Congratulations to everyone who took part in the 2012 SEIB Search For A Star Finals at HOYS. Everyone had worked so hard to prepare and the standard and quality was superb.

Full Report

Moonshine takes monster victory in SFAS

The 2012 South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For a Star Championship reached a thrilling conclusion in the International Arena at the Horse Of The Year Show when Nicola Wilkes took the Supreme Championship riding her husband, Anthony’s impressive Show Hunter, Rustic Midnight Moonshine. The reserve went to the lovely Riding Club Show Horse, Annagh Spider Monkey, owned and ridden by Laura Lowcock. The judges, Richard Ramsay and Katie Jerram, and ride Judge Clare Oliver, had a difficult decision to make and Richard Ramsay commented that the result was very close.

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.

Rustic Midnight Moonshine looked as though he owned the arena as he performed an exemplary individual show without putting a foot wrong. “I am totally in shock”, said Nicola afterwards. “He felt fantastic and really rose to the occasion”. This has been a special week for Nicola and Anthony who were spending their honeymoon at HOYS. “We got married in March and planned to go to Australia for our honeymoon. Then we qualified for HOYS and so we have spent the ticket money coming here instead”, said a delighted Anthony.

The 6 year old bay mare, known as “Monster” at home, is by Ski Dancer out of Rustic Dancer. Anthony has had the mare since she was 2 ½ years old, and bought her from the breeders, Mr and Mrs Evans, in Carmarthen, West Wales, who continue to follow her progress. She did some in hand showing and won at the Royal Welsh and Royal Cornwall as a 3 year old before going away to be backed. “I bought her to hunt with the Glamorgan and the Pentyrch and do some showing, but we never dreamed that we would get to HOYS”, said Anthony. They had done some showing locally and had some success at unaffiliated level, and have also started doing some workers. “We were third at a qualifier last year and the judge told us to go home and build her up. She needed to mature, so we did our home work and it seems to have made a difference” said Nicola. The mare will hunt this season with Anthony and Nicola plans to do open show classes and some workers with her next year. “She is a lovely jumper”, added Anthony. Nicola works full time as a sales rep in engineering and the couple do the horses in the morning and evenings to fit them in around work. “Search For a Star has given us this wonderful opportunity and I am so grateful to SEIB, and all those who have supported us, for making it possible”, said an emotional Nicola. Judge, Richard Ramsey commented “This hunter is a big horse, but very elegant. He has enormous quality, and is a real show horse with still more to come”. Katie Jerram added, “He moved well, gave a super ride and stripped really well”.


There were tears of joy for Laura Lowcock who stood Reserve Champion with her own Annagh Spider Monkey, winner of the Riding Club Show Horse class. “He was such a good boy, it was brilliant”, she enthused after the championship. Known at home as ‘Monarch’, Laura has owned this lovely 8 year old chestnut gelding for 3 years having bought him off the internet to show. “He was cold backed to begin with but we worked through it and now he is fine”, said a delighted Laura, whose friend, Amy Smith, has helped. They started competing 2 years ago at riding club level and have done dressage, x-country and a mini event. Laura wanted to do workers but was very nervous. “A year ago I could not have gone in there, but he has really boosted my confidence”, said Laura, who got married in July. She works in the family pub, The Pendle Inn at Barley, and keeps Monarch at home. Judge, Richard Ramsay, said, “This horse stood out from the moment he walked in to the arena for the preliminary judging, he is the sort of horse that you would be happy to let anyone ride and know he would give them a nice ride”.

Riding Horse/Hack
The week started with a very strong Riding Horse/Hack class, with Jo Brew’s Devil or Angel taking the Hack and Jasmin Hosgood’s Rubins Star Attraction taking the Riding Horse title, both going forward to the Championship. Jo was delighted with her 8 year old bay mare by Devil’s Jump who is competing in her first open year. As they live on the Isle of Man it is not easy for them to compete on the mainland. “We come over for a couple of weeks at a time and stay at Osbaldeston”, explained Jo. The pair were 3rd at Lincs County and 4th at Garstang in HOYS qualifiers and 2nd and reserve champion large hack at Equifest. “I had her full sister, and asked the breeder for first refusal on another foal. They honoured their word and I have had this one since she was a foal”, explained Jo, who backed her and broke her in with help from Hilary Shimmin and Jeanette Powell. “It was my dream to compete at HOYS and I finally heard that I had earned qualification after Equifest”, said Jo, who had to rearrange her ferry home so that she could stay at HOYS for the Championship.

