SEIB Search for a Star and SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse 2024 continued at Vale View Equestrian Centre in Leicestershire on the 9th June 2024. The team of Search for a Star judges, Mr Richard Ramsay, Nicki Taylor, Sam DeCaprio, Louise Gaunt and Craig McLelland were joined by former Search for a Star winner turned professional producer, Jordan Cook on the day. Jordan won the SEIB Search for a Star championship back in 2007 with his stunning hack Fleetwater Xecutive and has remained a strong supporter of the series ever since.

The first winner of the day at Vale View was sixteen-year-old Delilah Eve-Beck and her mother Gemma Beck’s Welsh Section C Mossgate in the Mix, known as Usher, in the Working Pony class. A delighted Delilah said: “He went so well in there today. We came second at Stoneleigh the week before last and decided to come back!” Delilah’s mother Gemma said: “We had to hire a lorry to come today and go on an hour and a half’s drive to collect it! We did Search for a Star a few times last year and their best result was 3rd, its lovely to come back this year knowing what to expect.” Delilah continued: “We worked hard on our schooling over the winter. I’ve had Usher for about eighteen months and we have been competing in Mountain and Moorland Working Hunter Pony classes. Usher loves his jumping! He’d mainly done in-hand showing before we owned him.” Delilah is a pupil at Fernwood School in Woolerton.

All pictures credited to Kevin Sparrow.

Winning the Working Horse class was Irish Sports Horse, Lisboy Red Wine and Jessica Walker. Noble, as this elegant chestnut is known at home, is owned by Readyfield Bloodhounds Master, Graham Smith. Jessica said: “He is just a five-year-old and hasn’t done a lot but he’s taken to showing like a duck to water! HOYS has always been a dream!” Graham said: “I bought him from the Goresbridge sales as an unbroken three-year-old as I liked the look of him. We haven’t really had a job for him yet so Jessica said she would bring him to Search for a Star to see how they get on!” Jessica works as a self-employed freelance groom. She also hunts the Readyfield bloodhounds for Graham. She added: “I did Search for a Star about twelve years ago with a Working Hunter and then we thought this year, Noble needs a job so lets give it a go! This is just his fourth outing, he will do some more showing over the summer as he seems to absolutely love it.”

Thirteen Show Hunters came forward for their class which was won by Samantha Lea riding her own, Redshaw Valentino, known at home as Henry. Samantha said: “Henry was so polite for the judge today, we absolutely love him, he’s like a big labrador. I’ve only been back riding for a short while as I’ve had a baby called Hugo who is just seven-months-old. Henry lives on our working farm and we’ve owned him since he was a four-year-old. We’ve also qualified for the RIHS this year in the amateur class. We brought Henry to do Search for a Star two-years-ago and the judge said to give him more time so it has all worked out well!”

Taking the second qualifying spot in the Hunters was Mairi Dillon with her own Rambunctious Ralph. Mairi said: “We’ve only really just got to grips with showing, he used to lose his head a bit in big groups so its taken lots of patience. We were pulled in 5th today and he went beautifully, I’m very proud of him! He hasn’t been an easy horse to get going with but we started affiliated showing last year and we’ve been to Windsor and Stoneleigh. We’ve had him since he was six and he’s now eleven. He also enjoys competing in endurance riding and showjumping.” Mairi works for an international property company. 

In the Riding Horse Hack class at Vale View Zoe Falkner and her own Quaikin Enigma took first place. This was Enigma’s second ever show, Zoe explained: “We nearly didn’t come today as we’ve only ever been to one local show before this, but its nearby for us and our one chance to give Search for a Star a go! She is twelve-years-old but has done nothing. We’ve never had any transport so haven’t really gone anywhere beyond a few clinics, and spending plenty of time hacking out. But I got a lorry at Christmas so we will be off to lots of shows this summer! I showed a bit when I was younger, including taking 2nd in the Search for a Star Show Pony HOYS finals back in 2007. I’m now an accountant and have had a 10-year break from competing. A friend of mine was going to look at Maisie (Quiaikin Enigma) and I was planning my wedding so I definitely wasn’t looking for a horse, but I ended up buying her!”

Rebecca Parkin from North Yorkshire and her palomino mare, Foxgrove Legally Blonde took 2nd place in the Riding Horse Hacks at Vale View. This is just their first show season. Rebecca said: “We backed her as a three-year-old two years ago. I always wanted a big palomino – I had a small one when I was a child! She has a cracking temperament and it was really busy here today with lots to take in but she gave both me and the ride judge a beautiful ride. I used to show at county level as a kid and have had a big break from it. I had a hunter a couple of seasons ago and we did a Search for a Star qualifier in 2022 but he didn’t really enjoy it so we went looking for one that does enjoy it!” Rebecca works as a hairdresser.

