1st & 2nd Qualifiers for the Final at Horse Show of The Year 

1st, Diamond Cavalier Royale, owned by Elaine Hill and ridden by Stephanie Hill of Calver, Derbyshire
2nd, Forest Bay, owned and ridden by Melanie Dixon of Carlisle

Riding Club Show Horse
1st, Springtime, owned by Lynne Taylor and ridden by Michelle Taylor of Edinburgh
2nd, Annagh Spider Monkey, owned and ridden by Laura Lowcock of Burnley, Lancashire

Show Hunter
1st C Upbeat, owned and ridden by Catherine Dickinson of Clitheroe, Lancashire
2nd, Gold Dust X, owned by Karen Neild and ridden by Stephanie Neild, of Blackburn, Lancashire

1st, Ddeunant Mischief Maker, owned by Alison Jane Ball and ridden by Amy Ball, of Keighley, W Yorkshire
2nd, Burrswood Kismet, owned by Yvonne Siddall and ridden by Charlotte Siddall, of Poulton, Lancashire

Riding Horse Hack
1st Etherow April Affair, owned by Amanda Holloway and ridden by Katie Holloway of Stretford, Manchester
2nd, Persian Silk, owned and ridden by Stephanie Smith of Moreton, The Wirral

1st, Blaze V, owned by Gaynor Fisher and ridden by Nicola Worsley of Knowle Green, Lancashire
2nd, Sir Walter Reilly, owned and ridden by Andrea Pearman of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.


The 2012 South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship qualifiers got underway at Osbaldeston Equestrian Centre, Lancashire on 26th May, where an entry of over 150 competed for the chance to attend The Horse Of The Year Show finals, held at the NEC Birmingham in October.

The day started with the Workers, with conformation judged by Richard Ramsey and ride judges, David Bartram & Matthew Maher Burns. With 17 entries this looked like being a strong class but the course took its toll with a tricky turn to a stile at fence 3 catching out several. With just three clear rounds and a further 6 on 10 faults, 9 horses came back for the final judging.

First place went to Diamond Cavalier Royale, known as Piggles, owned by Elaine Hill and ridden by her daughter, Stephanie Hill, 17, of Calver, near Chatsworth, Derbyshire. Stephanie has had the 12 year old grey gelding since last August. He was bought for show jumping and was nearly grade B level but the pair have done a bit of everything since then and are active members of the High Peak Pony Club. They were chosen as one of 8 partnerships to be part of the Musical Ride team doing a routine to Mama Mia and would have performed at Chatsworth Horse Trials that were cancelled. They will perform the ride as part of the celebrations when the Olympic Torch arrives at Bakewell in June, where Stephanie will have a busy day as she will also be playing the flute in a band at the event.

Elaine says of the horse, “He is a real confidence giver. This is Stephanie’s first horse after riding ponies and he is so versatile”. The pair have done very little showing, but at the local Beaver Hall Show recently they won the Working Hunter and the ridden hunter and stood champion. “It is our dream to go to hoys – we have the HOYS music on in the car all the time but we never dreamed he would be good enough to go”, said Stephanie, who is in 6th form at Lady Manor School in Bakewell. “She has just finished her chemistry exams this week, so this is a real treat”, said Elaine, who rides Piggles in the week to help Stephanie out. The pair train with Lianne Smith, an accredited SJ coach, and at Pony Club and they have competed in team show jumping and dressage with the High Peak Pony Club

Second place Forest Bay, known as “Billy”, owned and ridden by Melanie Dixon. This 7 year old bay gelding is home bred, by And Beyond, a local TB stallion, out of a homebred show hunter mare. He was bred to compete as an eventer, but Melanie became ill and had to sell her horses. Billy was the only one she kept as he was growing up. Once her illness was under control she broke him in and started eventing him as a 5 year old but there were more setbacks. “He got a leg injury and had to have all last year off, so he has only come back into work this year”, explained Melanie. “He is now fit and well but with so many events cancelled, we needed an outing and I thought we would give this a go. He has never done any showing before”, she said. The pair qualified for a regional eventing final last year but they were unable to go because of his leg injury. “We have regular training with Tracy Harmer, but I was able to take up some valuable tuition with JP Sheffield after winning a training award from the Event Horse Owners Association”, said Melanie, who runs The Plough Inn at Wreay and is chef so had to get someone to cover today. “You always hope of doing well, not really expecting anything. I could not even get anyone to come as a helper today, so I have had to do it on my own – but he is so easy it is not a problem at all”, said Melanie.

