As the year drew to a close so did one of Scotland’s top partnerships when Scott Brash and his team decided to retire the fantastic mare Ursula while she was still fit and at the top of her game.

By Ahorn and out of the homebred Papageno mare Paloma, Ursula was born at John and Mary Turnbull’s Ashton Stud in 2001 and entered the ring at British Novice level with Katie on board, then after a spell Mary took over before finally handing the reins to Mark who would produce the mare up the levels with appearances at HOYS and Olympia on route.

Just after winning in Hagan, Ursula was sold to Lord and Lady Harris and Lord and Lady Kirkham and the ride given to Tina Fletcher for a year before she found her way to Scott Brash. Together this pair dominated the world.

Second in the Aachen Grand Prix they then won in Calgary, Mexico and Doha before she took her final bow at Olympia finishing with just short of two million pounds worth of winnings.

Scott is hoping to breed from her, so fingers crossed for future Scottish bred and produced champions.

Another to bow out at the top is the gifted young rider Nicole Lockhead Anderson who now moves into senior classes but made sure she kept the ride on the phenomenal Gangnam Style right up until the last minute.

Starting out together in 2015 this pair has done everything from HOYS appearances, Highland show wins, Nations Cup and individual medals and wins at all major venues throughout the country and abroad.

Just a ten-year-old, Gangnam Style will now be on the market, he will be sadly missed finishing his career with Nicole with a win and a third place in the Grand Prix in Mechelen.

The week prior to this they had their last win on home turf when securing the Scottish Branch South East Championship at Blue Ridge over three years after their BS debut in British Novice at the same venue.

One young man who must be looking forward to 2019 will be Graham Babes who had an incredible year abroad with a team of younger horses topped by old favourite Boucheron.

Rounding off 2018 with a second in the 1.45m at Liverpool with Boucheron, Graham must be even more excited by their homebred Ecosse which moved up to 1.60m level to jump round comfortably and the top six now seven-year-old Ma Fleur JS who was in scorching form all year.

Another to have headed abroad at the end of the year with good results has been James Smith who set off from his base just outside Kirkcudbright to head to Lier, France, to win with the big grey, Simply Splendid, which he took over from Sammie Jo Coffin in July.

They then came home to win the opening class at Liverpool.

Stealing Nigel Springer’s Garfunkel, James returned four top five finishes in Opglabbeek and Lier in the young horse sections whilst also collecting a fourth in the Grand Prix with the huge grey Twix De La Roque.

Lochend Farm’s Fergal Holohan has been winning at Blue Ridge recently with the super 128cms Harri Potter which will now be up for sale, but they ended their partnership on a high with a good third place in the 128cms final at Liverpool.

A pole on the floor in the jump off saw Madelaine Archibald earn seventh place with My Little Sweetheart being handed down to younger sister Eleanor, who jumped two double clears at Muirmill for two red rosettes.

The Scottish Pony Parent Committee ran a very well received show at Blue Ridge offering superb prizes, rugs, rosettes and trophies and creating a great atmosphere from start to finish.

Pebbles Walker had an incredible day taking home two trophies and lots of prizes for her efforts.

A warm up win on her palomino, Peanuts, came before their first attempt at a 90cms class in which they went double clear to win again.

Pebbles then teamed up with Amy Morris to win the popular pairs class.

Just for good measure Pebbles and Peanuts also went on to fly round the Pony Winter Novice Championship Qualifier the following week at SNEC to pick up their ticket for the finals.

Jackson Stewart has taken over the reins of his brother William’s Billibob, and marked the start of their career together with a win in the 70cms class.

Duke of Buccleuch Hunt Pony Club member Daisy Scott Watson is a versatile young lady who has won at games, mountain and moorland and a wide variety of classes, but she dominated in the show jumping ring at Blue Ridge with her own coloured pony Who’s Zig Zag, scoring a double in the 70 and 80cms classes.

Amy Morris is enjoying the ride on the former Sandy McLean ride, Tobar King. They won an accumulator at the SPPC show and a restricted 148cms open at The Cabin recently.

Based outside Kirkcaldy, young Laila Seath is a force to be reckoned with now she has the ride on the former Peter Ashe pony Woodpark Pippa.

They have won red rosettes at every venue they have been to, including Rockrose, Blue Ridge, Morris, SNEC, the Scottish Equi Complex and most recently at the Cabin EC. This will be a partnership to watch as this year progresses.

The seniors were well catered for at Morris Equestrian’s Hogmanay show which offered classes from 80cms upwards and some novelty classes in the evenings as well as some fun New Year celebrations.

The stables were full and the entries high, with sixty in some sections making for a very busy few days.

Newcastle’s Holly Johnstone thoroughly enjoyed her week with the highlights being Lux Jazzy winning the 85cms Grand Prix, Gantico flying round to win a 95cms and Go Go Bantus heading a Newcomers.

Annabell Shields drove up from Durham to head two 1.30m sections on Creevagh Carisma and Gerona

Declan Irvine won two with Catho Z as well as plenty of placings on his team from novice to open sections.

Sandy McLean has settled into Johnathan Dixon’s yard riding a few horses over the weekend, but jumping the bigger classes very well with Coalition going onto to win at Aintree after this outing.

New Star Du Buisson Z was Karina Dunlop’s winning ride in the Mini Six Bar whilst Douglas Duffin gave the enthusiastic crowd something to cheer about clearing the very top of the wings on Lankas.

Staying for the duration, Alistair White gathered up his double clears for next year’s Amateur finals with Hanleen O Tess finishing with a fast win in the 1m Grand Prix.

Alistair went on to win again at SNEC the following weekend where Rachel Williamson scored a double.