In the Show and Maxi Cob class, former Search for a Star finalist, Nicola Reeder took top spot with her skewbald cob, Double Denim. A delighted Nicola said: “He went super today and gave the judge a super ride! It’s the first Search for a Star qualifier we’ve tried and its been a long journey to get this far. I’ve had him since he was three and he’s now 13! For the first four years we couldn’t ride him at all, he just bolted. It turned out he had ulcers and we turned the corner as soon as they were sorted out. We do lots of dressage together and he’s also qualified for the London Horse Show in December. We’ve just kept plugging away and gaining confidence. When I was much younger I came 2nd in the Search for a Star HOYS finals with my cob, Collier. It is a wonderful competition to be able to do. Maybe I’ll come back again after another 10 years!”

Natacha Bonner and her own Soot Supreme took 2nd place in the Cobs at Vale View. Natacha said: “He went the best he’s ever gone! We did the Working Horse class this morning and came 4th so we’ve had a great day out! I’ve owned him for eighteen-months and we bought him to hunt and as a field-master’s horse. He loves his showing and we competed in Search for a Star in 2023 but were unplaced, he has matured over the Winter so we decided to come back. We took 5th place at the Stoneleigh Search for a Star qualifier a few weeks ago and over the summer we’ll also find some Working Cob classes for him to do, and he’ll be going on plenty of hound exercise too.”

Jenny Powell’s striking bay, Grandad’s Legacy won a large and very competitive SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier. This was the first open Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier of the season and many of the big names in retrained racehorses were in attendance on the day. Ably ridden by Skye Houldsworth, Grandad’s Legacy was placed in every SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier in 2023. Skye said: “He went brilliantly today, he is such a good boy! This is his third season showing and his second season with me.” Jenni Powell has owned Grandad’s Legacy since he was a yearling. He was in training with Sam and Ali Strong and ran on the flat as a two and three-year old. Jenni said: “My late father left me some money and I liked the look of Billy as we call him, he had great natural balance and so I thought if he didn’t make the grade on the race-course he would always have another job to go to. It turned out he didn’t like the stalls and racing wasn’t for him, so we turned him away before slowly bringing him back to retrain as a show-horse. He has a proper home with Skye and is so happy. I used to show ponies and horses when I was younger we had ponies at HOYS 20 years ago.”

Amateur rider, Rebecca Court took 2nd place in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class at Vale View with Diana Taylor’s, Festive Fare. Rebecca was delighted with Fletcher as he is known on the day, she said: “We’ve got off to a really good start together with wins and championships and reserves at the South of England Spring Show, Suffolk County and the Hunter Spring Show. I haven’t contested this series since 2019 with Desert Joe and its great to be back!” Gary Merton travelling to Vale View with Rebecca said: “Fletcher was in training with Charlie Appleby for Godolphin and came to Diana through the Godolphin Lifetime Care scheme. He ran nine times from Charlie’s yard and was placed in the Group 3 Winter Derby Trial. Fletcher is by Teofilio and his dam was a half-sister to Group 1 winner Dishaan. He earned a total of £63,000 in win and place money and won his first three starts as a two-year-old. He’s twelve now.” Rebecca added: “Diana got Fletcher straight from Godolphin and she is so supportive, I met her at a show and she has eventually let me have him!”

In the Traditional Cob HOYS Search for a Star qualifier at Vale View, Carol Sweeting and her own, Blue Blagdon, six-year-old mare, Blue Sea Gypsy took 1st place. Carol said: “Its our first big show and I couldn’t be more delighted. I lost my hogged cob back at the start of last year and I’ve had Blue Sea Gypsy since August 2023. She belonged to the yard owner at my livery yard, she bought her as a three-year-old and broke her in. After I lost my cob, I was hacking her out and fell in love with her! This is just our fifth show together and I was a bit bullied into coming today, but I thought why not we’ll give it a go and I’m very glad I did! I did Search for a Star a few years ago and took ninth place.” Carol is a retired hairdresser.

