Based in Highland Perthshire are the unique and exciting equestrian stunt team - Riders of the Storm. Founded by Kirsty McWilliam, they started their displays in 2011 and now perform all over the country.

It all started when Kirsty was encouraged to try vaulting at the age of 10, by the age of 13 she was selected to represent Scotland and for the next five years represented both Scotland and GB individually and in teams. She was part of the first GB squad to ever come first at an international CVI at the age of 16. After leaving school Kirsty moved to England to work for one of Europe’s largest stunt teams before returning home to train horses and start up her own vaulting group - Pegasus Vaulting and stunt team - Riders of the Storm.

With increasing demand for displays and shows, Riders of the Storm performed their first display at Drymen show in 2011 and have since toured all over Scotland, Northern England and the Scottish Isles; tallying up around 15-20 shows each summer. Alongside the shows and displays the team also do equestrian theatre, an hour and a half scripted show, lecture demos to riding and pony clubs and battle re-enactments.

“We have re-enacted the soldiers of Killiecrankie every year, a group of our riders went out to Spain in April to re-enact the battle of Almansa and four horses and a group of riders headed to Sunderland to re-enact the battle of Sunderland in August,” explained Kirsty. “we now have a team of eight core performers with ten stand-by performers as well.”

The team train three hours a week for the shows with each vaulter doing a further five to ten hours a week of fitness work. Most of the vaulting team are relatively local, however, one member of the team comes from as far as Inverness.

“I love it when a kid I’m teaching gets a trick,” Kirsty enthused. “The excitement makes it all worthwhile.”

With a team of 15 horses on the yard ranging from 26-inch tall American miniature Shetlands to 17.3hh draught horses; there is a lot of diversity in the team, which has lent itself well to the TV and film work Riders of the Storm have been involved in. They most recently starring in the BBC documentary – ‘A Quest for Bannockburn’ and film ‘Boys in the Woods’ - due out in 2019.

“We have also been featured on BBC Landward, BBC ALBA and STV for various projects with our horses,” Kirsty continued. “I have also featured in TV blockbusters such as The Eagle, Centurion, The other Boleyn Girl, The Duchess, Maid of Honor and many others. We can provide film horses for every need, with various heights, colours and styles of horses available.”

Kirsty also provides lessons for vaulting, trick riding, jousting and horse boarding at her base near Killiecrankie and in the last three years added riding lessons, confidence lessons and riding holidays to the mix. She is based at home full-time and between teaching and being away at shows, she trains all the horses and does all the yard work with her mother Amanda, “All the horses are well-rounded, we take them to the beach, they go cross country, everything is kept interesting for them and they only do stunt training a maximum of three times a week,” Kirsty explained.

“My aim is to own our own equestrian facility with an indoor arena, theatre area and plenty of facilities,” Kirsty added, “but that costs a lot of money!”

“I couldn’t do any of what I do without my family and the team I have around me,” Kirsty concluded.