We talk to showing producer and rider Sara Parrott about her coloured show horse Starlight and what makes her so special.
1 Tell us about your background in the showing world?
Myself and my partner Craig Elenor have a yard of show horses in North Yorkshire, most of whom we produce for clients although we do have a few of our own. These range from lead reins, show ponies, M&M’s to horses, youngstock and stallions.
2 How did you come to start riding Starlight?
One of my team Katie Ramsden who worked for me four years ago said she thought she knew a horse I might like. She showed me a video of Starlight, known as Queenie at home and I liked her straight away.
After watching her trot up in hand on the road in the video, Craig and I went to see her that afternoon and as soon as we walked in the yard and saw her we knew we had to have her. A client at the time who is now a good friend, Flick Haigh, said that she would buy her for me to show.
She was very raw when we bought her, but she has really blossomed over the years. When Flick gave up the show horses two years ago she gave me the opportunity to buy her, which we did. I could never imagine her being on another yard so she will stay with us here forever.
3 Tell us about her character.
She is a 16hh, Native Coloured mare and is now nine-years-old. Her stable name really suits her perfectly as she is definitely the queen of the yard. She can be hot at times but has a heart of gold, loves children and is the perfect nanny for the foals.
4 What makes her special?
Queenie just has that star quality we look for in a show horse, she loves to perform. To ride she’s like a plaited horses, she’s so light on her feet and powerful, she’s super spooky at home yet the moment she steps in the ring she’s into best behaviour mode. She’s stands like a rock at the biggest shows yet is ready to turn it on when you ask.
5 What is her weekly routine?
Queenie’s routine is very basic, she likes to be in the field as much as possible, summer time she’s out at night and vice versa in the winter. As long as she gets her breakfast and dinner she’s happy! As she’s mine she’s last on the list to ride, so she gets ridden as and when we have time – she’s no different if you ride her every day or give her a week off.
6 What do you feed her?
She has two feeds a day, TopSpec Comprehensive Feed Balancer, TopSpec UlsaKind Cubes, TopChop Lite and TopSpec Calmer. She has haylage when she is in and just loves her food and looks so well with a shiny and glossy coat.
7 What are your major wins?
Queenie is very reliable and bar her novice year she has won every HOYS qualifier she has been in – hopefully I’ve not jinxed my luck! However we do not over show her, she’s lucky to six shows a year. She’s been second at the Royal International Horse Show twice, she loves it there, it’s one I would really like to win on her. It was fantastic when she went Supreme of Show at CHAPS last year which was amazing.
8 What are your plans for the season?
Queenie qualified for the Royal International recently in her first outing of the year, and of course our aim is to now to qualify for HOYS. I’ve never ridden her at the Great Yorkshire Show so I’m going to take her there, basically I just want to enjoy her, it’s nice riding for yourself there is no pressure! I really enjoy riding in the ring and don’t do it as much as I used to so it’s always nice to get her out. We have a little play at dressage in between when there is time so I couldn’t really ask for any more from her.