PEEBLES showjumper Scott Brash was one of those named in the New Year’s Honours List.
The 27-year-old, who was competing in Belgium at the weekend, has been made an MBE.
His father, Stanley, said: “We’re delighted. Scott always had a talent. He did the basics at pony club. Then we started pony club games which was very exciting for a boy and he got into the team. Next came a bit of showjumping and he decided he liked it better.
“It’s just what naturally comes to him. Any time he sat on a pony he always looked right and going into a jump he could always see a stride, from he was about eight or nine years old.
“We’re all very proud of him.”
The Olympic gold medallist is Scotland’s number one showjumper, ranked fourth in Britain and 26th in the world.
Scott became the first rider from the Borders to compete at the Olympics since eventer Ian Stark won his fourth silver medal in the team eventing at Sydney in 2000.
And then he became the first Borderer to win a gold medal in the modern Olympic era after a dramatic jump off between GB and the Netherlands at the London Games. In doing so, he and the rest of the team – Nick Skelton, Ben Maher, Peter Charles – scooped Britain’s first Olympic show jumping gold in 60 years.
He told us then: “I’m absolutely thrilled with my medal and the success of the British equestrian team as a whole, and if it boosts our sport both within the Borders and further afield then it’s all the more to the good.
“I’ve been keeping in touch with people back at home and think the reaction this medal has created is amazing. I would like to thank everyone up there for their support and good wishes throughout the competition.”
He was riding Hello Sanctos, owned by Lady Pauline Harris and Lady Pauline Kirkham, who he’d only partnered since late last year.
This year also brought wins in America, where Scott was based for three months at the start of the year, Italy, France, Germany, Belgium and at the Horse of the Year Show.
Scott started riding at the age of seven when he was given his first pony. He went to his first show aged nine and started jumping at 10 when he was a member of the Peeblesshire Branch of the Pony Club.
Based just outside Peebles, the 27-year-old has his own yard where he breeds and trains his horses supported by father Stanley and sister Lea.
The former Newlands Primary and Peebles High School pupil told us earlier this year: “I still enjoy riding around Peebles during my time there. It’s fantastic countryside with great hacking for the horses.” He was awarded the Tweeddale Sports Council’s Personality of the Year award last year when he told TheSouthern: “Everything has happened so quickly and each year has just got better and better for me. When I think about the fact that I only got the ride on Sanctos at the end of last year and the way we have bonded along with the confidence I have in him, it’s quite remarkable.
“I remember watching the Olympics four years ago and never thought that I would be in the position I’m in today.”
The showjumper has been described as a dedicated, focused, talented and highly skilful rider.
In April John Ledingham, young rider’s coach for Scotland, said: “You can’t teach people to have natural talent, you can only refine it. Scott has real instinct and intuition for horses. He is most definitely a star of the future.”
The Olympics proved he was correct.