The winning Riding Horse was Rubin Star Attraction, ridden by Jazmin Hosgood, 20, and owned by her father, Paul Hosgood. The Hosgoods bought Rubin, a 4 year old bay gelding, when he was just backed to show and he has been brought on by Jazmin and Paul. The gelding is by Diptford Star Attraction and was bred by Sandra Rogers in Devon. Jasmin and Rubin Star Attraction have had a successful year, standing second to Jayne Webber in the Open riding horse class at the British Riding Horse show at Hand, 4th in Open riding horse and 4th in the Novice at Devon County and 4th in Open riding horse at Bath & West. “He felt amazing. We came up to HOYS on Tuesday and he settled in very well. If he has food he is happy”, said Jazmin, who aims to do workers next season. As well as teaching Rubin Star Attraction to jump over the winter, she will also be riding in point to points, following in her father’s footsteps. “I have always wanted to ride at HOYS. I have ridden at the Royal International but dad always sold the ponies before we could get to HOYS”, said Jazmin.

Melanie Dixon, riding her own Forest Bay, jumped a foot perfect round and showed impeccable manners to win the workers in fine style on Thursday. It was a fitting celebration for Melanie who bred the 7 year old gelding, by the thoroughbred stallion, And Beyond, out of her own 7/8th thoroughbred hunter broodmare, Hunters Promise. When Melanie became ill a few years ago and could not look after the horses, she had to sell the mare and her progeny and very sadly, the mare died soon after being sold. Forest Bay, known as “Billy” at home, was just a very gangly youngster and not ready to sell, so she kept him, but as a gelding he is the last of the line of horses she bred from the mare. Once her illness was under control she broke him in and started eventing as a 5 year old. Then he got a leg injury and had all last year off, coming back into work this year. However with so many events cancelled due to the weather, they needed an outing and having never done any showing before, Melanie decided to have a go, and the SFAS qualifier was nearby. “You always hope to do well, but I was not really expecting anything and could not believe it when we qualified”, said Melanie, who runs The Plough Inn at Wreay, near Carlisle, and is also the chef – pastries are her speciality. Regular riding instructor, Tracy Harmer, said, “Mel has put in a lot of hard work, concentrating on flat work to get him to connect. He is a big horse, and so it has not been easy”. The win rounded out a fabulous week for Melanie, who has bought a yearling filly, Louella Primitive Promise, and won the Yearling Section of the BEF Futurity Eventing Final at Osberton Horse Trials last weekend.
Richard Ramsay commented that this was a very athletic type, and Ride judge, Clare Oliver, commented that all the horses were forward going and coped well with the atmosphere. “The winner jumped very well, getting himself out of trouble, and then gave me a lovely ride”, she added.

