Impressive Turnout at Osbaldeston Qualifier

The first qualifier of the 2014 South Essex insurance Brokers (SEIB) Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse series took place recently at Osbaldeston Riding Centre in Lancashire. A large entry saw many of the classes split for the initial judging, allowing competitors a fair opportunity to show their paces in the indoor arena and giving regular SFAS judges Richard Ramsay (Conformation) and David Bartram (Ride), plenty to think about. They were assisted by Matthew Mayher-Burns as second ride judge. The Racehorse to Riding Horse class was popular as ever, judged by Ros Hargreaves and Nicky Taylor (ride).Working hunter
A bold course challenged the 18 strong entry in the first class of the day, producing 9 clears to go forward for the final judging. First place went to Mrs Susan Hall’s lovely grey gelding, Whisper, ridden by her daughter, Rebecca, with a foot perfect jumping round and impeccable manners. The 10 year old Dutch Warmblood is by Carland and was bred to jump. Rebecca, 21, from Hambleton, Lancashire, has been riding since she was 3 years old and has owned Wisper for 4 years. The pair have done some show jumping but Rebecca likes showing and so they decided to do working hunter classes to combine the two.With no outdoor arena to practice for shows, Rebecca and Wisper do lots of hacking and riding on the beach, as well as some indoor jumping. “It was my main aim to try to qualify for HOYS, I have always wanted to go since I was tiny, it is so exciting, I am overwhelmed. The hard work starts now”, said a delighted Rebecca. The pair are trained by Pam Prickett and attend working hunter clinics at Myerscough. They have won several classes at local level and plan to compete at county shows including Cheshire County, Great Yorkshire and Westmoorland shows this summer.Rebecca works on a farm and has 10 horses at home, including two welsh section D show ponies that she would also like to qualify for HOYS. “We are right in the middle of lambing at the moment so I have to fit in doing the horses around work. Wisper is quite a character, he is brave and a gentleman”, she added.

Second place went to Silk Town Obsidian, known as Sid, owned by John Dunning and ridden by his son, Tom Dunning, from Macclesfield. Sid is a 6 year old homebred by Brief Encounter out of Milltime Annestasia, bred on Jumbo lines. His 5 year old half sister, Silk Town Amber, by Gigolo, was also in the class, ridden by Tom’s partner, Holly Harling, and took 5th place. Both horses are out of Milltime Annestasia, who was bred by Lester Miller who now trains Tom and Holly. “They were bred as jumpers and Sid has taken time to develop”, explained Tom. “We hunted them together and they are a good “his and hers” pair”, he joked.

Having attended their first show at Ashbourne last year, Tom is planning a full season of competitions this season and entered working hunter classes at Great Yorkshire, Cheshire and Ashbourne shows this year. “We will also aim for the Ruth Lears Novice Working hunter championships at BSPS summer champs”, said Tom, who works full time in the family business producing wild bird food for supermarkets and fits in doing the horses before and after work. “Sid is a big, friendly character, a really nice chap. We will see how he copes with HOYS”.

Riding club show horse
Another strong class with 20 entries was split into two groups for preliminary judging including two jumps and trotting poles. A wavy white show jump towards the gallery caused some problems. First place went to Kate Waddington from Leigh, Lancashire, and her own 6 year old grey gelding, Devlish Rebel.

Kate bought rebel as an unbroken 3 year old out of Ireland and has brought him on herself. He hunted as a 3 year old and did some ridden flat show classes as a 4 year old. Last year he suffered a back injury when he slipped on black ice. “He did the splits and put his pelvis and spine out. He had lots of physio, and we were only able to do a couple of flat classes last season.

He came back in to work this year and this is only his second show”, said Kate, whose best previous results include second in the sport horse working hunter class and 4th in the sport horse flat show class at Cheshire, and 1st and 3rd and in the top 10 in the evening performance at Equifest. The pair plan to do some show jumping and eventing, and some more showing this year.

“I don’t think we will hunt again as I am afraid of getting him injured, but he is brave and does love to jump, he is a real honest horse and he is brilliant with the kids”, said Kate, whose two sons, Jack, 5 and Sonny, 2, were supporting their mum at the show, along with husband, Ben. “At home they play with their toy cars outside the arena and it is good as the horse gets used to everything, even Ben driving the forklift”, explained Kate.

Kate is a full time mum and works on the family farm with her father, Mark Lancashire, raising cattle and sheep. “My Dad is the rock of my life and has always supported me. My brother Tom said we would never manage to get to HOYS, so I set out to prove him wrong”, said a delighted Kate.

Second place went to Mrs Carol Lewis’s 7 year old gelding, The Joker, ridden by her daughter, Leshka Torskyj, from Barnoldswick, Lancashire. “Joey” as he is known at home, is home bred and was backed and brought on by Carol and Leshka. Carol had Joey’s mother for 20 years and had competed with her in working hunter and ridden hunter pony classes but sadly she died last Christmas. Joey is by the eventing stallion, The Humourist, and loves jumping and doing workers.

“He tries anything and does cross country. He is a goof ball and likes to have fun. He has a big character”, said Leshka. Last year the pair won a gold medal at the Show Jumping Championships of Great Britain at the David Broom Centre, and also had success at the North West Show Jumping Championships and the North West Intermediate Working Hunter Championships. “We came 6th in the working hunter today and it was the biggest course we have ever jumped, and then to do this is brilliant”, said a delighted Leshka, 20, who is studying for a degree in Equine Science and management at Myerscough University. “This is the first time we have done anything like this. I always wanted to get to HOYS and I really wanted to have a go with Joey”, she added.

