Photos by smrphotos.co.uk
The 2011 South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship qualifiers continued at Vale View Equestrian Centre, Leicestershire, attracting entries from far and wide to compete for the chance to attend The Horse Of The Year Show finals, held at the NEC Birmingham in October.
Judges, Richard Ramsay (conformation) and David Ingle (ride), judged the Riding Horse/Hack, Cob, Ponies, Riding Club Show Horse, Show and Working Hunters, assisted by ride judges Matthew Maher Burns and probationary judge, Faye Hesketh. “This competition gives amateurs the chance to compete at HOYS, a dream which many riders would love to realise. There was a positive yet competitive atmosphere in all of the classes and the standard of horses and turnout was excellent”, commented Richard.
A strong class saw 10 entries tackle a bold course, with 7 brought back for final judging and the judges decided to award 3 HOYS tickets. First place went to Bulgari, owned and ridden by Lucy Turner from Shropshire. Bulgari was bred by the late Ingrid Christadoulou, by her stallion, Schenkendorf, a grade B show jumper. Lucy used to take horses from Ingrid that were not suited to show jumping, to bring them on as eventers. She has had the 8-year-old grey gelding since he was 4 years old. The pair have qualified for the prestigious Badminton Grassroots final in eventing but turned to working hunter classes as the ground got hard in the spring. This proved a successful plan and the pair won and went champion at Burwarton and won the novice workers and stood reserve champion to top working hunter producer, Louise Bell, at Stafford County. “Several judges have suggested we take this seriously and try to qualify, so I rang up to get a late entry for SFAS. I thought it would be really nice to see what these top judges think of him!” enthused Lucy, 37, who was delighted with her win. Lucy looks after hunt horses at her hunter livery yard during the winter, so normally her own horses get turned out for a holiday in September. “I will have to keep him up now and work hard on getting prepared for HOYS!” she said.
Sallyann Needham from Chesterfield, Derbyshire, took second place with her own Waroussia. This 8-year-old grey mare competed in show-jumping as a 4 year old, finishing 3rd in the BSJA 4yo finals. She was then put in foal and remained a broodmare until Sallyann bought her last October to resume show-jumping. Sallyann needed an operation in January and it was only after this that the pair started to compete again, collecting wins in show jumping at Ashby and Market Bosworth Shows in the 1.5m Amateur class. “I have wanted to ride at HOYS since I was a little girl but it is something I could not do in show jumping as I only compete as an amateur. The only way to fulfil my dream was to start doing some showing and someone suggested I have a go at Search For A Star”, she said. In preparation for the qualifier at Vale View they have competed at some local shows, finishing 2nd in the Working Hunter at Bakewell Riding Club Show, 2nd in the Sport Horse class at Bakewell Show and 5th at Ashover in a Working Hunter class. “This is our first attempt at Search For A Star”, said Sallyann, who had hoped to do an earlier qualifier but her horse’s passport had to be sent back to the Dutch KWPN passport- issuing office for the ownership details to be verified and over-stamped in order to be eligible for the qualifier. Sallyann, 37, is a farmer’s wife and keeps her own horses and a couple of liveries “to help pay my entry fees”. She now plans to do lots of practice to prepare for the atmosphere that they will meet at HOYS.
Third place went to the 8-year-old gelding, Kevin P, owned by Victoria Parry and ridden by Jake Fowles. Kevin was bred by the late Alex Pimbley as a hunter and, having had a job working for the breeders when he was 16, Jake has known the horse since he was born. When the horse came up for sale as a 3 year old, he was bought by Victoria and Jake has ridden him since. They regularly hunt with the Grove and Rufford and have done some show jumping and dressage. “He is a pleasure to ride and is just how he looks – honest and genuine, an absolute dude. This is only his third showing show but he just took it in his stride – he always just gets on with his job”, Jake explained. “He is so versatile, he was a member of the Nottinghamshire area show jumping team recently, but he is most at home in the hunting field”, said Jake, 23, who is reading architecture at Nottingham Trent University. Sadly, Victoria plans to sell Kevin but Jake hopes that he will be able to ride him at HOYS.
