Family teams on top at Search for a Star Bury Farm qualifier

Bury Farm on the 9th of June marked the halfway point of the SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star 2019 qualifiers. The day saw a great turnout at this Buckinghamshire venue with a high standard of entries put forward. Many of those earning their tickets to the Search for a Star finals at HOYS or the Mountain and Moorland championship at Your Horse Live were true family horses and ponies that are shared across the generations of their owners.


Monique Sharp and Felinmor Crown Prince

The working pony class at Bury Farm had a massive entry with and a complete mix of different types of ponies coming forward for judging. The eventual winners were Monique Sharp riding her mother, Heidi Sharp’s pony, Felinmor Crown Prince. Monique said: “We are a mother and daughter team and I really wouldn’t be able to do it without my mother. HOYS has been my dream since I can remember, I’ve spectated for many years and have just dreamt about riding around the famous Topspec arena. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am!”

Felinmor Crown Prince is known as Henry at home and this was the second time that he and Monique have competed in Search for a Star having travelled to Osbaldeston in Lancashire back in April this year to earn 5th place.  The Sharp’s have owned Henry for two-and-a-half years and he has competed in everything from pony club to team dressage. Monique added: “This opportunity from Search for a Star is amazing. This is just the perfect way to achieve the dream of qualifying for HOYS!” Fifteen-year-old Monique hopes to study equine science at Hartpury College once she has finished school.

Sophie Stratton won the working horse class with her mother, Jane Stratton’s bay gelding, McEvoy. A delighted Sophie said: “I have been dreaming of competing at HOYS since I was 8-years-old! This was our third try at qualifying in Search for a Star, we travelled to Osbaldeston at the beginning of the season and came 4th, we then went down to Stretcholt in Somerset and were unplaced, so just  came here today for more experience and I am thrilled that we won!”


Sophie Stratton and McEvoy

Sophie and her mother, Jane share McEvoy, Jane hacks him out and Sophie takes him out competing in showing, hunter trials and riding club competitions. Sophie continued: “My older brother won some riding lessons in the school raffle when I was really little, I went along to watch and was determined to have a go and haven’t looked back since!” McEvoy is a real favourite at Hill View Arena livery yard in Worcester and the whole team from the yard are planning to head to HOYS to cheer Sophie and McEvoy on.

Full-time company director, Lisa Summerfield won the hunter class with Bernard Summerfield’s Irish gelding Tilbrook Diamond Hunter. Lisa said: “He went so well and to be heading to HOYS really is a dream come true. A friend suggested that we should come to Search for a Star. Everyone at the show was friendly, and the judges and stewards wanted to give all competitors a great chance to do well.”

Lisa is a director for her family business which sells lab equipment. She fits this in around the horses. She continued: “I saw Tillbrook Diamond Hunter out hunting three days after he arrived from Ireland and absolutely admired him. I subsequently sadly lost the horse I had at the time and so I rang my friend with Tillbrook Diamond Hunter and managed to buy him. He is an absolute star.” Lisa and the chestnut gelding also compete in side-saddle classes and dressage.


Mackenzie Preston and Randalstown Razzmatazz

In the new piebald and skewbald traditional gypsy cob class, Mackenzie Preston’s piebald gelding, Randalstown Razzmatazz was the winner. Mackenzie said: “We found out about this new Search for a Star class at the beginning of the year. We have previously competed in the open HOYS classes, but they are very producer oriented. Razzmatazz has really matured this spring and he was perfect at Bury Farm, it has all paid off!” Mackenzie has had to put in some hard work with Razzmatazz, she bought him from Ireland having seen a photo of the gelding. She continued: “He really stood out in that photo and I knew he was the right one for me. After I bought him and we were having a few teething problems, my mum said that I must sell him as I wasn’t going to get anywhere with him. I knew though that if I persevered, we would get there. It is just so exciting to have qualified for HOYS.” Mackenzie works in office administration for an insurance software company.

The winner of the solid coloured traditional gypsy cob class was Kirsty Warnes, riding her mother-in-law, Angela Warnes’ black mare, Daffodil. Kirsty said: “HOYS has always been a dream and I am so lucky to have got the opportunity to get there, which wouldn’t have been possible without my mother and father in law and my husband. As soon as it was announced that there was a TGCA solid traditional HOYS class I knew I was going to give it a go and support this as there are not many opportunities like this for solid coloureds.


