Twelve ex-racehorses, who have swapped the track for the arena, took their place under the bright lights of the Andrews Bowen International Arena in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse of the Year Championship on day one of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS); undoubtedly one of the biggest events of their new careers.
It was an early victory for team Hood, following an incredible HOYS last year which peaked in the Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year title. They got their 2018 HOYS week off to “a perfect start” as Oliver Hood piloted Zoe Turner’s six-year-old bay gelding, Gateshead, to victory.
‘Dennis’, as he is known at home, was retired from his racing career two years ago and retrained by Bryan Smart. He contested this Championship last year during his first season with Oliver’s dad Allister, and finished sixth. “I took over the ride from dad earlier this year,” said Oliver. “He [Dennis] was a bit green last year and has only been lightly shown this season… we’ve been saving him for this.”
The gelding is obviously very well suited to his new career and is also ridden regularly by his owner Zoe. “He is a real showman with lots of presence,” said Oliver. “And he really enjoys his job – sometimes a little too much!” he laughed. “We’ll carry on doing what we’re doing; he will make a really nice riding horse.”
Lizzie Harris (pictured) rode her own 10-year-old gelding Wild West into second place. The Thoroughbred is by Galileo out of Monumental Gesture.
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 850000.
Photo courtesy of 1st class images