Rockstar (Cob), owned by Paul and Hayley Isaac, ridden by Paul Isaac from West Glamorgan.

Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit (Riding Horse), owned and ridden by Zoe Whittle from Bolton.

Rockstar Takes Search For A Star Crown

The 2011 South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship reached a thrilling climax in the International Arena at the Horse Of The Year Show, when seven finalists came head to head for the final judging of this popular series. Paul and Hayley Isaac’s 7 year old cob, Rockstar, ridden by Paul Isaac, lived up to his name and rose to the occasion to take the Supreme Search For A Star Championship in fine style, with the reserve going to the lovely riding horse, Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit, owned and ridden by Zoe Whittle.

rockstarpaulisaac1a  mettlewoodmrfahrenheitzoewhittlereservechamprealtimeimages

The SEIB Search For A Star Finals have become one of the most popular attractions at HOYS and represents a dream come true for those who have qualified for the 6 classes. The Championship is the culmination of the week’s Search For A Star finals and the atmosphere was electric as the winners entered the International Arena to find out who would reign supreme.

The charismatic piebald, Rockstar, went beautifully to take the Search For A Star Cob title on Tuesday then had a nervous wait until Friday for the Supreme. They need not have worried as he took the electric atmosphere of the international arena in his stride and was rewarded afterwards with big cuddles from Paul and Hayley’s 2 year old daughter, Abigail. Paul found himself having to shop for top hat and tails during the week as well as rushing back to West Glamorgan to do a day’s work before heading back to HOYS. Of typical unknown breeding, the cob passed through Goresbridge sales before being acquired by the Isaacs. “I was looking for a show cob 2 years ago, but I thought he might be a bit much for me”, said Hayley. Having ridden when he was younger and been part of the working hunter pony Welsh team, Paul had given up riding to set up his business as a self employed shop fitter in Port Talbot and had not competed for 15 years. But when he and Hayley saw the piebald cob it prompted him to get back in the saddle. Rockstar had done nothing before they got him and they wanted to aim for working cob classes. He won at Four Winds as a Novice, was third in the Novice Cob at Bath and West and qualified for HOYS SFAS at Badgworth, but they have been unable to compete much this year. This was a poignant win for Paul, whose sister, Allison, died 2 months ago. “This is for her, she would have loved it”, added Hayley. Next season, the plan is to do more workers as well as trying coloured and open cob classes. “Nothing phased him, he just took it all in his stride”, said a delighted Paul.

Zoe Whittle and her own Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit kept their cool to take the Riding Horse title and Search For A Star Reserve Supreme in fine style. By Mettlewood Jubilee Tribute out of Zanoora, Zoe has been competing the 5 year old Mr Fahrenheit in part bred arab classes, winning the amateur class at the Cherif championships and standing second in the open class, as well as standing second to Robert Walker at Garstang in the open Riding Horse class. “It has been brilliant, HOYS has lived up to expectations and he behaved perfectly. It is our ambition to qualify in open classes so we can come back again next year!” said Zoe, from Bolton, Lancashire.

David Bartram stood in for published ride judge, Clare Oliver, who had to stand down from duties on the first day of the SEIB Search for a Star finals following a fall the previous day.

Riding Horse/Hack
The Riding Horse/Hack class provided some interesting rides for judge, but Lindsey Needham and Mortomley Twighlight Jasper took the top Hack. Lindsey and the 5 year old Mortomley Twighlight Jasper have had a successful season, qualifying for SFAS at Osbaldeston, then taking second at Cheshire County and 4th at Great Yorkshire in open classes, standing next to professional producers. “This has been amazing. He got a little bit excited today but he was a good boy. You can practice but you can’t recreate the atmosphere in there! I am thrilled to bits and I could not have asked for anything better in our first season” said Lindsay, from Poulton le Fylde. The pair qualified and have been competing as a Riding Horse all season, but the judges thought he should be classified as a Hack. “I was told only a couple of weeks ago that he could do Hack classes, and the judges here have confirmed that, so it will be exciting to come out as a hack next season”, she added. By Classic out of a part bred arab mare, Mortomley Twighlight Jasper will be aimed at Cherif classes next year as well as open show classes.

Riding Club Show Horse
Caroline Hawkins’ lovely grey mare, Kilcara Diamond, took the top spot in the Riding Club Show Horse, having looked foot perfect over the two jumps and given judge David Bartram a good ride. Caroline bought this 7/8 thoroughbred x ID from Goresbridge sales as a 3 year old and together they have competed in many disciplines. This versatile mare has 96 British Dressage points, jumped BSJA to Newcomers level and earned 13 British Eventing points as well as having trained with the British 2* Rural Riders Eventing team as a 7 year old. Caroline’s husband, Simon, learned to ride on the mare and last year Caroline loaned her to a friend to breed a foal. “She is just beautiful to ride, but quite a character. If she was human she would be the heart and sole of the party”, said Caroline, who is a pony club instructor and looks after her two young children, Elizabeth 4, and Jonathan, 10. “It was very different from the warm up. It was a bit scary but she was brilliant”, said Caroline.