Kirsty Warnes and Daffodil

“We came across Daffodil from a local man who has gypsy cobs. We decided we wanted a cob for my mother in law Angela to go for a little hack out on and for the grandchildren to enjoy. She was in a field of mares and we picked her out, she was a bit of a rough diamond but she had a real kind nature, so my father in law bought her and we took her home.” Kirsty broke Daffodil in herself, by which time the mare had put on a lot of weight and the Warnes family had her scanned and she was in foal. Kirsty continued: “Daffodil had a filly foal who we hope will follow in her mother’s footsteps. We are a real family team, Angela gets stuck into mucking out on weekends and when she is not working and I do all the riding, I am very lucky.”

The two classes for the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland championship at Your Horse Live had some strong entries and gave judges, Jennifer Williams and Paul Cook plenty to think about. Paul said: “This great class is now really catching on and the increased number of entries is demonstrating this. We had an exceptionally nice Highland in the large breeds class and it was good to see that most of the ponies were not too fat. I am pleased to see that the class is now split into large and small breeds, it is good for the competitors as this is what they are used to at other shows.”

In the small breeds section, the winner was Jolie Darton riding her own palomino Welsh section A gelding, Nanfforchog Blue Romishe, known as Remy at home. Showing for this pair is also very much a family effort. Mum, Jolie shares Remy with her seven-year-old son, Oscar Darton. Jolie rides Remy at the shows and Oscar rides him at home, hacking out and jumping him. Jolie said: “We are over the moon that we have qualified. This is the first Search for a Star show we have done. I had no idea if the judges would like him or not, we had decided to come along and give it a go! We have tried to qualify for HOYS in the open classes before with other ponies, but have always missed out on it.”


Jolie Darton and Claire Ward

Jolie is self-employed and works as a domestic cleaner around riding and a few grooming jobs. She and Oscar have owned Remy for eighteen months and been off out to several shows mainly competing in working hunter pony classes. Jolie added: “We will aim at doing Equifest and also some riding club shows over the summer, our main goal will be to have plenty of fun!”

Another palomino took the runner-up spot and the second Your Horse Live ticket in the small breeds. This time it was Claire Ward with her own Welsh section B gelding, Slades Golden Brown. Claire said: “He went so well at Bury farm and tried his heart out. We did the local shows up to last year and now we have been stepping up to a bit more. He is very flashy but can sometimes be anxious. I am going to plan ahead for Your Horse Live and make sure that we get plenty of advice on getting everything right for the big day.” Slades Golden Brown is known as Dave at home and in the four years that Claire has owned him, the pair have done a bit of everything together from dressage to gymkhanas. Claire continued: “A friend bought Dave from a dealer and he turned out to be too much for her little girl. I fell in love with him and bought him to make sure he didn’t go back to the dealers.”

In the large breeds Mountain and Moorland class, Claire Kinsley and her Highland pony, Memphis of Millfield took top spot. Claire said: “We are very excited to have qualified for Your Horse Live. It should be a great learning experience for both of us. I haven’t had chance to visit Your Horse Live for a few years so I am also hoping to have a look around! Two years ago quite by chance I saw Memphis advertised for sale as a 6-year-old and realised he was full brother to my 2-year-old Mannochmore of Millfield who I bought as a foal and had been delighted with. Memphis had been to one in hand show with his breeders then was sold and became a hack.  Although Memphis was very overweight and had pulled out much of his mane on the fence I thought he would make a safe hack for Mum and future pony for my daughter. He has been on a diet ever since, poor boy!”


Claire Kinsley and Danielle Remblance

Search for a Star at Bury Farm was only Memphis’ third ridden show. Claire has owned Highland ponies for 20 years and has progressed from local level showing to county shows and British Dressage competitions. Claire added: “At the Search for a Star final I am looking forward to Memphis representing his breed and I want to use the opportunity to give us both a positive experience in a big atmosphere under pressure. I hope this will increase my self-belief when competing against professional riders as I progress to affiliated showing.”

The runner up in the large breeds class, Danielle Remblance and her Welsh section D, Davada Billy the Kid, have overcome all odds to have qualified for the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland championship. Davada Billy the Kid, known as Terra, was left fighting for his life two-years-ago after being shot three times in the head with an air rifle whilst out grazing in his field. Danielle has nursed him back to full health following this senseless attack.