Third place went to Blinkbonny Prince Harry, owned and ridden by Tessa Nelson who bred the 6-year-old coloured gelding. “We qualified last year but he went lame and we could not go to the finals”, explained Tessa, 50, from Malton. The pair have been doing well so far this year, qualifying for and competing at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, which was a “great experience” but also means that this is the last year they will be eligible for SFAS. “I have always wanted to ride at HOYS. It has been a long time coming but it is very special to do it on a horse I have bred myself. I still have his dam and could try to breed another, but I will never get another like him”, she said. Harry is quite a character at home, getting himself into various scrapes and jumping out of the field, “but we love him, he is safe and he gives the best ride ever. My aim has always been to show. We did the Burghley Young Event horse as a 4- and 5-year-old but he is not built to be an eventer – he would not be quick enough and more to the point, I am not brave enough!” said Tessa. The horse was successful as a 2 year old standing supreme champion at the CHAPS National championships and was also national coloured in hand champion of 2007.
First place went to Maximus VIII, owned and ridden by Helen Semple of Newark. Helen bought the 7 year old just over a year ago with the intention of competing in small hunter classes. The pair have already formed a good partnership, finishing 3rd at Rutland County Show and 3rd at Lincolnshire County Show and qualifying for the Royal International Horse Show. “This is the first SFAS class we have done”, said Helen, 40, who, as a teenager, used to volunteer to groom for the well-known Toulson showing family. “Ever since I was allowed to lead round one of their show horses at Wembley, I have wanted to ride at HOYS, it has been a life-long ambition”, she enthused. Maximus is very laid-back and is unlikely to be fazed by the atmosphere at HOYS. “I will be the one who is a bag of nerves”, laughed Helen, who has two horses and fits in looking after them with running an IT business with her husband.
Second place went to Argument H, stable name Arnie, owned by Kay Norrington and ridden by Louise Bayrem. Kay, who has owned the 12-year-old for a year, explained, “He has always show jumped, but he is now having a change of job because showing is what I am interested in”. Louise looks after Kay’s two horses and has also done a bit of dressage with Arnie. “He is really cool and a gentleman,” says Louise. The pair were 4th at Wellington SFAS and just missed out on qualification so decided to have another try. They plan to do more shows at Newbury and Romsey before heading to HOYS.
First place went to the show pony, Howetown Mazurka, stable name, Mazzy, owned by Susan Cunningham and ridden by Lucy Bailey of Preston, Lancashire. Second place went to show hunter pony, Lyndene Royal Affair, stable name Tino, ridden by 12-year-old Tessa Connor from Urmston, Manchester.
Another strong class with 27 entries and the judges decided to award 4 HOYS tickets. First place went to Kilindini, stable name Polo, owned and ridden by Catherine Jones of Andover.
Second place went to Bosley, stable name ‘Beau’, owned and ridden by Jane Laurie from Huddersfield. Jane has had the 10-year-old for 3 years and does a bit of everything, including XC, SJ and dressage. “I have finally got my dream. The miracle has happened today”, said an emotional Jane after the class, having attended 3 qualifiers and just missed out. “I got him to do prelim dressage, which he really enjoys and we have regular lessons. But I had only had him for 5 weeks when he got kicked in the field and had to be on box rest for 12 weeks”, explains Jane. £5,000 of vets’ fees later, she was told she could ride him out gently, but he was box fresh and Jane suffered a bad fall, breaking 2 bones in her back. “I was in hospital for 2 days and could not ride for 8 weeks. I even thought of giving up, but we have worked together and now I think we have bonded as a team”, she explained. After a lot of perseverance, Jane got her confidence back. “Now he trusts me and I trust him – it is a lovely partnership”, she said. Jane went to HOYS to watch a couple of years ago with a friend who had qualified her cob in SFAS. “It was such a wonderful atmosphere – I really wanted to do it, and so this is a dream. I am so excited – and ready for a glass of wine to celebrate!” said Jane, 48, who works full time in a local bar.
Third place went to Rachel Burgess, 24, riding the 7 year old ex-racehorse, Wotahandful. The mare had been in training with Mike Sowersby and had raced on the flat and in National Hunt races before Rachel bought her 2 years ago. They did very little for the first year as Rachel was still studying at University but this year the pair started showing and have already qualified for the Tattersalls/RoR final at Hickstead in 2012. They also compete in dressage and Rachel’s aim is to do eventing if the mare proves to be careful over jumps. “We have done 3 qualifiers, mainly in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class. David Bartram, one of the judges, encouraged us to keep trying and today we decided to have a go in the Riding Horse/Hack class. She will now have a bit of a break and be turned out in the field before getting ready for HOYS. She is very laid-back and I don’t think the atmosphere at HOYS will bother her at all”, said a delighted Rachel, who works as a vet for Aireworth Veterinary Practice in Keighley, Yorkshire.
