The sun shone on the opening day of Land Rover Blair Castle Horse Trials which saw Thursday’s Highland Pony Silver Medal and Hunter shows take place over four arenas, attracting large crowds of spectators.

Taking top spot in the first class of the day the HOYS Highland Pony M and M Open qualifier was Mrs A Curle’s stallion, Harris of Mendick, a Dougal of Mendick-sired horse out of Clover of Mendick, which is no stranger to the top awards. Ridden by Brian Williams, the partnership has accumulated a number of titles this year, standing champion at The Royal Highland Show, champion at NPS area 25 and Royal International champion at BSPS Scotland. The pair will finish their season at HOYS.

Topping this year's strong in-hand section was Shona Halford’s Katrina of Strathmore, another well known winning combo. The Strathmore Clova-sired mare was recently champion of champions at Sutherland Show, reserve supreme at Black Isle and supreme champion at Grantown.

Lockerbie-based Gillian McMurray claimed the overall Highland ridden championship with her own home-bred Trailtrow Tearlach. The grandson of Rummlegairie of Trailtrow, which is a former Blair Castle winner for Gillian, stood novice champion before being pulled forward as the overall ridden champion – a special win for Gillian who used to work at Blair with the ponies in her summer holidays in the 1970’s.

Securing the working hunter championship in his first season in the ring was the five-year-old Lurgan Duncan, owned by Sarah Griffiths. This win comes on the back to some success at the Highland Pony Breed Show.

The Working Highlands were won by Alex Matheson and his own Scaraben Monarch. The 17-year-old stag and hind gelding, bred by Augusta Hutt, now turns his hoof to any job, with a busy Blair showing in the in-hand section as well as the novice ridden with jockey, Maisie Richard.

LEADING awards

In-hand – Four years old and over, competing in other sections – 1 and champion, Katrina of Strathmore (S Halford and B Grigor); 2 and reserve, Bowmore Lady Laura (J Bonar) 3, Spindrift Of Caimbe (M Beattie). Senior gelding, seven years old and over – 1, Lochlands Prince Tamino (A Owen-Walker); 2, Dunedin McSporran; (C Grant) 3, Bowmore Ben Cruchan (J and J Bonar). Junior gelding four, five or six years old – 1, Strathmore Solitaire (N Cant); 2, Orkneyinga Norsman (J and J Bonar); 3, Fingal Of Achnacarry (S-J Bowers). Stallion or colt, two years old and over – 1, Trailtrow Tearlach (G McMurray); 2, Turin Hill Kyleakin (J McCormack). Yeld mare, four years old and over, not competing in other sections – 1, Moss-Side Winter Thyme (M MacDonald); 2, Silver Rose Of Roisbheinn (K Stretch); 3, Whitefield Queen Will O’ The Wisp S (A Woods). Brood mare shown with foal at foot, four years old and over – 1, Meagaidh Of Mullachbuie (C Lackie). Colt foal produce of mare in previous class by a licensed Highland stallion – Mullachbuie Maclaren (C Lackie). Filly or gelding three years old – 1, Loandhu Primrose (K Lawson and W Sinclair); 2, Trailtrow Gabhan (V Ruddick); 3, Fourmerk Highland Fling (J Alexander). Filly gelding, two years old – 1, Fflur of Over Langshaw (I Berguis); 2, Zamora Of Whitefield (M MacDonald). Colt, filly or gelding yearling – 1, Moss-Side Blaeberry (J Ralston); 2, 3, Marnon Wells Lismore (S Skea). Working Highland – 1, Scaraben Monarch (A Matheson); 2, Seamus of Forglen (F Menzies).

Working hunter – Novice class, Highland pony four years old and over not exceeding 148cm – 1, Lurgan Duncan (S Griffiths); 2, Trowan Patrick (K Richardson); 3, Morayelphin Folda (S Yeaman). Intermediate class, Highland pony four years old and over, not exceeding 148cm – 1, Westray Of Altra Caillech (H Gow); 2, Lurgan Duncan (J Spiers); 3, Carrick Lord Benbecula (J McCulloch). WHP championship – 1st and 2nd prize winners in classes 11, 12 and 12A eligible – Champion – Lurgan Duncan (J Spiers). Reserve – Westway of Altra Caillech (H Gow). Hoys Qualifier – NPS/Baileys Horse Feeds Highland pony open M and M qualifier – 1, Harris Of Mendick (A Curle); 2, Heather Jock of Fourmerk (J McNaught); 3, Ellister Islay Mariner (T Cornall-Howe).

Ridden classes – Nursery novice Highland pony four, five and six years old not exceeding 148cm – Islay Luchag of Croila (E Ormiston); 2, Trailtrow Gracie (J Coull); 3, Lurgan Drumorag (S Murray). Novice Highland pony, four years old and over, under 143cm – 1, Trailtrow Tearlach (G McMurray); 2, Corrybrough Rosie (C Lackie); 3, Strathmore Jubilee (Mr and Mrs A Munro). Novice Highland pony, four years old and over, 143cms-148cm – 1, Dunedin McSporran (C Grant); 2, Dunedin Mascot (J McNaught); 3, Jessicah Of Woodplaw (L Boyd). Novice ridden champion and overall ridden champion – Trailtrow Tearlach (G McMurray); reserve: Dunedin McSporran (C Grant). Open Highland pony, five years old under 143cm – 1, Margaret Of Meggernie (J Jack); 2, Braehillor King Duncan (N MacDonald); 3, Dunstruan Duichmhor (H Dick). Open Highland pony, five years old 143-148cm – 1, Heather Jock of Fourmerk (J McNaught); 2, Westray of Altanacailleoch (H Gow); 3, Tarquin Of Forglen (A Taylor). Open ridden champion champion and reserve overall ridden – Heather Jock of Fourmerk (J McNaught); reserve – Margaret of Meggernie (J Jack)