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Getting to know RHASS Directors: Tom Tennant

There is a lot more going on behind the scenes at the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland than you might think – and a large part of these activities are carried out by the dedicated team of Society directors.

Working across agriculture in rural Scotland, they lend a wealth of knowledge and diversity of experience to the decisions made at RHASS and by extension, the Royal Highland Show.

Tom Tennant is one of these well-kent faces, being Chief Steward of Heavy Horse at the Show and a regular in the Border Leicester, South Country Cheviot and Clydesdale rings.


Tell us about yourself  

“I was born in Lanark and brought up on the family farm, milking cows and breeding Clydesdale horses. After leaving school, I went to Auchincruive before coming home to help my father.

“I married my wife Marjory in 1985 and moved to our own place in the Scottish Borders in 1994. In the family we have two children, Gail and Andrew, their spouses, Iain and Julie and two granddaughters, Jenna and Sadie.

“We moved to the farm at Gilmanscleuch in 2009. It is 2000 acres and has 900 Cheviot Ewes, 300 Cheviot Mule Ewes, 60 Hill Cows 30 Border Leicester Ewes and too many Clydesdale horses!

“I have always bred Border Leicester sheep as a hobby, but in recent years it has become a bit of an obsession, with us winning the Section at last year’s Royal Highland Show!

“The family have shown Clydesdales at the Highland every year since it moved to Ingliston in 1960.”


How long have you been a RHASS Director, and what led you to becoming one?

“I have been a Director since 2017 and Chief Steward of Heavy Horse at the Show for four years now.

“Having attended the Show for so long, either exhibiting, taking part in Young Farmers Stock Judging, or just socialising, I felt I could bring my experiences to the robust decision make processes we have here at RHASS.

“Not all decisions are welcomed by members or stakeholders and as a Director, you take the good with the bad. However, we are all driven by the same purpose – to make the Show better and ensure the Society remains relevant to our industry.”


What decisions have you made recently on the RHASS board that will make the Show better? 

“Although we all have different roles and experiences, as a Board we are very much a team and try to do our best to enhance the experience for everyone as much as possible. We take on every piece of feedback, good and bad, to improve things for both visitors and exhibitors alike.

“To have the Clydesdale Horse display a few years ago was a huge draw and success, and with more exciting celebrations planned for this year we hope everyone will get involved once again to make it a Show to remember.

“The Shetland Pony Young Handlers class is another addition which has proven very popular, encouraging new entrants into the field.”


If you could change one thing about the Show, what would it be?   

“If I could change anything, it would be an even bigger show field with more space! That would solve a lot of our problems!”

What's your favourite animal that's ever been at the Show, doesn't have to be a winner?

“The Attonburn South Country Cheviot Ewe: Highland Queen winning the Sheep Inter-breed twice. I must mention our own family's Clydesdale Gelding, West Forth Solo, who won Champion Gelding five times.”


If you get time to relax, where do you do it?

At the Show I have no time to relax, the Heavy Horse team have classes every day, but it is nice to sit down at a kist party at night and have a beer with some of the exhibitors, talking through the day's events.”


Note for RHASS Members


As always, RHASS Members have priority access to the Royal Highland Show, with member access guaranteed. We are very grateful to our members for reserving their days at the Show last year and this will continue this year to help us in our planning and deployment of resources to ensure the Show is as efficient as possible. 

RHASS will be in touch with members in due course about reserving their days at the Show and ordering parking, discounted friends & family tickets and free tickets for children aged 15 and under.

Royal Highland Show launches 2024 tickets as gates close on a world-class event Harvest Thanksgiving for Scotland’s farmers to be held at St Giles Cathedral

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