First place went to Eli Clarke riding her own The Hammerman, from Widmerpool, Leicestershire. The 5-year-old gelding came from Ireland in April having hunted but done very little else. Eli found him through a friend, Kerry Ibbotson, who recommended she buy him. In preparation for their SFAS HOYS qualifier, the pair have done a few county shows and won the Lightweight cob class and stood reserve champion at Derby County Show and were second and qualified for the Royal International Horse Show at Newark & Notts. They planned to compete at the National Championships and the CHAPS Championships before HOYS. “It is our last chance to have a go at SFAS this year and it has been our aim to qualify, so this result is fab. Lucy Carvell has helped me all the way and I am so thankful for her help and support. I am sure he will cope fine with the atmosphere at HOYS”, said Eli, who works in IT sales. They plan to do some hound exercise and hunting over the winter and then contest open show classes next year.
Second place went to Hayley Shippey, of Wisbech, riding her own General George. Hayley has owned the 6 year old George for 18 months, having spotted him at a traveller’s site at the side of the road. “He was skinny and had a long mane and tail and I just felt sorry for him. I made them an offer and bought him”, she said. Since then the pair have done pleasure rides and a bit of jumping for fun and hope to go hunting this coming season. “We thought we would have a go at showing. I have watched SFAS and always loved the idea of going to HOYS, so our aim was to do SFAS this year”, said Hayley.
Third place went to Susie Waterfall riding her own Ashcroft Jay. “J-Boy” as he is known at home, is an 8-year-old skewbald gelding and Suzie has owned him for 2 years. “I used to have a dressage horse, but after I had my little boy I wanted a less sporty model and opted for a cob. I wanted to do showing and this is our first serious year competing”, explained Susie. Their first season has proved successful so far, having qualified for the Coloured Horse And Pony Society (CHAPS) Championships, the Northern Counties Pony Association (NCPA) Pony of the Year Championship and Equifest. “The highlight is definitely qualifying for HOYS. I have always wanted to do this but never thought it would really be possible. I am really chuffed, especially as he lives at home on the farm, around the cows – he is not a posh horse and I have to juggle him with doing everything else. But he fits in perfectly and I have a lot of fun with him”, says Susie, who fits in doing her horse, looking after her 3 year old son, Harry, and working full time as Retail Operations Manager for Cornwell’s Chemist Group in the Midlands. Susie, 40, and J-Boy will attend the Search For A Star training day and a BSPA training day before their appearance in Birmingham. “I will be getting out as much as possible to get as much indoor show exposure as possible before we head to HOYS”. Then they plan to do some unaffiliated dressage and fun rides over the winter before next season.
Racehorse to Riding Horse
The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Horse qualifiers continued to prove popular as the biggest class of the day with 39 entries. The class was split for the preliminary judging, giving the judges David Ingle (conformation) and Richard Mills (ride) plenty to do. When the top 6 returned for the final placing, first went to Giggles O’Shea, ridden by 15-year-old Jack Bowlby, and owned by Greg and Mia Bone, who also owned Ironman Muldoon, winner of the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship in 2009. “I am hoping to do some open and intermediate small riding horse classes next”, said Jack, who is a student from Lambourn.
Second place went to Cate Preston’s Star Structure, ridden by Bridget Enstone of Hadley, Suffolk. This bay gelding by Saddler’s Wells was with event rider, Mark Todd. “He called me to say he did not think it was going to make an eventer, but it was very handsome and would I like to have a look”, said Cate. She liked what she saw and sent him to Bridget to produce as a show horse. “I am delighted to have something by the renowned stallion, Saddler’s Wells, who died this year, so it will be great to represent him at HOYS” said Cate. Having owned him for just a few months, this was the horse’s first ever show. “We were not sure if he was ready but as he has such a good temperament we thought we could risk it. We plan to do large riding horse classes with him next year but he needs to build up for that, so we will just do some dressage and bits and pieces to keep him going. He has such a good temperament, he is not bothered by clapping and noise so we will just keep socialising him in preparation for HOYS”, explained Cate, from Roxwell, Essex.
Judge, Richard Mills, said “The standard just gets better and people are producing them well”.
The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship qualifiers take place alongside the SEIB Search For A Star series, but the ex-racehorse classes are open to any owner, rider and producer. The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship, which is supported by the charity, Retraining of Racehorses, was initiated by South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) to help ex racehorses when they come out of training and help to recognise their abilities in the show ring. Horses need to have been in training with a recognised trainer and have raced to be eligible for these classes, which provide an opportunity to qualify for the prestigious HOYS finals.
The South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship and Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, 4th – 9th October 2011, at NEC, Birmingham.
For more information, visit www.search4astar.org.uk or www.racehorse2ridinghorse.co.uk