Two ponies go through to the championship from this hotly contended class, with Hideaway Jamaica Inn, ridden by 14 year old Natasha Taylor, taking the Show Pony Title, and Courtland JP Charmer, ridden by 15 year old Vicky Nicholls, the winning Show Hunter Pony.
Known as ‘Jimmy’ at home, Bev Taylor’s lovely show pony, Hideaway Jamaica Inn, was a Christmas present last year as Natasha had outgrown her 13.2 pony. The pair have enjoyed success this year, with a first and second place at Pony of the Year Show, a win at the Northern Counties Ponies Association Spring Spectacular, and 3rd in the Part-bred Arab class at Cheshire county.
He is by Joyce Newbury’s pony stallion, Ardenhall Missoni, out of Hideaway May Mirackle and was bred by Paula Shepheard in Devon, who made the trip to HOYS to watch him win. “I am delighted. This is the second pony I have bred that has got to the final of SFAS, Hideaway Night Thyme qualified in 2010”, said Paula.
“It has been Natasha’s dream to ride at HOYS since she started riding when she was 3 years old”, says Bev. “I am kind of speechless!” said Natasha, “he behaved so well, he knew he had done well”. Jimmy is kept close to home at the Dean Valley livery yard and Natasha does all the work herself after school. She has riding lessons with Tony French and attends Marple Hall School in Stockport.
“This is a cracking pony, with an amazing front, a good amount of limb, very elegant and pleasure to watch”, commented Katie Jerram
Michelle Nicholls’ Show Hunter Pony, Courtland JP Charmer, went beautifully for her daughter, 15 year old Vicky Nicholls, to earn a place in the Championship. “He took it all in his stride”, said a delighted Vicky. The pair stood first and reserve champion amateur Show Hunter Pony and reserve champion concours at Equifest recently. “Vicky does all the work herself at home”, said Michelle. “This is a fantastic opportunity for people like us to get to HOYS. Our lorry broke down when we arrived, and as we are insured by SEIB we are very glad of their breakdown service”, she added. Michelle has owned the pony for 3 years and they have had various successes, mainly in part-bred Arab classes, including standing top at Royal London last year. Vicky, a student at Oakgrove school, Milton Keynes, has also started riding side saddle and they compete in dressage at prelim level.
The win will encourage Vicky to achieve her ambition to work in showing and eventually become a producer.

Judged on Friday before the championship, this was a strong class but the judges were clear about what they wanted. As the horses showed their paces during the go-round, Katie Jerram commented that she likes to see the horse come off the corner and into their stride as they lengthen. On conformation, Richard Ramsey explained that he is looking for a broad chest, short cannon, good depth and a matching set of feet.
Haley Shippey’s lovely cob, General George, took the top spot and a place in the championship. The 8 year old Irish Draft x Thoroughbred is thought to have been bred in Ireland but his breeding is unknown. Hayley bought him just backed through the local paper when she was looking for a cob to show. “He is very brave and gets me out of trouble when we are out hunting”, said Hayley, who goes out regularly with the Fitzwilliam or West Norfolk. “He is quite a character but a real gent at home, although he likes to get out of his headcollar and go for a walk around when we are at shows”, she said. General George had also qualified for the Open Lightweight Cob class, which she is entitled to do as it takes place after the SFAS championship, and was pulled in a very creditable 9th place.
Katie Jerram commented after the class, “it was lovely to judge and very close. I was impressed with standard and every single cob is a proper cob”. Clare Oliver added, “The winner gave a lovely ride, steady and mannerly. The standard gets better each year.”

Richard Ramsay was standing as Judge for Robert Oliver. “I am very sorry for Robert, who is not well, but it is wonderful fun for me to come back and see all the horses and the work and improvement that has gone into them. While people might think I have judged them before, HOYS is so utterly different that it is like looking at them all with completely fresh eyes, and in many cases the horses have changed so much since they qualified that you don’t recognise them”, said Richard.
Katie Jerram was enthusiastic about the standard and quality of the entries. “This is my first year judging SFAS and I have never even watched because I am usually so busy. The standard of ponies in this class, and the quality is really good. In the workers, there was not one refusal, there was positive riding and a lot of work has been done to get here. I am flattered to be asked and overwhelmed by the quality and you know they will will come back and be seen again.

