Pony Boy / Girl

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A career as a Pony Boy / Girl

Highland ponies, known as garron, are very traditional in Scottish shoot activities and used for carrying provisions for a day of stalking and to carry shot deer (quarry) down from the hill to the larder. The Highland hill ponies are sure-footed, steady and able to cover areas of the hill where motorised transport cannot.

Pony Boys/Girls support the Pony Ghillies in the care of the garron, maintaining stables and equipment and making sure they have plenty of food and water.

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You’ll need:

  • a genuine interest in ponies and their welfare needs

  • physical skills such as mobility and co-ordination, and a good level of fitness and stamina

  • good teamworking skills and customer service skills

  • to take and follow instruction from senior team members

  • to understand the health and safety considerations of working around ponies

  • some knowledge of the Scottish Highlands and its game and wildlife

You might take short courses in equine care and behaviours.

Typical salaries
range from
Typical Hours

Around 40 per week - many roles are seasonal for the duration of the hunting period and may require some evening, weekend, and bank holiday work. There may be opportunities for full-time and part-time working, or combining the role others on the estate.

Day to Day
  • Care, grooming and management of ponies and equipment during your working hours

  • Clean and prepare stables and yard including tack room, feed room and barn

  • Monitor conditions of ponies in your care, identifying any changes in behaviour and reporting to the Pony Ghillie or Groom

  • Preparing ponies for stalking activities

  • Assist with guest hospitality

  • Support guests on the shoot

Working Environment

Pony Boys/Girls work under some challenging conditions and can be expected to work some unsociable hours and will be outdoors in all weathers.

Training Available

Training is an essential part of any job, giving you the skills and knowledge you need to do your job safely and correctly. It also helps to strengthen your current skill set and prepares you for the next stage in your career.


Apprenticeships help you build the experience and skills that employers want to see. No matter what stage you’re at, they’ll help set you up for a bright future. There are lots of ways to get involved.

Pony Boy / Girl opportunities and careers paths

If you are working with a smaller organisation, you may have to move to find promotion. With experience, you could move into a Pony Ghillie role or one with more gamekeeping responsibilities on the estate.


Pony Boy / Girl will usually work in one of the following industries. Click below to find out more about possible career paths.

Wildlife Management

Careers in wildlife management are flexible, varied and play a key role in management of the countryside.

Careers in wildlife management provide opportunity to manage the pressures that are placed in land and our wildlife. This includes managing conflicting land use, protecting wildlife and sustainable land management.

To work in this industry, you need practical skills, knowledge of the countryside and its wildlife, as well as an ability to work well with people.

If you can use your initiative, take responsibility and are prepared to work hard, this could be an incredibly rewarding career for you.

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Qualifications for a Pony Boy / Girl

These courses are perfect if you are starting out on your career but they are also great for people already in jobs who want to improve their skills.

To find out more about qualification levels in the Republic of Ireland, please visit National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland (NFQIE)

To find out more about qualification levels in Scotland please visit Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

Select level
Title Level
Training for a Pony Boy / Girl

These courses are perfect if you are starting out on your career but they are also great for people already in jobs who want to improve their skills.

About Apprenticeships

Work, earn and learn

Whether you’re just starting out in the workplace, want to upskill or are considering changing direction, Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to build your career. Apprenticeships combine work with on-the-job training, so if you want to earn as you learn, there’s an apprenticeship out there for you – you can even start an apprenticeship if you already have a degree.

Apprenticeships for a career as an Pony Boy / Girl

All about Apprenticeships

Work, earn and learn – no matter where you are in your career, an apprenticeship can set you up for a bright future.

Let’s get started!

Want to take on an apprentice? Employers start here.

What is an Apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a unique blend of work experience and study to help build the skills and knowledge you need for your career. Apprentices are employees – they have a contract, are paid and get the same benefits as everyone else. But the difference between an apprenticeship and a normal job is that apprentices are regularly released from work for training. Sometimes that’s a day a week, sometimes it’s for a longer block – it all depends on the job and the apprenticeship.

Apprentices work for all kinds of people at all kinds of stages in their lives. Most apprentices fall into one of three categories:

  • someone who is just starting their career
  • someone who already has a job and wants to move forward in their company
  • someone who already has a job and wants to retrain to make a career change.

Previously restricted to school leavers and young people, apprenticeships are now a dynamic way of retraining people of all ages - there’s no upper age limit. The minimum age to become an apprentice is 16 and candidates can’t be in full-time education.

Benefits of an Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships offer a unique combination of paid work and study. They’re an exciting option for anyone who wants to gain experience, upskill or change career while working.

They offer a chance to work, learn and earn:

  • workplace experience and skills development
  • a nationally recognised qualification
  • employee benefits and a wage
  • no student loans or tuition fees
  • contact with industry professionals.


Interested in becoming an apprentice? Search for current opportunities and apply here.

Find your apprenticeship

You can also check vacancies on employer websites or get in touch with your local careers service.

Apprenticeship Stories

What’s it like to work, earn and learn? Find out what apprentice life is really like.

Explore apprenticeship stories

Alternatives to Apprenticeships

Useful Information

Useful Links

British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC)
Find out more

Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT)
Find out more

British Deer Society (BDS)
Find out more

Scottish Gamekeepers Association
Find out more

The National Gamekeepers Organisation (NGO)
Find out more

Funding Options

Thinking about your finances is important when you're looking at courses and training - different types of funding support is available depending on what type of course you're interested in and where you are located. We recommend you contact the training provider for more information on course costs and financing, but here are some links to connect you to support available:

Skills Hub Scotland

Skills Hub Scotland is an online skill sharing marketplace creating new opportunities to learn and share skills. Wherever you are located - if you have a skill to share, or a skill to learn, Skills Hub Scotland can help.

Initially founded as a response to the Scottish Government’s CivTech 5 programme in 2020 and aiming to offer a platform for those in rural or remote locations, Skills Hub Scotland has been developed into an important sectoral resource. If you have a skill to share with others or are a training provider, list your workshop or course (all skills from all sectors are welcome). If you are a learner, use Skills Hub Scotland to search for and book a course!


STEM is an approach to learning and development that incorporates the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Learning in STEM connects to Education for Sustainable Development/Learning for Sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals – this helps learners to understand that STEM plays a vital role in finding solutions to real world issues or challenges such as protecting biodiversity and tackling climate change. There are multiple pathways into a land-based STEM career including apprenticeships, further and higher education. This means that a career in STEM is open to everyone!

STEM Learning is the largest provider of STEM education and careers support in the UK. Their STEM Ambassadors programme sees volunteers representing a vast range of STEM-related jobs work with young people to bring STEM subjects alive through real life experiences. They help to open the doors to a world of opportunities and possibilities which come from pursuing STEM subjects and careers. To become a STEM Ambassador, you can register via the STEM Learning website: https://www.stem.org.uk/stem-ambassadors/join-stem-ambassador-programme

Lantra have worked in collaboration with STEM Ambassadors in Scotland to create two specific UK-wide Ambassadors schemes - Forestry and Aquaculture. Through these schemes, we want to make sure that those working in forestry and aquaculture have the support materials they need to take part in STEM activities. To find out more and register for the schemes, please follow the links below:

Smart Futures helps young people in Ireland discover the STEM subjects and careers that might be right for them. Co-ordinated and managed by Science Foundation Ireland, their programme allows young people to connect with people that are working in STEM, the organisations they’re working in and what their interests and skills are.

Not sure what you want to do?

Why not take a look at the Industries Explorer as an introduction to the different areas you could work in.

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