Danielle Remblance and Davada Billy the Kid

Danielle said: “We have worked so hard to get here. We came to Search for a Star to give it a go and I was thrilled when we were pulled up to second in the final line up. When I first started riding Terra four-years-ago, both he and I were complete novices and I learned to ride on him. We began from the absolute bottom together. That day when I went out into the field and saw he had terrible puncture wounds in his face we couldn’t work out what had happened. Several times we very nearly lost him from his injuries. It took us two days after the incident to piece together the fact that he had been shot twice near his eye and once in the cheek. We took him for x-rays and he still has all three bullets in his head.”

Terra was bought in 2009 by Danielle’s father, Steven Glyn, for her mother, Louise Glyn to ride. He wasn’t straightforward to ride or deal with and it has taken Danielle plenty of time to get going with. She said: “Terra now trusts me completely, he is 17 now and we are just beginning to start getting great results. We got out to do some shows last year and now this season we are stepping it up again.” In 2018 Danielle and Terra won and were reserve champions in the home-produced class at Equifest. They are also entered for the Royal Welsh show this year. Danielle added: “My instructor Sharon King has been amazing and really has got me and Terra going.”

Sally Corrigan and her gelding, Airmail won the riding horse hack class. Airmail, known as Norman, is homebred – and the first horse Sally has ever bred. He is out of a thoroughbred mare, by Jaguar Mail. Sally said: “Friends advised me when he was three that he’d make a nice riding horse, so I guess the pipe dream to get to HOYS may have started then. I feel really proud to have qualified Norman. I had a plan to qualify for HOYS and to ride my own home bred horse at HOYS will be an amazing. The SEIB Search for Star has made that a reality and the support and professionalism offered by the series is excellent.”


Sally Corrigan and Airmail

Five-year-old Norman’s stable name came from the fact that he was born during the Normandy World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2014. Sally continued: “I sat in my mare, Molly’s stable waiting for her to foal whilst watching the cross country from the Normandy WEG on my iPad.  So when he came out as a stunning dark bay colt – he had to be Norman!” In addition to showing, Sally plans to compete Norman in BE Eventing later this year. Sally worked in banking in the city for 23 years and now works on an arable farm, rides out her and her partners point to pointers and does some local part-time consultancy work. She added: “Needless to say I’m busier than when I worked 50-hour plus weeks in the city! I always wanted to breed my own horse and am so pleased that I did!”

Taking runner-up spot in the riding horse hack was seventeen-year-old Maddie Bennett riding her mother, Emma Peel’s horse, Melin Moldavite. This six-year-old gelding, known as Harvey at home, is by Brief Encounter, out of Whalton Appassionata and was bred by Tony Reynolds and Michael Cook. Emma said: “We bought Harvey as an unbroken three-year-old and showed him in-hand the following season, last year he did some novice classes and this is his first proper season showing. We are so pleased he and Maddie have qualified for HOYS. Harvey is really my horse to go out and do riding horse and hunter classes, but Maddie is riding him this season.” Showing is very much a family effort for Maddie and Emma, they have been known to have four generations of the family at shows. Emma continued: “My grandmother who is 94 comes along sometimes, in addition to me, my mum and Maddie. We all love our showing our home-produced horses.” Maddie and Harvey are also qualified for the Pretty Polly Intermediate class at the Royal International this year. Maddie is studying for her A-Levels at Aylesbury High School.


Maddie Bennett and Melin Moldavite

Cob winner, Charlotte Kitteringham and her piebald gelding, Riley were at their first ever show at Bury Farm. A thrilled Charlotte said: “I keep Riley with my best friend and her mother – Marcie Clack and Janice Lugsden – and they convinced me to come and have a go. They lent me all the gear and told me what to do! I came along thinking that it would be fun and that we could come back next year to have a more serious go at Search for a Star and now here we are!” Charlotte has owned Riley for six years and the pair have done sponsored rides and a few show jumping shows in this time. Charlotte continued: “My mum bought Riley for me after 10 years of me begging for a horse, she is not horsey, but so supportive of me and Riley. I work as a healthcare assistant for the NHS and just about manage to fit this in with riding and looking after Riley.” The pair plan to attend the Search for a Star training day in September ahead of HOYS.


