A disabled showing rider has realised her dream of qualifying to compete in able-bodied competition at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).
It was the first-ever attempt at a SEIB Search For A Star (SFAS) qualifier for Chesterfield-based former probation officer Sam Moss, who took on a strong show hunter class at Osbaldeston recently, partnering her beloved Irish Draught gelding, Frenchfort Mikey (Flynn).
To her amazement, she finished second, taking a coveted HOYS ticket. The result is all the more special as Sam suffers from scoliosis of the spine and severe congenital leg problems. She was badly affected by ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) after contracting psittacosis from a pet parrot, and then was severely injured in a car accident six years ago, which led to ongoing balance and confidence issues. These forced her to give up her career in the probation service.
She bought Flynn as a three-year-old and with help from a friend, broke him in herself. The pair have contested ridden classes at local shows while other friends show Flynn in-hand and hack him out.
“I’d dreamt of doing Search For A Star since I first bought Flynn, but never really thought it would happen,” said Sam, who has also rescued more than 40 horses and ponies from the meat market over the last 20 years. “Due to my health problems, he had five months off as a five-year-old and six months off the following year – I was worried he wouldn’t be as well schooled as some of the other horses.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with him – he’s my horse of a lifetime. He’s such a gentleman and really looks after me – so much so that I’ve now bought his three-year-old full-brother.
“This result has given me a massive self-esteem boost, but I have to keep pinching myself – I can’t believe I will be riding at Horse of the Year Show.
“I also hope it might inspire other disabled riders to have a go too.”
SEIB marketing manager Nicolina Mackenzie commented: “It’s an absolute triumph for Sam to qualify for HOYS, and it does show that if you put your mind to it, dreams really can come true – especially with the help of SEIB.”