The week of dreams has finally come to an end for yet another year. The culmination of twelve months of qualifiers, second rounds, and travelling the length and breadth of the country for the elusive golden ticket all comes to a head at the Horse of The Year show held at the NEC, Birmingham.

Every rider wants to experience the buzz of riding through the curtains into one of the most atmospheric arenas in the country and this year quite a few Scots had won their way to doing so.

A strong contingent had qualified but as the date drew nearer one or two fell by the wayside due to rider injury, measurement issues and horses changing hands, red rosettes proved elusive for our show-jumpers yet they still featured in a few lineups.

Travelling from his home just outside Lesmahagow, rider and trainer Alex Barr had qualified for HOYS at the Highland show in the Grade C final when after having a quiet winter he steered Laura Garden’s Talkabout Me to win a very competitive class.

Laura didn’t make it to watch her homebred qualify that day but she did travel to Birmingham to watch and support at the finals. By the For Pleasure son Follow Me out of an It’s the Business dam, Talkabout Me has been produced by Alex from the very beginning. Described as an out-and-out trier this eleven-year-old mare appeared unphased by the atmosphere tackling one of the biggest tracks she’s seen to date with care and enthusiasm.

A fabulous clear saw them finish as runner-up on this occasion behind James Whitaker and Just Call Me Henry.

What a shame the League finals are held so early on Wednesday morning because their jump-offs are always crowd-pleasers.

Starting as one of the favourites was Ayrshire’s Lucy Stewart who has not long returned from two weeks at Hickstead where she and her amazing partner Cancun won two amateur championship classes and enjoyed every second of their lap of honour in this world-famous arena.

Lucy, who works full time for the family property business manages to find time to keep her yard of six horses ticking over whilst travelling around the country competing.

A former Horse Scotland development squad member Lucy has more recently enjoyed some training on her younger horse with James Smith.

The incredible Cancun, who has won over £32,000 with Lucy, is the most successful Silver League horse just now standing some two hundred points clear of the rest of the country at this present time.

A very uncharacteristic four faults denied them a win this time but with only three clears they slotted into a very creditable fourth place.

This pair then travelled onto Aintree to win another 1.20m before heading home.

Charley Hamilton has broken and produced the Scottish-bred Loretta Blue MFS herself and has really seen this scopey mare step up this year to win at the Royal Highland, jump some super rounds in the seven-year-old classes then finish in ninth in the Silver League Final.

Back at home, Charley has been scooping up some second-round qualifiers with her speedy Innishannon Red Squirrel who won both the 1.05 and 1.10 at her home base of Tillyoch EC.

Sandy McLean had a quiet HOYS by his usual standards but what a cracking season he has had. Recently crowned Horse Scotland Youth Performer of the Year Sandy, who has represented Great Britain abroad this year may have only finished ninth in the Senior Newcomers with Old Selui De Semilly but had just a couple of weeks earlier beaten some of the best in the country to win the ALX Grand Prix at Arena UK.

The big chestnut Gino F was his winning mount for this class having won the qualifier. Fifty started in the final with fourteen going against the clock. Utilising Gino F’s huge stride Sandy managed to cut an incredible second and a half off the time to stand in front of Robert Whitaker on Vermento, Adrian Speight with Millfield Baloney then a whole host of top riders such as Guy Williams, Helen Tredwell, Micheal Whitaker and Shane Breen.

Just for good measure Sandy also headed the Star of the Future Grand Prix at this same show with his HOYS-qualified Selui De Semilly.

Juniors were well represented in the Foxhunter final where it was the turn of Kirkcowan-based Charlotte Gaw to stand top of the Scots in sixth place.

Douglas Ewart High School pupil Charlotte is having her last year in juniors before she takes time out to concentrate on her studies with the aim of qualifying to become a vet.

Her mount, Clonberne Leam Pondi came to the family as a six-year-old from Ireland exactly two years to the day of their HOYS final and is by the internationally renowned Connemara stallion Dexter Leam Pondi out of a Moy Hazy Cove mare.

Having almost lost another pony from colic earlier in the year Charlotte was on the verge of giving up but thanks to ‘Dexter’ kept going to be rewarded with a clear four and a superb way to end her junior career.

Imogen Rome featured in the Fox and Newcomers lineups with Edern Ace who collected an eighth and a seventh respectively for two laps of honour under the spotlights.

Lucy Watson is another who will be leaving the junior ranks soon but will be sad to see her gorgeous Ohio Ross going to a new home. Only an eight-year-old their ninth place in the Fox is just a glimpse of what is to come from this pony who has been produced by Lucy from a novice.

Just one pole fell for Emily Coxon on yet another Connemara, Kilnacappagh Harry to see her bring another rosette home to Scotland from the junior Foxhunter.

Scottish Central Branch Champion at SNEC, Michael McColm rolled a pole or two in the Pony Show Jumper with Tobar King but it was the novice Legend SCAIS who gave him a ninth-placed rosette in the Newcomers.

Three young ladies who frequent the Scottish show jumping circuit also brought home some rosettes. One of the best all-around equestrians, Kirsty Aird not only won a 133cms WH, was placed in the Heavyweight Hunters, placed on a Highland but also bred a winner at the show.

Gillian Anderson qualified for the Working Hunter on the Scottish-bred JJs Prince Chaccomo jumping a foot-perfect round for eventual sixth place up against the very best working hunters in the land.

Claire Pearson just rolled one pole in the workers on her homebred Incontention in an otherwise easy round at this, her second appearance in the class.

Back to show jumping Fergal Holohan was in top form at Arena UK where amongst other results he won a thirty-seven starter Under 25 Grand Prix on the Dutch-bred eight-year-old Karima.

By Opium, this little mare tackled her first Area Trial with Fergal earlier in the season before heading to this show to jump the only double clear in the class.

William and Jackson Stewart are never far away no matter what venue they attend picking up a whole truckload of prizes from Arena UK including a win for Jackson in a 1.15 with a new ride, Amazon JD.

Will recently earned himself the title of Leading Rider at Morris EC’s charity show which was very well received by riders who enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere throughout with many saying they preferred it to a normal BS show.

Aimee Paxton may have missed out on HOYS but she picked up the titles of Scottish South West Junior Champion with Coppenagh Oliver Twist and Outdoor JC Champion with Eyre Dior Diva.

Kengarth Sally Anne gave Aimee a third title when scorching round the Scottish Scurry Championship at the very popular Scottish Horse of The Year show but then had to settle for runner up spot in the Junior Open Championship in which Lucy Capper jumped a quicker four-fault jump-off on Capability Brown.

Lucy’s little sister Amy rode the speedy little grey Dooneens Electric to win the Scottish Branch 11 & Unders at SNEC.

Trips south of the border have been paying off for Georgie Brown who won a Scottish Amateur 95cms then a 95cms second round at Muirmill on the evergreen eighteen-year-old Maxwell II.

Megan Cowan took on the ride on the massive Billy Jupiter four years ago but this year they have really been adding up some prize money having already picked up two second-round qualifications at Tillyoch followed by a win in the Scottish Amateur 1.05m at Muirmill.

Heading the Scottish Amateur 1.10mat Muirmill was Wigtownshire’s Emma McCornick on her very useful Kannan daughter Pops She Kan.