Bethany Broadbent from North Yorkshire and Alison Broadbent’s, Midnight Cappucino took runner-up spot in the traditional cobs. Bethany said: “We’ve had him since he was just five months old and he’s 10 now. We’ve done everything from mini One-Day-Events and he is great at teaching the kids to ride. He’s one of a kind and an absolutely great teacher! He does plenty of pleasure rides and is ridden five times a week, it helps keep the weight off and also he gets bored if he’s not being ridden. We took 3rd place in Search for a Star at the Arena UK qualifier last year and now I’m delighted we’ve qualified at our first go this year!”

Your Horse Live qualifying classes

It was another great day out for the Kohl family from Leicestershire in the ridden Mountain and Moorland Search for a Star Your Horse Live qualifier at Vale View. Following up her daughter, Olivia’s win at the Stoneleigh qualifier, Louise Kohl and her own Welsh Section D, Menai Super Sovereign took the class in style. A delighted Louise said: “I’ve not been in the ring in over a year! He’s a five-year-old novice and I said why not, we’ll give it a go. He was 2nd in the Working Pony class with Olivia this morning. We bought Menai Super Sovereign last April from Peter Jones at the Menai Stud. H loves his jumping and will do working hunter pony classes over the summer.” Louise’s daughter Olivia won the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland qualifier at Stoneleigh Park in May with her Welsh Section C pony, Thorneynewside Replay.

Adele Forster from Lancashire took 2nd place in the Ridden Mountain and Moorlands with her Welsh Scetion D pony, Dearnevalley Firefly. This pony is no stranger to the Search for a Star Your Horse Live finals having qualified twice previously with their best result being 4th place at the finals. Adele said: “Its lucky we made it here today, he lost a shoe yesterday and I had to take him round to our farrier’s house at 7pm last night having persuaded him to put it back on! Its lucky it was worthwhile for him! I’m so pleased my mum is here today having missed out on seeing her pony qualify at the last Search for a Star qualifier as she was recovering from an operation. Your Horse Live is going to be a busy day out for us!” Adele’s mother, Christine Forster’s gypsy cob mare, Maddy of Penmore qualified for Your Horse Live in the Open Ridden Veteran class at Stoneleigh a few weeks ago.

The one SEIB Search for a Star class open to all riders and not restricted to amateurs, the Open Ridden Veteran class was won by Jill Wormall’s Tri-Coloured gelding, Colour Coded. Jill said: “He was just foot-perfect in there! He still thinks he’s a five-year-old and just doesn’t change! He’s unbeaten this season so far and he gave an outstanding performance today.” Colour Coded is sixteen-years-old now, Jill added: “He has won the coloured class at most of the county shows across the country! Including, the Great Yorkshire, and Royal International!”

Taking the runner-up spot in the Open Veterans was Piebald mare, Paris Party Girl and her owner and rider, Lisa Counsell. Lisa said: “She is rising 20 this year but you would never know! She loves to keep busy and we are off to Three Counties and the Royal International in the Coloured Class. She also loves her dressage and we compete at Novice and Elementary level. She’s also off to a One Day Event in a few weeks!” This pair also qualified for Your Horse Live in the Open Ridden Veterans in 2023.

The second Search for a Star Pony Club qualifiers of the year saw some lovely Pony Club members and their ponies come forward. In the Lead Rein class, ably judged by senior Search for a Star judge, Richard Ramsay, six-year-old Molly Bowring and her mother, Jessica Bowring’s Dartmoor Pony, Treworgan Titanium took top spot. Known as Teddy at home, Treworgan Titanium is a five-year-old gelding, Jessica bought him as a two-year-old. She said: “We’ve done plenty of showing in-hand with Teddy – I also won the In-Hand Mountain and Moorland Search for a Star class this morning with him!” Jessica is a member of the South Nottinghamshire Branch of the Pony Club.

The Pony Cub First Ridden qualifier went to eight-year-old Emily Hiscox and her mother, Heather Hiscox’s pony, Shilbrook Mr Holly. Emily is no stranger to the Search for a Star Your Horse Live Championship having won the Lead Rein finals and then gone on to take the Supreme Search for a Star title there in 2022! Heather said: “Its so lovely to be a part of this series. Emily is in her first season off the lead rein and Duncan (Shilbrook Mr Holly) is just amazing! They like to go fast and do lots of jumping and camp and tiny-tots showing.” Emily and Duncan are members of the North Warwickshire Pony Club.

In the Open Search for a Star Pony Club qualifier at Vale View, Penelope Lea and Corringdon Annabelle took first place. This was a very justified win as the pair won the Search for a Star Open Pony Club qualifier at Stoneleigh, but were subsequently disqualified owing to a passport irregularity. There was no stopping Penny and Annabelle at Vale View though! Thirteen-year-old Penelope said: “Annabelle is only five-years-old, she is Irish Draught and we’ve owned her for a year. We’ve had a fantastic day out today and I’m so glad we came back to Search for a Star! We will now do some One-Day-Events and Pony Club Camp!” Penny is a member of the North Shropshire Branch of the Pony Club.

