A stunning trio of winners gets the Search for a Star Your Horse Live Championships of 2021 off to a strong start           

The first SEIB Search for a Star qualifier of the season for the Your Horse Live championship took place on the 2nd April at the Warwickshire Spring Fair at Dallas Burston Polo Club. In a new venture for Search for a Star, the qualifier consisted of just the three new classes launched this spring – Part-Bred Traditional Gypsy Cob, Veteran Pony and Veteran Horse. Judge, Mr Richard Ramsay was impressed with the quality of entries that came forward and delighted to see that each of the three winners were very worthy of their qualification for the Search for a Star championship at Your Horse Live in November.

Ellie Taylor and Meillion Sovereign receive their prize from Mr Richard Ramsay

The SEIB Search for a Star veteran class was set up to give an opportunity for amateur riders with older horses – not excluding those horses and ponies that have enjoyed success earlier in their careers. The winners at Dallas Burston of both the veteran pony and veteran horse qualifier were great examples of equines with truly lifelong amateur, family homes.

The veteran pony class went to Ellie Taylor and her mother Gill Bostock’s chestnut gelding, Meillion Sovereign. Ellie and her mother have owned 19-year-old Meillion Sovereign since he was just 16 months old. The pair have previously competed in the Search for a Star Show Hunter Pony class and qualified for the Horse of the Year Show finals back in 2014. Ellie said: “We were delighted to get to the HOYS Search for a Star finals, but Meillion Sovereign was maybe a little too pleased to be there and was a bit cheeky meaning he was unplaced. It is great to be back at Search for a Star and to have qualified for the Your Horse Live finals – this was our plan for the year!”

Ellie works as a nurse at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, having gained her nursing qualification last summer, she has spent all winter working in an intensive care Covid-19 ward. Ellie added: “The horses give me a lovely break. We have access to some gallops locally and so outside of work, I have spent plenty of time out, up there with Meillion Sovereign.”

Debbie Fitzpatrick and Atlantic Flight

Former Search for a Star Riding Horse HOYS finalist, Atlantic Flight and his owner, rider and breeder, Debbie Fitzpatrick won the veteran horse class at Dallas Burston. Since this pair took 7th place in the Search for a Star HOYS finals in 2018, Debbie has battled bladder cancer and is delighted to be back out competing with 19-year-old Atlantic Flight. She said: “Having fun is our main aim, Atlantic Flight loves showing off and it is brilliant to be back out competing. We mainly take part in dressage and showing competitions alongside pleasure rides, beach rides and a bit of jumping. I manage a Covid-19 testing site and so the horses are very much my down-time. It is great that there is this new opportunity from Search for a Star and I am so pleased we gave it a go.”

The new Search for a Star veteran classes are the only Search for a Star classes in which it is within the rules for the horse and rider to have competed previously in the HOYS Search for a Star finals.

Megan Godridge and Penrock Purposely Puzzled

Megan Godridge and her own striking piebald gelding, Penrock Purposely Puzzled took the top spot in the Part-Bred Traditional Gypsy Cob class. This 7-year-old gelding was bought, just broken, by Megan in early 2019. Following a great result at the end of 2019 when the pair took the overall ridden supreme at the Grassroots Arena UK show the pair did not get out to any shows in 2020. Megan said: “We saw this new Search for a Star class and decided to aim for it this year. I’m thrilled we did so well today. We have spent lots of time getting to know each other and have been on several fun rides too.” The horses are a family hobby for Megan who was accompanied at Dallas Burston by her aunt, Amy Benyon.

All three winning riders in the new SEIB Search for a Star classes at Dallas Burston have qualified for the Search for a Star finals to be held at Your Horse Live in November.

SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie said: “It was great to be back out and about at Dallas Burston. Huge thanks go to Loraine Homer for organising and putting on such an enjoyable – and Covid safe - show just days after the end of lockdown. I am humbled by the stories from our winners and chuffed that they have something special to look forward to in the Your Horse Live Search for a Star finals.”

Search for a Star first took place back in 1996 and over the years has provided thousands of opportunities for amateur riders to compete at championship shows. Traditionally the highlight of Search for a Star is the opportunity to qualify and compete at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). In recent years, in addition to the HOYS finals, Search for a Star now has championship classes in the main arena at Your Horse Live as well.

For 2021, it is intended that the main qualifiers for SEIB Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse will take place over the summer months. The SEIB team organising Search for a Star are working closely with Horse of the Year Show and Your Horse Live. The SEIB team will add details of qualifiers and venues to www.seib.co.uk/competitions as they become available.

Search for a Star classes with finals at HOYS include; hacks, hunters, working pony, working horses, riding horses, traditional gypsy cobs – of any colour, show cobs, and the longstanding SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse final. Search for a Star qualifiers in the mountain and moorland classes, veteran horse or pony and part-bred traditional cob will head to Your Horse Live for their championships.

Search for a Star is purely for amateur riders and this rule is very strictly enforced. The ridden SEIB Horse of the Year Show Racehorse to Riding Horse class is open to professional and amateur riders. SEIB support ethical showing and testing for prohibited substances and tack inspections may take place. The Search for a Star full schedule including classes, times and rules will be released in due course.

Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers set up Search for a Star over 20 years ago so they could offer a unique competition opportunity to many of their amateur rider customers. SEIB has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many equestrian events and activities in addition to Search for a Star.

In the meantime - if you need to insure your horse, horsebox, trailer, yard or business - SEIB are here to help so please give us a call on 01708 850000 or visit www.seib.co.uk. #SEIBhere2help