty of laughter, especially while putting the hat on the scarecrow - one pony decided to have a snack and grabbed a mouthful of the scarecrow’s hair!

Organiser, Claire Garnett said: “All the planning and setting up was worth every minute, as the riders had such fun and enjoyed learning new skills.

"Trying new things in a new place was a real challenge but the smiles and laughter told it all.”

Throughout the day the RDA ladies ran a café in Manor Hall to boost funds.

Claire added: "It was a wonderful day, which ended with presentation of beautiful rosettes sponsored by Harbro Country Stores- very much appreciated."

Adi Kay from Selkirk took home the shield for best Highland Pony with Evelyn Hardie of Peebles winning the Novice trophy.

Carol Allison from Hawick won the non-Highland class, with Eve Hume of Peebles taking the novice medal.

Winners of the best pair was Chloe Howden and Lynda Mays from St Boswells.

The RDA class was won by Alexander Clark and the junior trophy went to Iona Tinlin.

Best Rider medal was awarded to Ellie Hill.