Riding Club Show Horse
After the 14 entries had tackled the trotting poles and a rustic and a show jump, 8 were brought forward for judging after the jumping phase. First place went to Springtime, known as “sunny”, owned by Lynn Taylor and ridden by her daughter, Michelle Taylor. They bought the13 year old Dutch Warmblood gelding as a show jumper from Williams Sport Horses and have had him just over 2 years. “We were looking for a horse that could jump and they found him for us”, said Lynn. “His favourite pastime is hacking. Last year we discovered that he was quite good at working hunters and showing, so we have abandoned show jumping for the time being”, said Michelle. Last year they were reserve champions in the Pony Club Show Jumping Championship at Draycott in August, representing the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Pony Club and they will do team show jumping for the Ponly Club and for Almond Riding Club again this year. They have also qualified for RIHS in the workers at Blair this year and still have some qualifiers to do. “We are looking forward to going to Hickstead RIHS in July in workers, and we are also trying to qualify for a ridden hunter class. We were 4th in workers this morning but this is the only Search For A Star qualifier we can get to as we have had to travel 4 ½ hours from Edinburgh. We will also have a go at the HOYS worker qualifier at highland show”, said Michelle, 21, who works as a part time nanny after leaving University last year. “He is very charismatic and sometimes tries to eat his reins, but he does anything and was a really good find”, she says of her equine partner who is kept at yard at Shotts, 45min from Edinburgh. Michelle travels 6 days a week to ride and look after her horse.

Second place went to Annagh Spider Monkey, known as “Monarch” owned and ridden by Laura Lowcock. Laura has owned the 8 year old chestnut gelding for 3 years, having bought him to show and do workers. “But I was a bit novice and it is taken me a long time to be able to do what I wanted with him”, explained Laura. “Now we can do anything and really enjoying jumping. Last week he qualified for the RIHS with a friend – I was too nervous – as a small hunter, and I can’t go to RIHS as I am getting married in July”. Laura has already had some success having done dressage and won a local riding club hunter class. “I wanted to do a bit of everything. It was our aim to qualify to HOYS. The last 6 months have really made a difference and we have done everything. He has given me lots of confidence”, said Laura, 27, who works in the family pub, The Pendle Inn at Barley, Lancs, and keeps the horse at home on their farm.

Ridden Hunter
The Ridden Hunters were judged by Richard Ramsey, David Ingle (ride) and Matthew Maher Burns (ride). This was a strong hunter class and with 23 horses forward it was split into two sections before final judging.

First place went to C Upbeat, known as Louis, owned and ridden by 24 year old Catherine Dickinson. The horse arrived at their livery yard as a yearling from his breeder and Catherine bought him as a 2 year old. He has not been without his problems – as a 2 year old he nearly died with Colitis, and at 3 he got pneumonia. He was broken last year and shown in hand at local shows. This is his first season in novice ridden classes. “I have been working towards this for a year. We only live just down the road and I wanted to do this. We have also tried doing workers but he is a bit green but he is really a good all-rounder”. We are quite new to this and we need to prepare for shows and go to more atmospheric shows to prepare for HOYS”, said Catherine, who is self-employed and works as a personal trainer.

Second place went to Gold Dust X, known as “Dusty”, a 5 year old grey mare ridden by Stephanie Neild, 19, and owned by her mother, Karen Neild. This mare is home bred, by Blu Hors Romanov, out of Golddigger, a sport horse mare who was also homebred. “She is bred for dressage but she can do any job. She can jump and has had a go at doing working hunter which she did calmly and sensibly”, explained Karen. The mare was shown in hand before she was broken and was a regular winner, including Newark & Notts and The Great Yorkshire Show. This is her first season under saddle and Steph and Dusty won their first novice hunter at Church Farm. The mare also won the Spring Breeders North West Show in the Blue Chip Flat Ridden Class, ridden by Anne Hartley. “We plan to do some young event horse classes and dressage. She is really laid back and I don’t think she will be bothered by the atmosphere at HOYS”, says Steph, who has had a gap year and will go to Liverpool University to study veterinary science in September.

