The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches will this year commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. In partnership with leading veterans’ charity Poppyscotland, over 300 riders led by the Edinburgh Captain, Captains Lass and the First and Second Officers will inspect the city boundaries emblazoned with poppys on their saddlecloths. At the conclusion of the ride, a minute silence will be held at the Mercat Cross and wreath laid at the war memorial at the City Chambers.
The Edinburgh Riding of the Marches takes place on Sunday 7 September 2014 and will involve representatives from the 30 riding towns of Scotland from as far afield as Shetland in the north to Annan in the south. The event attracts around 15,000 spectators throughout the city.
The contribution to the First World War by horsemen and horses alike was profound. In the region of 6,000 horsemen lost their lives in cavalry attacks and a further 16,000 were injured. A total of 1 million horses were sent to the front with only 65,000 returning to Britain. To this day, horses are still used within the military in ceremonial parades and in the rehabilitation of ex-servicemen.
Newly elected Edinburgh Captain Stuart Mitchell said “In this the 100th year since the outbreak of the First World War, it is extremely important that we mark the contribution to the war effort by horsemen and their mounts and we are honoured to remember them at this years annual Riding of the Marches. We hope that the people of Edinburgh will be able join us as we mark this solemn occasion”
The Riding of the Marches commemorates the tradition of inspecting the city’s boundaries first recorded in 1579, although the tradition is likely to have been carried out for centuries before. In times of peace after the Union of Parliaments in 1707, the annual inspection ceased until 1946 when a ride was held to celebrate peace after the Second World War. It returned in 2009 and has grown into one of the city’s major annual events.
Further information can be found at www.edinburghridingthemarches.co.uk