Former SFAS Finalist takes Supreme Hunter title
Search For A Star also celebrated the success of a former finalist. Jenna Tyldesly and Tudor Minstral, who were second in the SFAS final in 2010, won the Open LW Hunter of the year and went on to take the Supreme Show Hunter of the Year title. They then added the Ladies Hunter title to their championship haul. “I really just can’t believe it. It is just 2 years ago that I did SFAS and to come back and win 2 Championships is unbelievable”, said Jenna, adding that Tudor Minstral is never for sale. It has been a meteoric rise to the top. Last year the qualified and competed in the LW Hunter and Ladies at HOYS but were not placed. “Just to get here in Open classes was an achievement. This year we struggled to qualify and only got through in the Lightweights 3 weeks ago, which was our last chance to get through”, said Jenna, whose hope was to get pulled into the line-up in the final. “We were pulled in second, but I didn’t expect to win at all. It is so hard against the professionals”. Jenna works full time running the family livery and riding school. “We have 95 DIY liveries and 35 riding school horses and ponies and I also look after 50 college students who come to us one day a week. I start work at 8am and often don’t finish until 6pm, so I have to do my own horses before and after work. Luckily he is very easy to do and does not need a lot of work. And I am lucky to have the support of my mum and dad, who drive me everywhere to shows”. Jenna has had little time for training but has had a couple of lessons with Louise Bell and Lynda Cadman teaches her side saddle. “I have just kept working on it at home and David Bartram helped me a lot after Search For A Star. I hope that this will encourage others to keep going, and proves that people can achieve their dreams”.
“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. I am so thrilled with the success of Tudor Minstral who was a Search For A Star finalist 2 years ago – it just goes to show that it is possible to go on and win in open classes!” says SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie.

SEIB Search For A Star – HOYS Results, 2012
Champion, Rustic Midnight Moonshine, owned by Anthony Wilkes and ridden by Nicola Wilkes
Reserve, Annagh Spider Monkey, owned and ridden by Laura Lowcock

Riding Horse/Hack
1st Hack, Devil or Angel, owned and ridden by Jo Brew
1st Riding Horse, Rubins Star Attraction, owned and ridden by Jazmin Hosgood
2nd, Donatella, owned and ridden by Jan Palmer
3rd, Oh Star II, owned and ridden by Holly Simmonds
4th, Red Leprechaun, owned and ridden by Caroline Cooper
5th, Millyn Solitaire, owned by Joan Shearstone and ridden by Chrissie Shearstone

Riding Club Show Horse
1st, Annagh Spider Monkey, owned and ridden by Laura Lowcock
2nd, Country News Flash, owned and ridden by Amy Teare
3rd, Dazzling Destiny, owned and ridden by Courtnay Argyle
4th, Finn, owned and ridden by Rebecca Thompson
5th, Spring Fever, owned and ridden by Kate Andrews

Working Hunter
1st, Forest Bay, owned and ridden by Melanie Dixon
2nd, Hans II, owned by Karin Fitton and ridden by Elizabeth Mantel
3rd, Broomfield Brazil, owned by Clare Crocker and ridden by Alice Crocker
4th, Diamond Cavalier Royale, owned by Elaine Hill and ridden by Stephanie Hill
5th, Amazing, owned and ridden by Clare Wilson

Show Hunter
1st, Rustic Midnight Moonshine, owned by Antony Wilkes and ridden by Nicola Wilkes
2nd, C.Upbeat, owned and ridden by Catherine Dickison
3rd, Llynfi Valley Colorado, owned by Robert Kerse and ridden by Christopher Penfold
4th, Casper Van Overis Z, owned and ridden by Jasmine Kearey
5th, Oat Lane Ninja, owned by Barbara Beercock and ridden by Robert Shaw

1st Show Pony, Hideaway Jamaica Inn, owned by Beverley Taylor and ridden by Natasha Taylor
1st Show Hunter Pony, Courtland JP Charmer, owned by Michelle Nicholls and ridden by Vicky Nicholls
2nd, Bathleyhills Chocolate Dream, owned by Penny Walster and ridden by Shannon Bridson
3rd, Hindleap Dainty Daisy, owned by Trudi Sage and ridden by Katie Higgins
4th, Ddeunant Mischief Maker, owned by Alison Jane Ball and ridden by Amy Ball
5th, Royal Park Peters Dream, owned by Kathryn Farrow and ridden by Morgan Farrow

1st, General George, owned and ridden by Hayley Shippey
2nd, Regents Park, owned by M Cracroft-Eley, ridden by Caroline Heard
3rd, Alfie Moon, owned by Felicity Comber and ridden by Emily Comber
4th, Horton’s Vortigern, owned and ridden by Dominique Pizzingrilli
5th, Sir Walter Reilly, owned and ridden by Andrea Pearman