Experiencing a second day of incessant rain reminded me that you have to be careful about your wishes, especially when it comes to the weather.

It seems no time since we were complaining about very high summer temperatures – and now it’s back to the wet weather gear. However, the grass has started to grow again and the going is getting marginally better at this stage, with scope for much improvement for the late summer and autumn events.

Full marks to the ground staff at the major show grounds who have worked extremely hard to provide good going for competitors. It was a comment I heard from exhibitors at the Scottish Horse Show in mid-July, who had made the long trip to Ingliston from the south in preference to nearer venues, because word was out that the main ring had been watered.

A month later at the Royal Three Counties Showground, at Malvern, judging by the contrast of brown grass outside to the green inside the rings, there had been much done to compensate for the lack of rain.

It was during my annual trip to the Royal Welsh Show that I had first hand experience of the efforts made, where a verdant main ring was even interspersed with soggy patches in places.

Despite the high entry of Highlanders in the cattle ring at this year’s Royal Welsh, the main ring at Builth Wells lived up to all expectations, with a full programme of equestrian events but, interestingly, not show jumping.

The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery always draws the crowds, but so too does the inter-hunt relay race, which has to be the epitome of competitive fun with horses. After all, what other show in Britain manages to maintain a full house of spectators ringside until gone eight o’clock in the evening?

It is the obvious showcase for the Welsh breeds, which draws interest worldwide and competitors from continental Europe. None of the latter travelled further to compete than Gavin Ingram, whose parents run a well-known cattle dealing business, near Huntly.

Gavin’s Cromalegy Stud is steadily coming to the fore and at Builth Wells he achieved a life time best when his homebred Cromalegy PIMP not only won his class but also went on to be judged best yearling and reserve overall youngstock champion among the Welsh section Cs.

Then, just when he thought his week couldn’t get any better, he was similarly judged reserve overall youngstock champion in the Welsh part-bred section with the yearling filly, Deanburn Lafant. Co-owned with her breeder, Sherlene Murray, Lafant claims her Welsh ancestry from her Cob sire, Gems The Rat Pack, while her dam traces back to Sherlene’s Broastone Lavender, a former big winner under saddle round the rings in Scotland.

I noticed that Kirstine Douglas, from Dumfries, has also been regularly in the southern prize lists with her clients’ hunters, cobs and riding horses. With eight of them qualified for the Horse of the Year Show, she leads the field of professionals north of the border and rates among the best in Britain.

Beautifully produced and expertly ridden, it is no wonder but I’m sure she’d be the first to admit that success doesn’t come easily with travelling the long distances one of the biggest hurdles with which she has to deal.

It makes it remarkable then that Scottish families, the back bone of equestrianism in Scotland, trek south from time to time to compete with their horses and ponies and all the more remarkable that they make their mark when they do.

Equifest, based at the East of England Showground, at Peterborough, is arguably the most popular with families throughout the summer and has become a focus for those with aspirations not necessarily focused on HOYS.

Two families among others, who aspire to do well in both, include the Nicolls, from Ayrshire (headed by matriarch, Mary) and the Brashes, from Linlithgow, headed by grandparents, Tommy and Linda. Very well-known for many years round the Scottish show circuit, both families did themselves and Scotland proud when they triumphed at Equifest in some style by claiming several major championships.

For the Nicoll show team, grandson, Archie, took the M and M lead rein championship with the Exmoor, Anchor Gooseberry, while daughter, Zoe, rode Raemore Endeavour to head both the novice and intermediate show riding type sections.

Meanwhile, for the Brash family, it was daughter, Diane, who led by example when her middleweight hunter gelding, Remember Rossmore, stood reserve in the hunter section as well as supreme among the exhibits which are home produced. Her nieces, Kyra and Lexi, were kept out of mischief all week with a bucketful of rosettes won in a variety of classes with their Welsh gelding, Wellbank Gabriel, first and reserve champion in the ‘Tiny Tots’ first ridden section.

Family interests in equines extend well beyond Scotland as I recently found during a visit to Waxwing by Ayrshire-born Martha Kerr, now resident in the Basque Country of Northern Spain. Along with her Spanish husband and five children, she breeds Welsh ponies exclusively for their sports ability in either show jumping or dressage as there are very limited showing classes as we know them.

I met two of her children, Miren, who currently works as an engineer on a wind farm in Dumfries and her son, Ganitz, who some of you may recognise as yardsman at Craig Wilson’s livestock market in Ayr and Newton Stewart. Both share their mother’s love of ponies and, by all accounts so does their brother, who is a groom with one of Spain’s leading eventers and an aspiring breeder of sports horses in his won right.

Amidst many Welsh pony topics, our conversation invariably led to the Spanish economy, Brexit and the First Minister’s attitude to the EU pre independence and post Brexit; all were of particular interest coming from an exiled Scot. Re Brexit, Martha was the first person to raise the subject with me of the movement of equines throughout the Continent and the impending threat of quarantine, should no agreement be met during negotiations.

Needless to say the farmers among you and the majority of equestrians will fail to understand the importance of the issue, but for breeders like me and potential importers like Martha it could spell bad news.

It is encouraging that there is good news around, including entries for the Scottish NPS Championships, at Blair Castle International Horse Trials. Not only have they held up on last year, but they have improved.

In many ways, this has now become the ‘HOYS of the North’, however good entries round these major events belie the fact that elsewhere the story isn’t so good with many shows struggling for entries. As the season gradually comes to a close, we can only hope that not too many of them fall by the wayside due to dwindling support.