Traigh Mhor Pony Trekking, run by biology teacher Leigh Minion with help of her husband Gavin and daughter Kirsty Hart, had been a dream for many years.
And it was an inspection by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar in late August last year which passed the premises and business for public safety and for the welfare of the horses, allowing them to start living the dream.
At the time both Leigh and Kirsty had also recently gained certification as ride leaders from the Trekking and Riding Society for Scotland.
Leigh said then: "We have been really well-supported by the riding stables at Balivanich in Benbecula, who have given us training, encouragement, advice and moral support. I really think we wouldn't have been able to do it without them."
The croft is now home to a steadily growing number of horses and ponies - 18-year-old black cob mare Ginti is the 'schoolmistress' whjo last summer returned to Leigh after two years on the mainland, rejoining her old stablemates as if she had never been away.
Her companions are Oakie, a dun American quarter-horse – a utility breed with a good nature and stamina – and Six, a five-year-old gelding trained by Leigh and Kirsty and keen on jumping and dressage. “Six has a lovely gentle 'can do' attitude with just a touch of mischief. He loves exploring the beaches and tracks around Tolsta. Six is a bit of a dressage diva and likes to jump too.”
Then there’s Polaris who joined the team in November 2018. “He is a lovely grey, almost white Welsh Mountain Pony standing at 11hh. He loves cuddles and grooms and will stand all day long while you plait is very long mane.”
And Pepsi…”the smallest but member of our equine family. He is such a dude. Nothing bothers him and he will take the tiniest human around on his back all day long.”
Traigh Mhor trekking offers lessons, treks and slightly more demanding hacks. “We offer a number of different treks and hacks including on the moorland, sand dunes, beaches and around the village and common grazing, ranging from 40 mins to 2.5 hours for both children and adults. We can also offer flat and jumping riding lessons on our quiet croft for beginners, novices and intermediate level riders.”
And looking back, they add: “We had an incredibly busy Easter here at Traigh Mhor Pony Trekking with lots of beach rides, picnic rides, own a pony days and even an Easter Egg hunt.
“As we move through May and into summer, we also have lots of exciting things coming up including our first ever Gymkhana on the 8th of June.
“We also have our midsummer midnight rides down onto Traigh Mhor beach. Something not to be missed.
“Our summer visitors are beginning to arrive with lots of people from France, Germany and Canada riding down onto the famous golden sands of Traigh Mhor.
“We have also added a few more horses to the team too. Tigger is our 13.2hh schoolmaster who is amazing with everyone.
“Gwen arrived in February, and now that she is getting fitter she is not only beautiful but a lovely surefooted ride.
“Finally, perhaps the most exciting news of all. Traigh Mhor Pony Trekking has teamed up with Pony Axe S to bring about the most amazing opportunity for people with mobility issues. We are planning to get Simon and Obama upon August 10th.”
You can find out more about the routes, prices and booking from the
new website www.tolsta41.com