Qualifying in 2nd place for the Search for a Star Pony Club Open championships was Isobella Carolan-Hall and her own Welsh Section D pony, Cilsane Dyminiad Helen known as Mouse at home. Isobella said: “Mouse was her breeder, Helen’s pride and joy! I’ve been riding her three-years this August and we’ve been competing in jumping and working hunter classes up to 80 and 90cm. I had an accident last November and was badly concussed which really rattled me. My accident wasn’t long after I joined the Quorn Hunt Branch of the Pony Club and I have received wonderful support from both the members and volunteers which has really helped rebuild my confidence, our DC Julie Mann has been brilliant. Since my accident, Mouse and I have been focussing on our flatwork and we qualified for the Pony Club Spring Dressage Festival and have been enjoying our flat showing. We’ve also got the Pony Club Area Dressage competition coming up at the end of the month. I’m currently on a year out working as a Digital-Marketing Intern for the Pony Club, but I will return to my last year studying Digital Marketing and Data Analytics at York St John University in September. Its going to be a busy time preparing for Your Horse Live in November. I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling up and down!”

The Search for a Star In-Hand Plaited Horse and Hogged Show Cob went to Donna Hoe with her sister, Gemma Hoe’s, twenty-eight-year-old chestnut gelding, Midinight’s Magic. A delighted Donna said: “He doesn’t act his age! He is my sister’s ex-showjumper and he even jumped the 3”9 fence into the garden the other week! With Gemma he used to compete up to 1.30m level. We also qualified for the In-Hand Search for a Star finals at Your Horse Live in 2022 and took 3rd place.”

In the In-Hand Plaited Pony Class, Part-Bred Welsh pony, Tambrook Prayer In C and his handler, Claire Crerand took 1st place. A thrilled Claire said: “We’ve only had her a week! She’s spent two-years out having a foal. I bought her to ride and compete in Small Hack classes. We thought this would be a good first outing In-Hand to see how we got on! It’ll be a learning curve with her and I’m looking forward to get to know her more and get used to her.” Claire runs In The Spotlight rosettes.

Sarah Welfare and her own Traditional Cob gelding, Rags to Riches won the In-Hand Native and Traditional class at Vale View. Sarah said: “Charlie went so well today. He cost me £100 when I bought him at just eight-months-old. He’s now a nine-year-old and we show a few times a year, mainly at local shows. He enjoys In-Hand showing but not being ridden in the ring. A friend rides him out at home and on farm rides and he loves that. I work as a Health and Safety consultant and have six ponies that I fit in around this. They live in a private rented yard and I look after them all myself.”

The In-Hand Veteran class went to twenty-six-year-old, Randall IV and his owner and handler, Lucy Ashworth. Randall has done brilliantly in the Your Horse Live Search for a Star In-Hand finals before in 2022 and 2023. Lucy said: “Randall is looking better than ever, he is still in regular work, our horses have to stay in in the winter so he is used to his routine and it keeps him happy and healthy. He has qualified for the Veteran Horse Society championships both in-hand and ridden and has also qualified for RIHS in-hand this season.” Randall IV and Lucy have also qualified for the Search for a Star In-Hand Plaited Horse and Hogged Show Cob Your Horse Live finals this year.

The second ever British Riding Clubs (BRC) Search for a Star class took place at Vale View. This class is open to members of BRC Affiliated Riding Clubs that are also amateur showing riders. It was second time lucky for the winners, Daisy Beards and her grey gelding Spinway Colm. This pair won this class a few weeks also but were sadly disqualified owing to a passport irregularity. The class at Vale View went off for Daisy and Colm without a hitch and they took their Your Horse Live ticket in fine style. Daisy said: “My sister saw this new Search for a Star class on Facebook so we decided to come along and give it a go! You don’t have to belong to a show society so it makes it nice and straightforward and we thought it would be a bit of fun for both me and Colm. We compete in eventing, riding club competitions, prelim level dressage and showjumping. Colm loves cross country, he is a 14.2 Connemara and I’ve owned him for about 7 years. I’m studying Agriculture at Hartpury University but I come home as often as I can to ride Colm.” Daisy is a member of Stoneleigh Riding Club.