Judge, David Ingle, said “These were the best hunters since I have been doing this series. We were spoilt for choice and had 2 absolutely super 5 year olds”.

Richard Ramsey judged the ponies and another strong class with 19 entries was split for preliminary judging. In the final shake up, first place went to the lovely show pony, Ddeunant Mischief Maker, known as “Boss”, owned by Jane Ball and ridden by her daughter, Amy Ball, 11. This pure Welsh section B pony was bought un-backed for £500 at Clithero market. “He was backed and brought on at home. We were going to produce him as an M&M but he moved so well he has now become a show pony”, said Jane. This is Amy’s second pony, having previously competed on lead rein, and they tasted success when they came 4th at White Rose County Show and qualified for Trail Blazers at Barton. “This is our biggest success so we are absolutely delighted”, said Jane. Amy, who is a student at Harden Primary School, helps her mother looking after the pony. “He is not spooky at all, he has never bucked. He will be brilliant at HOYS”, she said. The pair now head to the BSPS show at Doncaster and also do some dressage.

Second place went to Burrswood Kismet, known as “Darcy”, owned by Yvonne Siddall and ridden by daughter, Charlotte Siddall. The 6 year old bay gelding by Aston Showtime, out of Nancherrow, was bred by Sharon Hill at Carhouse Stud, Pilling, and sold to Yvonne as a 3 year old. “He was sent away to be broken as he is a bit of a character. I have had a few falls”, said Charlotte, 20, who also suffered a car accident recently and has only just started riding again. Last year Charlotte had her appendix out in May and missed most of the season. They did manage to compete at Ponies UK and won the novice intermediate show riding type and stood Champion. “We will try to qualify for Ponies UK again this year, but this has really been our ambition”, said Charlotte, who is training to be a primary school teacher at the University of Cumbria. They plan to compete at The Great Yorkshire Show and Cheshire County to try to qualify for HOYS Small Intermediate Show Riding Type and also plan to compete at the Derbyshire festival. When it comes to looking after the horses, Charlotte’s mum, Yvonne, helps out, “We do it together. He is quite cheeky, letting himself out, then letting the other pony out and then they go off to the nearest field. Our other pony is a Connemara, so this is a learning curve. I’ve had to learn how to do quarter marks and plaiting”, explained Yvonne. “We really wanted to do this. Charlotte’s grandparents are really supportive but they are 85 and could not be here today. They will be delighted that she has qualified”, she added.

Riding Horse and Hack
Judges Richard Ramsey, David Bartram and David Ingle had their work cut out again with 24 entries splitting the class before the final judging. First place went to the hack, Etherow April Affair, known as “April”, ridden by Katie Holloway, 15, and owned by her mother, Amanda Holloway. Amanda went to buy a hunter to hack out on but fell in love with April and bought her 3 years ago, unbroken. “She looked like a woolly mammoth in her winter coat, but she had beautiful eyes!” said Amanda. Then daughter, Katie, pinched her and she has done all the work. She backed her and started riding her last year, going to a few local and Pony Club shows. She qualified for the Sherif Championship first time out at Cheshire County where she came 8th in the Concours side saddle. They have qualified again this year and have also done some BSPS shows. “We came to Osbaldeston for the experience. I thought she is well behaved now, so will have a go. HOYS has been our target – dad said recently if I cannot qualify in 10 years then probably should give up”, enthused Katie. “She loves attention, so now I will get friends to come round and practice noise and applause to get her used to is before HOYS”, said a delighted Katie. I get lots of help from my instructor, Kelly Chiltern, who is amazing and also from Vicky Harrison, who has her horse on our yard and has acted as groom and helper for 2 seasons”, she added. Does April have a party trick? “She smiles for her tea! She is really a bit of a princess”, said Katie, who is a student at Flixton Girls School. “Katie has an interview for head girl on Tuesday and this is definitely going on her CV!” said Amanda.

