It was role-reversal for Nicolina MacKenzie on Saturday 24 October when she was presented with the Spillers Showing World Outstanding Achievement Award at the Showing Council Showing World Awards Dinner. Nicolina (Nicky) is frequently pictured attending equestrian events presenting prizes on behalf of SEIB, but it was her turn in the spotlight as she collected the accolade in recognition of her considerable contribution to showing. Nicky has worked as Marketing Manager for SEIB Insurance Brokers for over 21 years and during this time she has been responsible for instigating and supporting numerous equestrian activities. The first SEIB Search for a Star competition was held 19 years ago, and Nicky has been the driving force behind the series ever since. Over the years, approximately 9,000 horse and rider combinations have passed through SEIB Search for a Star, trying for that elusive ticket to Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). The series is strictly for amateur riders and their horses providing a unique opportunity to compete at HOYS for those that might not otherwise have the chance to compete at this level. Nicky is robust in upholding the rules and spirit of the competition and the series remains true to its origins, nurturing grass roots competitors and encouraging them to go on to further success in the show ring. The success of the series has been phenomenal, with many riders becoming hooked on showing having “had a go” in Search for a Star. Many well-known horses also started their careers in this competition, where their talent was first recognized, before going on to success in open classes. The winner of the first ever Search for a Star Championship was the 4 year old Shelford Rupert in 1996, who went on to win many more heavyweight hunter classes and championships. More recently, the 2007 SEIB Search For A Star Supreme Champions, Jordan Cook riding Fleetwater Xecutive have gone on to win numerous titles, including Champion Hack and Reserve Supreme Champion Ridden Horse at this year’s Royal International Horse Show, Supreme Champion at the BSHA National Championships, Small Hack of the Year and Reserve Champion Hack of the Year at HOYS. Many other Search for a Star winners have gone on to further success including Tudor Minstrel, Show Hunter of the Year and Ladies Hunter of the Year at HOYS in 2012, Telly Tubs, a winner at HOYS in open cob classes; Haddon Hurricane, who won the Small Riding Horse and Reserve Champion Riding Horse Of The Year in 2004, and Almost Illegal, who became Hack of the Year at HOYS 2006. Nicky was also responsible for instigating the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship 10 years ago and it is still very close to her heart, providing a platform to show how a correctly re-schooled racehorse can become a top class show horse. SEIB Insurance Brokers are keen to put something back into the horse world and Nicky organised their support for numerous other activities, including the Working Show Horse class at the BSHA National Championships, SEIB Burghley Sponsored Ride, BETA retailer awards, British Riding Clubs Quadrille, Trailblazers and British Showjumping Winter Novice Championships among others. SEIB are known for their innovative ideas and have exciting plans to introduce RDA Showing. Nicky has 4 horses and rides for pleasure. Her kind heart has led her to take on horses that are less than sound, but in her care they thrive and live out their old age. She is also passionate about rehoming rescue dogs including those from Romania and frequently extolls their virtues encouraging others to take on these deserving dogs. The entertaining exploits of her two dogs, Perry and Jane, are often the topic of Nicky’s facebook posts. “I am in shock, but I really want to thank the team, all those who help run Search for a Star and the Racehorse to Riding Horse series, particularly Robert Oliver and the late Anne Pritchard who were there at the outset, the Ramseys and the Bartrams who have given me so much support over the years and more recently David Ingle and Katie Jerram. We have had the greatest names in showing involved and it is the team that make it all happen. They are wonderful and willingly give up their time to support and help the true amateur”, said Nicky after the award ceremony. For more information on SEIB Insurance Brokers Search For A Star, visit www.search4astar.org.uk or www.seib.co.uk and register in the SEIB Horse Hive to be among the first to receive details of qualifying dates and venues for 2016, and join the Search for a Star facebook page www.facebook.com/SEIB.Search4AStar to share the experience.