After a long and troubled year, show jumpers are finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel and some shows appearing on the horizon.

No one is completely sure, though, just how the next few months will work out regarding qualifiers, points, leagues and second rounds, especially with England, Wales and Scotland all having different lockdown exit strategies. But most are just grateful to just get going, with the juniors having a head start over the seniors.

The Lawson family, from Aberdeen, hit the ground running, with all their ponies immediately on form. Millie Lawson took over the ride on the 148cm Tyrone D in July, last year, and has taken this seven-year-old from 80cm up to Foxhunter classes but hit top form at Tillyoch, where they jumped three classes for three double clears and three red tickets.

Millie's 138cm Noahs Lady also earned her keep, collecting three firsts and two seconds at the same venue over a couple of shows, leaving stablemate, Jimdone, to collect some thirds and fourths, but rounding off with a win in a 1m section.

Her brother, Lewis, had a bit of a blip going into a double in his first class of the year on Toy Story III, which was caught on camera and took facebook by storm, but they've since come together to head a couple of classes jumping a super double clear in a 1.1m to win followed by a win in a 1.2m.

Taking it upon himself, but with the backing of show centres struggling to wipe their faces due to restricted travel amongst competitors, father David Lawson has successfully secured sponsorship for a few shows in the north, allowing juniors more chances to compete.

Travelling from her Croftgary Farm base, near Aberlour, 14-year-old Lucy Watson has a team of nice, novice ponies to produce having managed to persuade her father, James, to put in a fabulous outdoor arena this year to practice in.

Under the watchful eye of her mother, Lesley – no stranger to the show jumping ring herself – Lucy has been seen in the rosettes since she's been allowed to travel again.

Heading to Morris EC, she stood at the head of the line up in a Newcomers on the Connemara pony, Millparks Goldie, which is line bred four times to the Cuchulainn son, Coral Star. Described as 'sharp', they have taken their partnership slowly but hope for a good 2021 season.

Anna Black and the Scottish-bred Miami Sandyman had an incredible start to 2020 qualifying for the Highland show, the Winter JC Final and then the HOYS Foxhunter final.

They did make the JC Final at Hickstead, but the Foxhunter final was moved to Aintree instead due to HOYS being cancelled. Hopefully they will be in with another shout this year, having already started with a warm up win in a 1.1m at Tillyoch with Anna also riding Popacatapetal into second place.

The evergreen 21-year-old Razorlite III was almost unstoppable at the last few Tillyoch shows, where she and her young rider, Taylor McDaid, have never touched a pole. They finished five classes, with three firsts and two seconds and look to be forging a great partnership, having only been together since September, last year.

At 26, the 13hh Rosevale Silver Sonnet has changed career from being one of the best working hunter ponies in the country to now enjoying some show jumping teaching young Archie Nicoll, whose family is more familiar with and successful in the showing scene, the ropes in affiliated show jumping . They've already been placed in some 60 and 70cm classes, stepping up to 80cm this year.

Charlotte Gaw scored a double at Morris and Muirmill when her 138cm Keogans Boy headed a 90cm and a 1m, but Charlotte also has the ride Castletown Lady Ricardo to step her up to 148cm classes with their first outing resulting in a double clear.

Lady Ricardo's former rider, Emma McCornick, has been seen jumping senior classes south of the border with her new partner, Cottage Girl.

Emma's little sister, Ruby, took over the ride on the 148cm Spot The Okehurst from Ciara Miller, in July, last year and has recently won a 1.15m and a 1.1m at Muirmill EC.

Karen and Les Thomson are enjoying watching daughter, Annabel, start out in affiliated classes, producing her own pony in the shape of the lovely Welsh Thornberry Special Envoy, by Cadlanvalley Imperial and bred by Fiona Leadbitter. This pair has already jumped some good rounds, with a British Novice win under their belts.

Travelling from Penecuik to Muirmill EC, nine-year-old Jennifer McLeish scorched round to head a 70cm on her own Twilight Dancer, which she's also successful in the dressage arena with to score their 100th first place and another red rosette for the wall.

Seniors riders are still being advised to stay at home but a few sneaked off across the Border in search of competitions and had entries accepted allowing them to jump.

Alnwick Ford, near Lonframlington, in Northumberland, was a favourite, with Scottish riders filling the complete line up in a Foxhunter/1.2m, which was won by Edinburgh's Claire Leitch on her super Warhol Wulfselection, an earlier winner of a 1.15m at the same venue.

Second was Fraser Reed, on Fabiola, followed by Alana Hood, on Elody and Scherzinger, then Megan Morris on Let's Hope and Up To Date Showgirl.

Gary Ulke, recently back out competing after a long break, rode his own Orlando Van De Heffink-sired eight-year-old Zimon Proterras to win a British Novice ahead of Sandy McLean, on Graff Sunora.

Sandy was also second in a Newcomers on Ralph V and Kathleen Hamilton picked up a third in another Newcomers on her reliable Ohio VD Hunters.

Kelly Connor jumped some double clears on Louise Stewart's Lacara and Lesley Paton's Explosive going on to win the 1.3m Open on Mandy Haig's home-bred Grand Kannan.

Kelly then opted to head further south to South View, in Cheshire, where again she jumped some good rounds, adding a few new rides to her team. Gary Frew's Cool Berlin, Glamour Boy and the consistent Elo will keep this already busy rider on her toes, but are useful additions to her ever expanding string.

Lesmahagow's Alex Barr headed off to Northcote for his first show of 2021, with HBF Delta, Havall and Imperial HBF all jumping well but it was the nine-year-old Mandalay Bay which put in a strong performance to jump double clear for second place in a good 1.3m Open.