Game of Thrones Crowned Supreme SEIB Search For A Star Champion

The 2015 SEIB Insurance Broker Search for a Star series reached a thrilling climax in the International Arena at Horse of the Year Show on Sunday and the atmosphere was electric as the eight Search for a Star Championship winners gave their individual show to see who would take the title. A foot perfect performance sealed the result and the judges, Robert Oliver and Katie Jerram, had no hesitation in choosing the outstanding hunter, Game of Thrones, to be crowned Supreme Champion, with the lovely show pony, Mansion Hill Bertie Bassett taking Reserve.

Game of Thrones, known as Dermot at home, took the SEIB Search for a Star Show Hunter final in fine style earlier in the week, owned and ridden by Kieran Quinn from Port Talbot.   This handsome 4 year old, backed just 7 months ago by Kieran, took everything in his stride all week and kept his cool to give a polished performance.   “I went to Ireland to buy a hunter and saw this horse in a dealer’s field in Kilkenny. The dealer had bought him as a foal but he had grown to big, so he was in the field”, explained Kieran, who brought the horse home and broke him in at the end of January. ‘Dermot’ was bred by Brian Quain in Limerick and has show jumping breeding being by Hannovarian show jumping sire, Tinarana Goldwave, out of an Irish Sport Horse mare, Garranroe Shillelagh. “He was such a lovely horse we thought we should show him, so we had a go at Search for a Star. He is my first ever show horse, and this is only his 5th show”, said Kieran, 28, who works as a welding inspector. He has ridden and hunted all his life and regularly field masters for the Banwen Miners hunt.

“The winner shone from start to finish. This horse is a star and he will make this young man’s entry into successful showing”, said ride judge, Katie Jerram. Game of thrones caught several eyes during the show. “I have had several people enquire after him, but he is not for sale”, said Kieran.


Ten year old Izzy Partridge was first to go out and give her individual show on her mother, Kate Partridge’s striking show pony, Mansion Hill Bertie Bassett. Izzy showed supreme confidence and her pony responded to give a brilliant performance to take reserve spot. Kate bought the eight year old ‘Bert’ last November for Izzy to gain experience in showing. “Izzy works so hard to do well at the shows, we are real amateurs and it is great that with some hard work it is possible to achieve these results”, said Kate. Izzy and Bert do lots of hacking and schooling and have lessons with Jayne Turney. ”He was just brilliant”, said a delighted Izzy.


Now in its nineteenth year, Search for a Star was the brainchild of SEIB Insurance Brokers who still run and support it today. It is exclusively for amateur riders and owners and designed to give these enthusiastic people a chance to compete at the Horse of the Year Show and also to discover new equine talent. SEIB has been providing equestrian insurance for over five decades and is a major player in equestrian insurance.

There was hot competition throughout the classes and the hard work, training and preparation that these competitors have put in since the qualifiers was evident, giving judges, Robert Oliver (conformation) and Katie Jerram (ride) plenty to think about.

The week started with the Riding Horse/Hack class with Abigail Shaw, 27, from Chesterfield taking the Riding Horse title on Robert Sampson’s lovely dark bay mare, Argentina. The 5 year old, by Argento out of Woodlander Italia, was bred by Robert to show jump, and is on loan to Abigail while she matures. The pair have done a one day event and some jump cross and were successful in the Amateur Riding Horse and stood champion at the Festival of Hunting. “We have done lots of hard work, training and looking after her coat before coming here. It is her first year showing and she is quiet and safe, but I didn’t expect this”, said a delighted Abigail, who plans to give the mare a short break after the show and may do some days hunting with the Barlow this winter.

Dowhills Daffi won the Hack section, owned and ridden by Sophie Clark, 25, from Bromsgrove. Sophie bought the mare, by Strinesdale Mastermind out of Millcroft Minadab, as a 6 month old foal from Dowhills Stud and the breeders were at HOYS to see the win. “We went to see a 2 year old, but chose a foal instead”, explained Sophie. Last year was their first season competing locally, and they enjoy hacking and “doing normal things” at home. “I wanted a show hack, and she has been maturing while I have been at uni”, said Sophie, who studied Sport and Community Development at Sheffield and is now working as a teaching assistant at a Special Educational Needs school. “HOYS is something I have dreamed of for years and years. It is amazing!” she said.

The lovely grey gelding, Blitz, did not put a foot wrong to win the Riding Club Show Horse for delighted owner/rider, Lucy May, from Burnley. Blitz had previously been eventing but an injury had put him out of action. He was put out in a field for a year before coming back into work and Lucy bought the horse 18 months ago to do some show jumping. The pair compete most weekends in British Showjumping classes at Myerscough and Aintree and Lucy’s long term aim is to do working hunter. “I am not really a showing person, but I might be now”, she laughed after the win. “Blitz is a real family horse. He hacks and schools and can turn to do whatever we want. It’s a real family effort and I am helped by my mum, who is at home looking after my boys who are at school”, said Lucy.

A proper HOYS working hunter course greeted the finalists in this section, but Charles Morgan and his impressive grey, Cruising On, made nothing of it to take the title. Charles, a farmer from Pembrokeshire, was looking for a horse to do workers and bought the 7 year old grey gelding, by Cruisings Ambassador out of a mare with Clover Hill bloodlines, from Goresbridge sales a year ago. “We have done some show jumping and novice workers. He just keeps on improving and is such a lovely horse to have.   I was just so pleased to be here, I never expected this”, said Charles, who has produced the horse with the help of his wife, Lorna.

