Following a fabulous first year in 2022, the Search for a Star Pony Club series is set for the 2023 season. Search for a Star has long been known as the premier amateur showing series in the UK and the series now offers three classes exclusively for Pony Club members.
Pony Club Search for a Star classes include, lead rein, first ridden and open, providing opportunities for members aged 5-years-old and upwards. The qualifying classes are low key, yet judged by top judges and show producers who are keen to encourage and offer support to all. The series offers a total of seven qualifying shows for the exciting end of season championship finals held at Your Horse Live in November.
Nicolina MacKenzie, Search for a Star organiser and Marketing Manager at SEIB, said: “Pony Club Search for a Star was set up to offer a learning experience. Many of the skills learned through showing are of lifelong use, such as presenting the pony in-hand, learning how to turn him out – along with also paying plenty of attention to detail on rider turnout and how to set your pony up on the corner to ensure he looks his best going past the judge – a fantastic skill for a dressage test too! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have all the gear, many of our competitors last year rode in borrowed things, from showing numnahs through to hair accessories!”
Competitors from as far afield as Aberdeen (Deveron branch) and Northern Ireland (East Antrim branch) qualified for and contested the inaugural 2022 Pony Club Search for a Star championships. The lead rein championship was won by seven-year-old North Warwickshire branch member, Emily Hiscox and her grey Welsh section A, Thistledown Elpaso (Elvis). Proving that age is no barrier in this competition, the pair went on to take the supreme Search for a Star Your Horse Live title.
Reflecting on their success, Emily’s mother, Heather Hiscox said: “Going out to shows must be enjoyable for the rider and the horse or pony. I think this is why we found taking part in Pony Club Search for a Star so lovely as it is an extension of the all-round activities that Emily and Elvis have been taking part in. We focus on little and often with plenty of variety when it comes to riding.”
Emily and Elvis have also benefitted from attending clinics as part of the road to the Search for a Star finals. Heather continued: “You can’t do better than to get expert advice. We found the comments and feedback from the Search for a Star judges in the ring really helpful. The Search for a Star team in general were amazing. Several times when I had a question, I picked up the phone and there was someone there to help. Particularly for someone new to showing, this was really useful!”
Mid-Surrey Pony Club branch member, Helena Kitchener and her Connemara pony, Cavan Mick won the 2022 open Search for a Star championship. Helena’s grandmother – DC of the Mid Surrey - Gina Kitchener said: “Search for a Star provides such a lovely opportunity for the Pony Club children. Helena was nervous at times, but thoroughly enjoyed the experience.” Helena said: “What an amazing experience, we borrowed the gear for Search for a Star but it is fine! Mick wasn’t all that forward going at the start of the year so we’ve had a few showing lessons to help get him forward. Search for a Star has been great, through the showing I’ve learned to ride with two reins and go through trotting up practice. Mick is such a patient pony.”
The 2023 SEIB Search for a Star Pony Club qualifying shows will take place at:
Sunday 23rd April 2023 at Vale View Equestrian Centre, Old Dalby, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire LE14 3LX
Saturday 3rd June 2023 (Search for a Star workshop) and Sunday 4th June 2023 (qualifying competition) at Netherton Equestrian Centre, Netherton Farm, Aberargie, Perthshire, PH2 9NE, Perth, Scotland.
JULY 2023 DATE AND VENUE TBC Northern Ireland (Pony Club only)
Friday 14th July 2023 (Search for a Star workshop) and Saturday 15th July 2023 (qualifying competition) at Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ – courtesy of The Showing Register (TSR) Championship.
Wednesday 2nd August 2023 at Arena UK, Allington Lane, Grantham, Lincolnshire NG32 2EF – courtesy of Equifest.
Saturday 12th August 2023 at Brendon Stud, Haresdean Farm, Pyecombe, Brighton BN45 7EG.
Saturday 19th August 2023 at The Pony Club Championships at Offchurch Bury, Warwickshire CV33 9AR. (Pony Club Only)
The SEIB Search for a Star judges and stewards will be on hand to help and mentor all competitors at each qualifying show. In addition to this Search for a Star has two ‘Weekender’ events planned for 2023. These will include a day of training on the day before the qualifying show, one in Scotland and one in England.
Following competitor feedback, the height for ponies in the Pony Club Search for a Star first ridden class has this season been increased to 138cm.
For full details and to enter please see www.seib.co.uk/competitions or the SEIB Search for a Star facebook page for updates.
Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers set up Search for a Star nearly 30 years ago to 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