Working Show Pony – Champion Lisa Sergeant came to Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) with no expectations and was absolutely over the moon when her pony, Linsford Ear to the Ground (pictured left, photo courtesy of Julian Porch), not only won the Working Show Pony class, but was crowned overall SEIB Search for a Star Champion.
The SEIB Search for a Star series gives amateur riders, and their horses and ponies, the chance to try and qualify for HOYS and benefit from a thoroughly supportive network in the process.
This was exactly Lisa’s intention when she got her Connemara gelding, known as Leo, involved in the series. She wanted to help progress him from local shows to the open circuit and was keen to get him in front of top judges and receive their feedback.
Lisa now plans to give HOYS qualifiers a go next year, which is just what the series is all about; finding those future stars.
Eventually Leo will go to daughter Hannah, who Lisa says, “keeps trying to pinch him!”
Reflecting on her HOYS experience, Lisa said: “To qualify was a massive shock and then to ride in there [the Andrews Bowen International Arena] in front of all those people – wow!”
Hannah was there to support her mum and was just as excited: “I’ve always had every faith in her and I’m so proud.”
Working Show Horse – Reserve Champion
Pippa Tucker was “absolutely buzzing” after her homebred horse, Rambo, clinched the Working Show Horse title and then went on to stand overall Reserve Champion.
Rambo is an 11-year-old bay gelding who Pippa mainly competes in dressage and describes as a “gentle giant”.
“I’ve bred a few horses,” explained Pippa after her class. “They do what they’re good at and it’s amazing to win here at HOYS. I’m going to celebrate in style!”
Sarah Walker and her own, Dr Cookie Monster, took the Riding Horse section. Sarah has had Cookie, a seven-year-old dun Sports Horse, for just over a year and he has come on significantly in that time.
“We wouldn’t have got through the door a year ago today,” said Sarah. “But today he just carried me round and looked after me.”
Sarah comes from a show jumping background and also has a homebred horse who is currently out on loan.
Emma Peel bought her bay gelding, Melin Moldavite (Harvey), as an unbroken three-year-old. Her daughter Maddie Bennett broke him in, and Emma rode him for a year while Maddie carried on with her 14hh pony. Harvey was only supposed to grow to 15hh but got a little bigger!
Maddie and Harvey competed in intermediate classes before their first open season this year.
It was an emotional win for Maddie whose name was last to be called forward, so she didn’t think she had even been placed!
Emily Chambers rode her own mare Wulfstan Evensong (Evie) to victory in the Show Cob section. The pair do a bit of everything together and have previously hunted, but only got into showing this year.
Emily has had the 10-year-old for two years. She did sell her, but Evie came back as her new owner didn’t get on with her.
“She was meant to be with me!” said Emily. “I never thought in a million years I’d be riding here, let alone winning! She was lovely in the ring; a bit sparky but I just sat quietly!”
The Traditional Horse/Pony class was a new addition for this year and was won by Angela Warnes’ eight-year-old cob, Daffodil, ridden by Kirsty Warnes.
Daffodil was bought unbroken, a bit of a “rough diamond”, and intended to be a happy hack for Kirsty’s mother-in-law. However, after showing plenty of quality, Kirsty has done a bit of everything with her from showing to dressage and cross country. They had a bit of a slow start to Daffodil’s ridden career after realising she was in foal!
Daffodil will eventually go to daughter Ella, but Kirsty was thrilled to find this opportunity for solid coloured cobs within the Search for a Star series.
Isabel Southworth’s five-year-old Irish Sport Horse, Bloomfield Imperial, gave the judges all the right signals to secure the Show Hunter win. Isabel has only had Kanye, as he is known at home, since January and they have spent the year mainly schooling and hacking, as well as competing in a novice class at the BSHA.
Isabel also competed in the Search for a Star series on her 15hh pony, but never made it to HOYS. Kanye is her next step up and she says he is “friends with everyone.”
Leading equine insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many grassroots equestrian events and activities.
For insurance queries visit www.seib.co.uk or call 01708 850 000.