Jethart galloped its way to Redeswire on Saturday, but would that have been the case all those years ago in 1575 were it not for our faithful animals?
That was the question Nigel Brown presented as he gave his address from the Redeswire Stane.
“The tales that the animals on these hills could tell,” he said.
“They have been the constant here over centuries of Border battles, thieving, plundering. Think of these hills on the 7th of July, 1575 – sheep and cattle quietly grazing, then all hell breaks loose. The sheep and cattle could run away, but the horses under Foster and Carmichael and his supporters couldn’t. They were thrust right into the middle of battle, and no one knows how many horses died that day.
“And thank goodness for Sir John Carmichael’s homing pigeon. If he hadn’t sent his pigeon back to Jed to get help, if that pigeon had gotten lost, they would never have heard ‘Jethart’s here, and we probably wouldn’t be here today.”
He continued: “It is hugely symbolic and totally appropriate that the Borders common riding festivities are centred on the horse.
“As you ride back tonight, have a word with your horse. Maybe his great great great grandfather was part of Jethart’s here.
“Today we rightly and proudly remember those who fought and those that gave their lives all those years ago – remember also their horses.”
Mr Brown told the callant: “You will remember this day for ever, like all callants before you and all those still to follow. Never forget your history.”
Nigel, who describes himself as an apprentice Borderer of 41 years, lives near Bowden with his partner Gilly Innes and is a proud supporters of the regions common ridings and festivals having previously given the oration at Melrose Festival two years ago.
He added; “Callant Irvine, you have riden here and led your supporters with courage and pride and proclaimed “Jethart’s Here!”