As we head to the end of another year the weather is starting to affect competitions and travelling but with the London International Horse Show still to come, the leagues restarted and are underway again, pony premiers and Highland show qualifiers are just around the corner there is still a lot to look forward to.

What a year it has been for Kirkcudbright’s James Smith(31) who has been on fire all season, mostly abroad riding for various owners culminating in a Nations Cup appearance in Vilamoura.

The Scottish Farmer: Millie Walker on Kira Bell winners of the SWS Pony MastersMillie Walker on Kira Bell winners of the SWS Pony Masters

Riding his own and Jim Wilmer’s up and coming stallion Tayvale Hunky Dory alongside Mark Edwards, Flying Tinker, Oliver Fletcher on Hello William, and Adrian Whiteway on Chacco Volo they finished on a zero score going head-to-head with Belgium in a jump off to secure their podium finish and gold medals.

Jim, a regular at the local shows where he loves to watch his horses winning at all levels, was there to support James enjoying the atmosphere and fabulous facilities at this venue and the resulting celebrations.

The Scottish Farmer: is Chloe Candlish on Blackjack winners of the 'Pick your own line deer'is Chloe Candlish on Blackjack winners of the 'Pick your own line deer'

Bred in Scotland by Wills Oakden by Balou De Rouet out of a Master Imp/Diamond Lad/Cruising mare the eleven-year-old Tayvale Hunky Dory evented with Wills up to intermediate with his last run round Burgham in 2021 a winning one. Given to Rachel Williamson in the summer he impressed over some bigger tracks before being sold to James and Jim. New to this level he looks an exciting prospect with plenty of scope being one of a few very useful rides James has had this year catapulting him into 96th place in the World Fei rankings and his partnership with Jim into the top one hundred owners list.

Another Scot to hit incredible form abroad is Nicole Lockhead Anderson who is currently based with Tom Williams and has an enviable stable full of horses to sit on. At the CSI3* Oliva in Spain, she has won her share of 1.45/1.50 classes on I Am A Harley and Christian Street as well as a whole string of youngsters always in the money.

The Scottish Farmer: Hazel Struthers winner of the HairiesHazel Struthers winner of the Hairies

Closer to home and a few, including Nicole, have qualified to compete at the London International Horse Show in December. The final big one of the year with an incredible, festive atmosphere although travelling through the ULEZ compliant city is proving a bit of a logistical nightmare for some.

Fraser Reed won his ticket to the Under 25s Championship final with a convincing win on Westbank Rio. A son of Riverland Roi out of a Douglas/ Zero Watt mare Westbank Rio, a fox hunter and Grade C HOYS finalist jumped two fabulous rounds at Arena UK to win the qualifier.

Joining him in the final will be Amy Morris who recorded the fastest time but with one pole on the floor on Up To Date Showgirl to slot into third place. Amy’s other ride Let’s Hope was also seen jumping a double clear in a strong B+C.

The Scottish Farmer: Millie Walker on Kira Bell winners of the SWS Pony MastersMillie Walker on Kira Bell winners of the SWS Pony Masters

Coylton based Fergal Holohan has been so consistent this year that he has now been accepted onto the HorseScotland performance pathway which will help support him throughout the year. Fergal has his own and his mother Fiona’s Kan Annie through to the finals.

Another qualified rider, Emma Crawford is no stranger to these big events and is on form ready for London having stood first and second at Morris EC in the Winter B+C. King Louie III was already in the lead when she entered last to go on Cliftons Adelaide so with nothing to lose she set off to try to beat her own time resulting in two RIHS tickets with her name on them for next year.

One of the strongest contenders will be Sandy McLean who heads to the LIHS with several good wins already under his belt at the Winter Classic shows with his ever-faithful star Gino F closely followed by 1.40m winner Zoey 12 and just to add to his horsepower he now rides some for Sussex based Matt Pike.

The Aintree Amateur and Veterans Finals is always a very popular show with a whole squad of Scots heading south to enjoy a week-long of jumping, fun, and hilarity rounding off their year of qualifiers.

Several earned podium finishes including Katherine McKellar on RJM Lucky Lad who was runner up in the 1.05m National Amateur Championship final.

Louisa Timmins on JJs Pollyanna stood on the third spot for the 95cms Championship final, Kirstie Boyd with Elle Clover collected a fifth in one final as well as several placings, Andrew Blackwood wasn’t far away with Copper V, Alistair White won a 90cms Veteran with his super Hanleen O Tess and Megan Cowan managed to find time in between moving home and starting up her transport business to steer Billy Jupiter into some line ups.

The Scottish Farmer: Winter has arrived but show jumping thrivesWinter has arrived but show jumping thrives

Pebbles Walker was always a threat in junior classes but has now moved onto horses where she’s taken over her sister’s Shannondale Flight to combine show jumping with eventing. Winning the BE90Ou18 at Savills Chillington Hall in September they collected a first and a second at SNEC show jumping recently.

Glasgow-based Scott Linford is known for finding nice horses with his latest, a nine-year-old BIg Star Jnr gelding Jupiter N looking one of the nicest yet. Grounded with a fractured elbow Scott has had to watch whilst friend Sean Hyslop takes over winning classes at Morris and Howe,

This pair was one of quite a few who enjoyed a training day held at Alex Barr’s Kypehall Stables near Lesmahagow. An unaffiliated day with a well-designed course of fences changed to heights to suit on good going with good facilities this was very well received by all levels of riders and will hopefully be a regular event from now on.

Graham Babes secured a trip to the Royal International 2024 when in a forty-starter Winter Novice at Morris EC he managed to record the second fastest time from a nineteen strong jump off with Philip Morris’ six-year-old Diamant De Semilly sired Hercule De La Villa.

Beating Graham to the red was a regular visitor to Morris, Annabel Shields on another six-year-old she’s only had the ride on for a few weeks B.E. Flygold.

Enjoying her first ever trip abroad to Opglabeek then Lichtenvoorde was Lucy Capper who earned some prize money on Capability Brown and Oscar Van De Beekerheide. The former is now heading to the London International with Lucy.

Little sister Amy will also make an appearance on Dooneens Electric in the 128cms section.

Others in form around the country have been Logan Crieghton with Calini winning a B+C at Arena UK, junior Gabriel Colquhoun winning twice with Snow IV at Morris then qualifying for the Blue Chip Pro Sparkle at SNEC and Elliana Prentice collecting winter first rounds with CB It Takes Two and Chacha Real Smooth.

South West Scotland show jumping sponsors Gala Night is always a hit with competitors and spectators with a range of fun classes run in an evening at Morris EC and the proceeds going towards adding classes to the Scottish calendar to try to encourage more into the sport,

Graham Babes had to put his foot to the floor on Mandy Haig’s John VDL to match his partner Alex Morrison’s speedy time set on board Freddie with this pair winning the first class of the evening, the Rudolph Relay.

Millie Walker jumped some immaculate rounds in the Pony Masters aka Frosty Mirror Challenge where the jumps are raised every round and the crowd really gets behind every rider. Her ride Kira Bell made it look easy winning them a rug and fancy rosette for their efforts.

The Hairies Grand National has been going for years now with a herd of hairy ponies being ridden bareback around the arena over small rustic fences as fast as possible usually resulting in some hilarious thrills and spills. Remaining unscathed, victorious, and probably very relieved this year was Hazel Struthers.

Chloe Candlish on Blackjack found the fastest route round the fences to head the Take Your Own Line Deer whilst Lois Tymon on Murphy stole the red in the Sleighbells Ring class with this packed evening raising yet more money to be put back into Scottish showjumping.