Louise Holliday rode her own The Gambler to win the SEIB Search for a Star Cob section in fine style. Louise bought him 2 years ago as an unbroken 6 year old from a friend, Miley Cash, in Ireland, and calls him “Dylan” at home. The horse had been turned out on a farm and had had very little handling when he arrived. The pair were 3rd in the Home Produced class at the National Championships and have done some local shows. “This has been a fantastic experience. He was a bit sharp last year but he has just got better and better”, said Louise, who works full time as a Clinical Nurse Specialist and fits in looking after “Dylan” around her shifts. “He has really come into himself this season. I was so nervous going in there but he held it together. The atmosphere was absolutely electric!”, she said.

The winner of the SEIB Search for a Star Show Hunter Pony section was 15 year old Joshua Conway riding Liam and Debbie Conway’s lovely chestnut gelding, Laithehill Pasha. The family bought the 14 year old ‘Buzz’, as he is known at home, in January and the pair went hunting with the Cheshire Drag last season. “Josh wanted a jumping pony and they loved the hunting, but it was not great for his showing. But he is such a lovely pony we thought we should have a go at Search for a Star”, said Debbie. But they were both lucky to be at HOYS after ‘Buzz’ went lame and had to spend 6 weeks off work during the summer holidays. A change of shoeing sorted the problem and the pair worked hard to prepare for HOYS, and then the family were involved in a car crash just 2 weeks before the show and Josh was quite sore. “But nothing was going to stop us coming to HOYS. Buzz went the best he has ever gone, he couldn’t have gone any better”, said Josh.

“Robert and I were on the same wavelength throughout and he was just great to judge with. There were no disagreements, but when you get horses from up and down the country produced so well, for us to come and judge has been a total pleasure”, said Katie Jerram.

“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 Jordan Cook and Fleetwater Xecutive, who were Search For A Star Champions in 2007 and stood Reserve Champion Hack of the Year this time – it just goes to show that it is possible to go on and win in open classes!” says SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie.


Game of Thrones, owned and ridden by Kieran Quinn
Reserve Champion
Mansion Hill Bertie Bassett, owned by Kate Partridge and ridden by Izzy Partridge

Riding Horse/Hack of The Year
1st Argentina (Riding Horse), owned by Robert Sampson and ridden by Abigail Shaw
1st Dowhills Daffi (Hack), owned by Mrs Melanie Clark and ridden by Sophie Clark
2nd Colbeach Mark of Distinction, owned by N Steele and ridden by Georgina Steele
3rd Runnon Hurricane, owned and ridden by Emma Jayne Paice
4th Equinox, owned and ridden by Shaun Maelor
5th Tallest Peak, owned and ridden by Samantha Wallin

Riding Club Show Horse of the Year
1st Blitz, owned and ridden by Lucy May
2nd Dorissimo, owned by Elaine Hack and ridden by Genevieve Walters
3rd Wendens Ilex, owned and ridden by Caroline Watkin
4th Teffechan Rough Diamond, owned by Alan Bateson and ridden by Alexandra Molesworth St Aubyn
5th Toyd Camomile owned and ridden by Dr Harriet Jarvis

Working Hunter of The Year
1st Cruising On, owned and ridden by Charles Morgan
2nd General Law, owned by Duncan Law and ridden by Sian David
3rd Duke, owned and ridden by Judith Massey
4th Jolly Fergus, owned and ridden by Kath Trueman
5th Magnum Van Overis Z, owned by mark Williams and ridden by Dawn Ross

Cob of The Year
1st The Gambler, owned and ridden by Louise Holliday
2nd Chilli Cob, owned and ridden by Caroline Woodington
3rd Farmhill Big Top, owned and ridden by Kate Branch
4th Dio, owned and ridden by Debbie Clarke
5th The Travelling Man, owned by Joanne Mitchell and ridden by Rachael Franks

Pony/Show Hunter of The Year
1st Laithehill Pasha (Show Hunter Pony) owned by Liam Conway and ridden by Joshua Conway
1st Mansionhill Bertie Basett (Show Pony), owned by Kate Partridge and ridden by Izzy Partridge
2nd Hello Juno, owned by Diane Mulhern and ridden by Shannon Mulhern
3rd Tooreeny Lad, owned and ridden by Charlotte Rees
4th Bevois Crusader, owned by Jean Bentall and ridden by Jorja Coughlan-Smith
5th Pennyroyal Master Pip, owned by Jill Keary and ridden by Erin Keary

Show Hunter of The Year
1st Game of Thrones, owned and ridden by Kieran Quinn
2nd Knockenpower Rory, owned and ridden by Helen Pavey
3rd Just Jaques, owned and ridden by Nadine Willis
4th Abraham’s Quest, owned and ridden by Ceri Simpson
5th The Parishoner, owned and ridden by Ann Partington

SEIB has launched their new SEIB Horse Hive where people can register to be among the first to receive details of dates, venues and entry information for SEIB events, including Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifiers for 2016. The SEIB Horse Hive promises to be buzzing with activity, with exclusive offers, news and information. Visitors can register on the company website or via the Facebook pages.