SEIB Search for a Star organiser, Nicolina MacKenzie said: “On the whole we have had a positive day at Vale View. The vast majority of competitors enter into our shows and come along to do their best, hope to learn something, take some advice away and maybe return and improve on their previous performances. Search for a Star is designed to be a welcoming platform where we are courteous, polite and do our best to help one other out - including both our competitors and our organising team, these are values that we will continue to uphold. These values are key to everyone having an enjoyable time at our Search for a Star shows.”

SEIB 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 HOYS with many going on to compete with success in open classes.

Each of the SEIB Search for a Star qualifying shows offers opportunities for a full range of show horses to earn a place at the series championships at Horse of the Year Show and Your Horse Live.

Please see or the SEIB Search for a Star facebook page for updates. To enter please visit which will link directly to the Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse entry page on Showing Scene.

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Results SEIB Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse Vale View Equestrian June 9th 2024

HOYS Qualifying classes:

Class 1 Working PonyMossgate In The Mix owned by Gemma Beck and ridden by Delilah Eve Beck from Nottinghamshire

Class 2 Working Horse – Lisboy Red Wine owned by Graham Smith and ridden by Jessica Walker from Leicestershire

Class 3 Show Hunter – 1st Redshaw Valentino owned and ridden by Samatha Lea from Shropshire

Class 3 Show Hunter – 2nd Rambunctious Ralph owned and ridden by Mairi Dillon from Surrey

Class 4 Riding Horse Hack – 1st Quiaikin Enigma owned and ridden by Zoe Falkner from Northamptonshire

Class 4 Riding Horse Hack – 2nd Foxgrove Legally Blonde owned and ridden by Rebecca Parkin from North Yorkshire

Class 5 Show and Maxi Cob – 1st Double Denim owned and ridden by Nicola Reeder from Northamptonshire

Class 5 Show and Maxi Cob – 2nd Soot Supreme owned and ridden by Natacha Bonner from Hampshire

Class 6 Racehorse to Riding Horse – 1st Grandad’s Legacy owned by Jenni Powell and ridden by Skye Houldsworth from Gloucestershire

Class 6 Racehorse to Riding Horse – 2nd Festive Fare owned by Diana Taylor and ridden by Rebecca Court from London

Class 7 Traditional Gypsy Cob all colours - 1st Blue Sea Gypsy owned and ridden by Carol Sweeting from Derbyshire

Class 7 Traditional Gypsy Cob all colours – 2nd Midnight Cappucino owned by Alison Broadbent and ridden by Bethany Broadbent from West Yorkshire

Your Horse Live qualifying classes:

Class 8 Mountain and Moorland – 1st Menai Super Sovereign owned and ridden by Louise Kohl from Leicestershire

Class 8 Mountain and Moorland – 2nd Dearnevalley Firefly owned and ridden by Adele Forster from Lancashire

Class 9 Open Ridden Veteran Horse and Pony – 1st Colour Coded owned and ridden by Jill Wormall from Leicestershire

Class 9 Open Ridden Veteran Horse and Pony – 2nd Paris Party Girl owned and ridden by Lisa Counsell from Somerset

Class 10 Pony Club Lead Rein Pony 1st Treworgan Titanium owned by Jessica Bowring and ridden by Molly Bowring from Nottinghamshire

Class 11 Pony Club First Ridden Type – 1st Shilbrook Mr Holly owned by Heather Hiscox and ridden by Emily Hiscox from Warwickshire

Class 12 Pony Club Open – 1st Corringdon Annabelle owned and ridden by Penelope Lea from Shropshire.

Class 12 Pony Club Open – 2nd Cilsane Dyminiad Helen owned and ridden by Isobella Carolan-Hall from Northamptonshire

Class 13 Amateur In-Hand Plaited Horse including Hogged Show Cob – 1st Midnight’s Magic owned by Gemma Hoe and handled by Donna Hoe from Merseyside

Class 14 Amateur In-Hand Plaited Pony – 1st Tambrook Prayer In C owned and handled by Claire Crerand from Nottinghamshire

Class 15 Amateur In-Hand Traditional and Native Type – 1st Rags to Riches owned and handled by Sarah Welfare from Cheshire

Class 16 Amateur In-Hand Veteran – 1st Randall VI owned and handled by Lucy Ashworth from Oxfordshire

Class 17 Amateur In-Hand Mountain and Moorland – 1st Treworgan Titanium owned and handled by Jessica Bowring from Nottinghamshire

Class 18 British Riding Clubs – 1st Spinway Colm owned and ridden by Daisy Beards from Warwickshire