By Susan Cook

The weather is heating up now on the countdown to summer, the Highland show is just around the corner and riders are scattering off around the country at home and abroad chasing qualifiers.

Douglas Duffin started off in Germany at the end of May before heading to Italy. His team of horses have all been jumping well with Fiona Burgoyne’s Fan being the highest placed in her 1.20/1.30m classes and Hazel Hiram’s Linares BG tackling his first 1.50m Grand Prix for just one pole on the floor looking exciting.

James Smith spent eleven days in Valencia with his horses Twix De La Roque, Simply Splendid and Just Max competing for plenty of top six placings in 1.30-1.45 classes and For Ever tackling the 1.20s.

Coming home and swapping over it was The Black Flyer and Just Max who travelled onto Chepstow to compete for four days.

Stephen Lohoar headed off to Opglabeek to win a 1* 1.30m with Dino and also jump clear in a 1.40m with Delius F.

Fraser Reed had a good show at Chepstow with the Gatherum family’s Hitarco Versoe and have now earned themselves a place on the British junior team heading out to Austria.

Joining Fraser will be Nicole Lockhead Anderson who is now based just outside Melton Mowbray with Graham and Holly Smith. Nicole will partner their Im Special De Muze seven-year-old Manolito P her recent Pony of the Year Grand Prix winner.

Declan Irvine and Kelly Connor headed off to Weston Lawns with Declan having a great show winning a 1.40m on Fendiela, a foxhunter on Bishopton Utah and being placed with Dragon.

Kelly was flying with her handy Cleopatra in some 1.10ms but also had George SCAIS for the bigger classes. These two riders, both on the Horse Scotland performance squad now head off to France to compete.

Coylton’s Annaliese Aitken was in the money at Chepstow including a sixth place in the 1* gold with Eagele Z but she also has a new exciting partner in the shape of Frau Antje who looks easily capable of the 1.40m tracks she was jumping with Annaliese on board.This pair will be worth keeping an eye on as they get to know each other.

Shaunie Greig has only just returned from her team duty in Opglabeek but showed that she means business at home too when securing the first of her HOYS tickets onboard Teagan Arla Rose who jumped treble clear in a busy Newcomers second round.

This mare was also in the money in foxhunter classes adding her double clears for next year whilst stablemate Casino Royale finished fifth in his first Pony Showjumper this year.

Back at home and good to see competition on grass at Overton Farm for the Lanarkshire show courtesy of the Young family, Competitors gave this venue the thumbs up and although the weather could’ve been kinder to them the second day the generous prizes and fabulous hospitality made it so much better.

The RHS B+C qualifier fell into the grasp of Alistair Gatherum on his own Gerard Van Den Katten Eek. This partnership were fifth in last year’s Novice final at the Highland so will be ones to watch again this year.

Alistair travelled onto Nott County show to just have a pole in the HOYS Grade C Qualifier.

Chasing Alistair in the B+C was Strathavens Gillian Anderson on JJ’s Prince Chaccomo leaving PJ Williams sitting in third with Master Calvaro.

Ailsa Black travelled from Drem to win the RHS Novice qualifier on her flashy bay mare Endyana EH Z who will now join Ailsa’s other ride Zara Zing at the finals.

James Smith made a swift appearance to take second with The Movie Star with David Harland picking up the yellow on board Hes Our Harley.

Ayr show was also a success with the sun shining and the ground perfect. Such a pity this clashed with Richmond dragging some regulars off south. Those who did attend were treated to four qualifiers for the Highland show making for some excellent jumping.

Horse Scotland Performance squad member Graham Babes has been to Opglabeek then onto Mannheim before returning to win the big class at Morris the night before he stood top of the line in the Open Championship at Ayr with the only double clear on the grey Challenger which will see him get to put his name on the fabulous Ian Urquhart trophy.

Earlier in the day Graham had had more of a fight on his hands in the B+C when six combinations recorded double clears. Ma Fluer JS has really matured and gained fabulous mileage abroad so just ate the jump off for fun finishing two seconds clear of David Harland on Hes Our Harley and Trevor Nicholson on Hong Kong.

Local rider Elspeth Jamieson found the going to her liking with VIP Cooley stealing the RHS Novice qualifier ahead of PJ Williams on Master Calvaro and Anna Dunlop with A Stride of Gold.

Amy Ogilvie had a busy show being seen in the working hunter ring the previous day but she swapped back into her show jumping gear to ride Leandro VD Eikelboscherheide into top spot in the Airth Castle Classic qualifier.

Mike Smith is seen more frequently at this venue with a team of racehorses but rode his homebred Thornwood Vision into second in front of Hannah Aird on Perrota JX.

North at The Cabin EC three more went through in the RHS Novice qualifier which was won by Emma Crawford on her own seven-year-old Contender mare Finishing Touch.

Also qualifying were Declan Irvine on Dawn Ritchie’s Galantina and Georgina Campbell on Hope VI.

Kayleigh Spalding bagged her Young Masters ticket thanks to a good clear with Dolous in a 1.30m.

In the Scottish Champions League points table Megan Cowan is a clear leader in the 95cms section with her own nippy Tullycars Peek A Boo first and Helza Poppin in second having won at most venues so far.

In the 1.05m veterinary nurse Marion Brown is in first and third with Summer Solstice and Clarity split by Jodie Cairns on Gigolo.

In the 1.15m section Gabrielle Purvis is in the lead on Aghamore so far.

In the juniors Eleanor Archibald now has the choice between Pondhead Dexter and My Little Sweetheart for the Great Yorkshire show mini major after qualifying both at Area 15 show. The Archibald family now have a few ponies also qualified for the Highland and will have a very busy Sunday at the show.

A few riders travelled off to Arena UK where Jenna Ross was in the money on Rhona Henderson’s Glenlouie Jazzy Lady, Amy Morris was there or thereabouts on a few ponies and Abi Gladstone picked up a 9th place.

At The Cabin EC junior show Jackson Stewart won the 128cms qualifier on Billibob, Abigail Gladstone qualified Remote Controlled in second leaving already qualified Millie Lawson in third with Riverview Sandy.

Inn the 138cms it was the turn of Galston’s Aimee Mason to qualify Marshways Perfect Puzzle who won the class outright from Lewis Lawson on Mr JK.

Aimee had a great show also winning on her relatively new pony the former Kailee Benson ride Appache Brave.

Mya Roxburgh Caira is dominating the 148cms section just now but she also steered her MHS Kansas into the lead in the JD/JC beating Paige Wright on Mullate Duchess and Solo Wan Kenobi.

Paige had to settle for runner up spot twice when she found Ciara Miller on Going Platinum too quick in the Scottish outdoor JC Championship.

At Blue Ridge Sophie Paxton was a new qualifier in the 138cms on Chapelmill Choir. Sophie Wicks took Robe Silver Lay through in the JC/JD splitting first prize with the only other clear Will Stewart on Queen of Scots.

In the 148s Megan Morris was winning with Munsboro Silver Lining chased home by Rachel Proudley on Jet III and Family Affare II.

Fergal Holohan will have a shot at the 138cms finals this time on board Tyrebecca Fabian who stood in front of Erin McGee and Rockmount Renegade.

Freya Hiddleston was quickest home in the JC/JD on her own Krafty Kitten, Edin McCulloch rode the Scottish bred Drumore Tornedo a pony she has broken,produced herself since buying from its breeder Margaret Lambie and who has only been registered a year into second with Will Stewart third on the useful O C Dat Seamie.