Show Hunter
The homebred 5 year old, Exclusively Centre Stage, owned by Debbie Charlesworth and ridden by Emma-Jane Meredith, stood top in the Show Hunter class, with ride judge, Louise Daly. By the TB eventing sire Bazaars Exclusive, out of a Welsh section D mare, Tallyllyn Iana, this bay mare was unbeaten when shown in hand as a 2 and 3 year old. Last year they did the Burghley Young Event Horse and they have only done 2 shows since as Emma-Jane fractured the bottom of her spine and now has a titanium cage holding her together. “She is a pleasure to ride at home, and I trust her. The plan was to go eventing, but with my back injury we decided to try showing instead”, said Emma, who works full time in a bank.

Working Hunter
The working hunter course, incorporating an interesting stonehenge themed combination, produced several good clears and only a few mistakes. 7 were back in for final judging and the top spot went to Sally Ann Needham’s 8 year old grey mare, Waroussia. Sally Anne bought the mare as a 4 year old to show jump, having known her previously when she was with Liane Smith. After 2 foals, Liane sold the mare to Sally Anne to show jump in Amateur, 1m classes. “She is very honest and gives me confidence”, said Sally Ann. They decided to have a go at showing in the sport horse class at Bakewell and then came second at their SFAS qualifier. “This is our first win. It was as tricky course but she did a nice clear and was so well behaved. She is eager to get on with things but uncomplicated and has no malice at all”, added Sally Ann, a farmers wife.

The ponies class produced a popular winner when the show hunter pony Goldun Conquest took top spot ridden by Abbie Dark and owned by Angela Dark. Goldun Conquest is an Irish bred, half Connemara, bought by Angela from Ron and Debbie Thomas as a novice last year. They won last year at local and riding club level but this is their first proper season showing and they notched up championship wins at Breacon and Monmouth. Abbie’s grandmother, Val, was in attendance at HOYS to see the win. “Val has been very ill and we never thought she would see Abbie ride at HOYS, let alone win!” Abbie produces the pony herself and no-one else rides him at home. “We have fantastic hacking on the Gower Peninsular”, said Angela. The top Show Pony went to Diane Shepherd’s Wild Amethyst, ridden by Emma Shepherd. Diane traded in Emma’s small coloured pony for Wild Amethyst 2 years ago and they had to start from scratch as the pony was backed late and had done nothing. Last year they did just local shows and this is their first proper year showing.

Marjorie Ramsay and Robert Oliver judged the Search For A Star classes throughout the week. “I am delighted with our winner. He did a lovely show and is a good example of a show cob”, said Marjorie.

“I am always impressed with the number of people wanting to have a go at Search for a Star, and the standard of horses and ponies coming forward just gets better each year. The atmosphere at HOYS was magical. It is wonderful to be able to give genuine amateur owners and riders this opportunity and I hope that many will go on to further success in open classes. I am also thrilled with the success of the Steward’s competition – our winner had a wonderful week working at HOYS!” says SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie.
SEIB have another success to celebrate on top of a brilliant week at HOYS, they are winners of the ‘Customer Service Provider’ award at the Insurance Age UK Broker awards. This is a National award within the insurance industry and SEIB were voted the best in the UK!

SEIB Search For A Star HOYS Final 2011 Full Results: 

Rockstar (Cob), owned by Paul and Hayley Isaac, ridden by Paul Isaac from West Glamorgan.

Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit (Riding Horse), owned and ridden by Zoe Whittle from Bolton.

Working Hunter
1st, Waroussia, owned and ridden by Sally Needham from Chesterfield.
2nd, Kevin P, owned by Victoria Parry and ridden by Jake Fowles from Newark.
3rd, Madinson, owned and ridden by Rachel Graham from Penrith.

Riding Club Show Horse
1st, Kilcara Diamond, owned and ridden by Caroline Hawkins from Oxfordshire.
2nd, Maximus Tiberius, owned and ridden by Amanda Green.
3rd, Passe Partout, owned and ridden by Simone Renouf.

Show Hunter
1st, Exclusively Centrestage, owned and ridden by Emma-Jayne Meredith from Cheshire.
2nd, Sheer Ambition, owned and ridden by Julie Everett from Barnsley.
3rd, Stradey Hanna, owned by Elizabeth Harries and ridden by Chloe Louise Jones from Carmarthenshire.

1st Show Hunter Pony: Goldun Conquest, owned by Angela Dark and ridden by Abbie Dark from Swansea.
1st Show Pony: Wyld Amethyst, owned by Diane Shepherd and ridden by Emma Shepherd from Lancs.
2nd, Stanhopes Faith and Glory, owned by Faith Crerand and ridden by Eina Crerand from Manchester.
3rd, Just Trouble, owned by Virginia Tidy and ridden by Samantha Tidy from Ipswich.

Riding Horse / Hack
1st Riding Horse: Mettlewood Mr Fahrenheit, owned and ridden by Zoe Whittle from Bolton.
1st Hack: Mortomley Twighlight, owned and ridden by Lindsay Needham.
2nd, Count On Me, owned and ridden by Ellie Brassey from Marlborough.
3rd, Bozley, owned and ridden by Jane Laurie from Huddersfield.

1st, Rockstar, owned by Paul and Hayley Isaac, ridden by Paul Isaac from West Glamorgan.
2nd, Checkpoint Charlie, owned and ridden by Nadia Edgar from Dorking.
3rd, The Hammerman, owned and ridden by Eli Clarke from Loughborough.