Second place went to the Riding Horse, Persian Silk, known as “Smally”, owned and ridden by Stephanie Smith. Steph bought the 5 year old bay mare 2 years ago, unbroken, with the intention of producing her as a show horse. She has backed and brought on the mare herself and did a couple of small shows last year. This is their first proper season showing but they have also done a few riding club shows and farm rides, and they like jumping for fun. “I have been to SFAS lots of times with other horses, but we have never been successful. I really hoped this time might be it! It has been my long term dream to qualify for HOYS over 17 long years!” Smally is a thoroughbred and was bred to race but never went into training. “My next plan is a week’s holiday, then Cheshire County Show for the Novice Riding Horse. She has a personality, especially when led in hand. She really likes to play in the paddock”, said Steph who is about to graduate in criminology from John Moors University, but she is planning to work in a care home.

In the last class of the day, the judges, Richard Ramsey, David Bartram and Matthew Maher Burns, had 19 ridden Cobs to assess. The class includes Maxi Cobs for the first time this year. First place went to Gaynor Fisher’s 5 year old mare, Blaze V, ridden by Nicola Worsley. Nicola has Blaze on loan and backed her last year as a 4 year old and did a couple of local shows. This year they went to the British Show Horse Association show and came first and champion Novice Cob and second in the Amateur class. Nicola keeps Blaze at home and is helped by her sister, Christina, and mum, Susan. “We live only 4 miles away from Osbaldeston and we came along just to see if she would behave herself!” said Nicola. And she was impeccable. Nicola wanted to show but when they first got Blaze she had a long mane and feathers. “We decided to clip it all off and see what she looked like. We have some great before and after pictures! The owner bought her from a farm sale because she felt sorry for her”, said Nicola, who works full time for Wynstay Animal Health, managing their Skipton store. “She is so easy and has a heart of gold. She is a bit different from our other horses which are all hunters. She is not mareish at all and is not fazed by anything. This is a hobby. You think about going to HOYS, but never expect to qualify”, she said.

Second place went to Sir Walter Reilly, known as Walter, owned and ridden by Andrea Pearman. Andrea got the 6 year old bay gelding last summer when he was advertised on HorseQuest. He had not been shown before and Andrea was looking for a show horse and hunter, and also wanted something that could jump. She plans to have a go at working hunters later this year. Last year they did Equifest and have qualified again this year. So far this year they have won at Hadleigh, qualifying for the RIHS as a LW cob, and won at Ponies UK Winter Championships. “We have travelled 6 hours from Suffolk as this was the only qualifier that I was free to do. SFAS was my aim for this year, and it is a dream to qualify. We have still got lots to learn, but we have plenty of time to practice before HOYS”, she said. “You can’t touch his ears so hogging is fun. He is very head shy but he is getting better and otherwise he is lovely”. The pair plan to do the working cob at Suffolk show and Equifest but getting to HOYS was their main ambition. Andrea, from The Jayes EC, Bury St Edmunds, was delighted to be in the saddle for a change. “I run an Equestrian Centre so we are always running shows for others to compete”.

Spiller Weighbridge
The Spillers Weighbridge was kept busy all day with enquiries. Spillers Brand Development Manager, Isabel Harker, weighed over 20 horses of a variety of types and gave advice on feeding and condition. “People are more and more interested in getting their horses in the right condition, and it was great to see some horses come back that I had seen here 2 years ago”, she said. Spillers also gave prizes to the first and second in each class.

Absorbing Prizes
Absorbine grooming products have long been associated with impeccable turnout, particularly in the show ring, and they were pleased to give a bottle of ShowSheen 2-in-1 Shampoo or ShowSheen Stain Remover and Whitener to the first and second place in each class. Their ShowSheen hair polish and detangler is renowned and this brand has recently been expanded to include the shampoo and stain remover.

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship and Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, 3rd – 7th October 2012, at NEC, Birmingham.