Charlotte Kitteringham and Riley

Rachel Nettleton and her nine-year-old bay mare, Louis Dubh Tulla Kitty took the runner-up spot in the cob class at Bury Farm on their first attempt at a Search for a Star qualifier. Rachel said: “I turned 50 last October and I promised myself I would ride at HOYS this year! I am so pleased with my little mare, Kitty, she hasn’t always been the easiest and we have kept going together and now we are getting some great results.” Rachel and Kitty took 6th place in the cob class at Royal Windsor Horse Show in May and are enjoying a great season together so far. Rachel works as a nurse for people with dementia and fits this in around looking after and riding her mare.


SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “We are having so many people that are completely new to Search for a Star taking part, and qualifying  this year plus numerous owner riders, and Bury Farm provided another great example of this. It was lovely to see our cob winner having success at her first ever show and qualifying for HOYS. Search for a Star really is the stuff of dreams.”

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 equestrian events and activities.


Class 1A Working Pony
1st Monique Sharp riding Fellinmore Crown Prince
2nd Liz Jesson riding Tullanna Tommy
3rd Clare Ward riding Slades Golden Broom
4th Kerri Skelton riding Willglen Fire Storm
5th Katie Norgate riding Mr Anderson
6th Rebecca Giles riding Lochan Beag Rogaire

Class 1B Working Horse
1st Sophie Stratton riding McEvoy
2nd Katie Smith riding Dream Shadow
3rd Emily Southall riding My Bamboozle
4th Zara Staples riding Grantstown Out Of The Blue
5th Shelley Hooper riding Dolly Good Retto
6th Gillian Hare riding Tfollyglen Clover

Class 2 Show Hunters
1st Lisa Summerfield riding Tilbrook Diamond Hunter
2nd Sarah Crosta riding Kingston Pique
3rd Heidi Menhinick riding Delta Storm
4th Hayley Knibbs riding Golden Shot
5th Laura Payne riding Clzache
6th Jane Imbush riding Pleasant Blue Sky

Class 3A TGCSA Coloureds
1t Mackenzie Preston riding Randalstown Razzamatazz
2nd Dawn Birdsey riding Spashdown Lenny
3rd Poppy Daly riding Valentine Kid
4th Hope Gimson riding The Boss’s Daughter
5th Kerri Skelton riding Willglen Fire Storm
6th Rebecca Wood riding Desra Jitter Bug

Class 3B TGCA Solid Colours
1st Kirsty Warnes riding Daffodil
2nd Rebekka Tongue riding Benny Boy
3rd Georgina Tandy riding Sancler Earl Greay
4th Jessica Findell riding Loughrea Star
5th Poppy Daly riding Moonlight Shadow
6th Paige Hobart riding Mary Anne

Class 4A M and M – small breeds
1st Jolie Darton riding Nantfforchog Blue Romishe
2nd Clare Ward riding Slades Golden Broom
3rd Phoebe Prater riding Barkway Nureyev
4th Geraldine Bowman riding Benedikt
5th Isabelle Allen riding Lathehill Pageant

Class 4B M and M – large breeds
1st Clare Kinsley riding Mephis of Millfield
2nd Danielle Remblance riding Davada Billy the Kid
3rd Anika Wilding riding Dylasau Calafornia Dawn
4th Katie Smith riding Dream Shadow
5th Megan Scarratt riding Lowhaygarths Celtic Dancer
6th Julia Cannon riding Slieve Bloom Shadow

Class 5 Riding Horse Hack
1st Sally Corrigan riding Airmail
2nd Maddie Bennett riding Mein moldavite
3rd Fern Parker riding Cocktail
4th Fiona Campbell-Fraser riding Henton Attorney General
5th Katie-Ann Ockendon-Evans riding Simexico
6th Sarah Sharp riding Stretcholt Hourglass

Class 6 Show and Maxi Cobs
1st Charlotte Kitteringham riding Riley
2nd Rachel Nettleton riding Louisdubh Tulla Kitty
3rd Sonya Grady-Horton riding Cosmic II
4th Kerrie Jephcott riding Dixie
5th Rebecca Sandell riding Wilkismoor Highwayman
6th Josey Taylor riding The Jungle VIP