Riding Horse/Hack
A good quality entry of 22 competitors meant that this class had to be split for preliminary judging. First place went to Ingleby Hill, owned and ridden by Shelley Heywood, 42, from Sheffield. “We call him “Foaly” because he looked like a foal when I got him”, explained Shelley. Ingleby Hill was bred as a racehorse, by Averti out of Living Daylights, but was placed only twice in 16 starts on the flat and over hurdles. “He was too laid back to race and I bought him as a “happy hacker””, said Shelley. “Someone suggested having a go at showing and I got talked into it”.

Shelley is helped by her friend, Rebecca Gribben, and they worked on retraining “foaly” together. He is kept at Rebecca’s family farm and her mother, Cathy Gribbon is also part of the team, helping at home. Their first show this year was Ponies UK Winter Championships where they were placed second in the Open Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) and 3rd in the Novice ROR, qualifiying for the ROR final at Hickstead. “We did a few local shows last year and this is only our second show this year. He is just a beautiful personality. He is known by my friends on Facebook as Mr F”, said a delighted Shelley.

“He has taken some time to retrain, and we have spent hours in rain and snow, hacking and schooling and dealing with his nerves. He is laid back but he can get the jitters”, said Rebecca. “And I have had to work on my nerves too”, added Shelley. “He gets turbo mix food, and we have done lots of work schooling, riding round the field and he has gone fab today. I can’t believe it, I will go back to work with a smile”, said Shelley, who works as a tax inspector for HMRC. Rebecca, who has two ponies that she shows in mountain and moorland classes, works with heavy machinery in the oil industry and the girls fit in doing the horses around their full time jobs, helping each other at home and at shows.

Second place went to Timeless Girl, known as “Thyme”, owned and ridden by Eleanor Askey-Goldsborough, 18, of Middlefield, near Chesterfield. Eleanor has owned the 11 year old bay mare for 3 years and bought her just to hack and do a bit of everything. “We tried some local shows but never thought we would do this! She gets a bit podgy, so she is worked every day, but she doesn’t like rain and hates being bathed”, explained Eleanor. “We have done lots of schooling and hacking but she doesn’t do jumping as she is a bit clumsy. She even managed to pull off a shoe before the class today”.

The mare is a thoroughbred and was bred to race, by Timeless Times out of Chalet Girl, but never went into training. Eleanor aims to continue showing and will try to qualify for the Royal International Horse Show. Getting to shows is not always easy as both her mother and sister also compete. “We had a 3 hour drive to get here, and we have to split our time as we have driving ponies and her sister Lucy also shows” explained mum, Janet Goldsborough. “Getting to HOYS has always been a dream and we thought we would give it a go this year. I can’t believe it”, said Eleanor, who works full time as an apprentice healthcare assistant in a pharmacy.

Another class with 20 horses forward was split into two groups for the preliminary judging. In the final placing, top spot went to Papavers Romeo, known as Ollie, owned and ridden by Clare Elding, 29, a senior lettings advisor from Bolton, Lancashire. The 6 year old Ollie is a striking chestnut gelding with 4 white legs and was home bred, by Costa Lot VII, out of their own mare, Burlington Park Papavers. Known as Poppy, the mare was a shire cross Hanoverian and regularly competed in show jumping, but she was on and off lame so they decided to breed from her and she had 2 foals. “We still own Ollie’s half-sister, who is now out on loan, and I kept Ollie to bring on”, explained Clare. He was backed when he was 2 ½ years old and then turned away for 6 months to mature. “He was fine to bring on. We went for our first ride in Somerford Park and never had a problem. He is a gentle giant”, said Clare.

Their main aim is to do working hunter classes but Clare was keen to get their flat work correct first so they decided to give SFAS a try. They attended Kelsall Hill show, their first show of the year, and qualified for the Royal International in the HW hunter class. “He is quite mature and loves going on fun rides. We also do some Trailblazers working hunter here at Osbaldeston”. The pair plan to do Cheshire County and Warrington shows this year, and keep up Ollie’s fitness but Clare does not want to do too much this season. “Now we are also going to HOYS – it is fair to say I am made up – really chuffed! I never expected to do well last week, we really went as a practice for here, now we have qualified for the RI and HOYS! My sister has been trying to get the ride on him but I would never swop him for the world”, said Clare, who admits to spending all her spare time with Ollie.

Second place went to Gadbury Northern Show Girl, known as Lola, owned and ridden by Samantha Hastings, 27, from Tyldesley, Manchester. Sam has owned the 7 year old bay mare since she was 3 years old, having bought her just backed from someone on their livery yard. Then Sam had a premature baby and a car accident during her maternity leave and was left with a badly damaged arm. She started riding one handed and slowly built up her strength, and all the while it was the aim of riding Lola again that kept her going. Two years later and she is back showing again. The pair attended the BSPS show at Barton and came first in the novice hunter class before coming to Osbaldeston. “It has been a struggle but she is so good, and I have been able to get back on and start showing again”, said Sam, who has worked hard over the past 6 months to get ready for this season. “We are certainly planning to make the most of this summer, with a full season of shows”, said Sam, who works as a local authority support worker helping patients recovering from brain injury. The pair are planning to compete in amateur show classes and lightweight hunter classes. “Riding is what has helped me, and it has brought some strength back to my arm”, she said. “HOYS has always been my dream and Lola will be really pleased with herself. She will look forward to her tea and going out in the field tomorrow with her friends!”

This class saw 15 ridden show cobs and maxi cobs come before the judges and first place went to Tracy Tomlinson, 47, from Newton, near Preston, with her own Jarrett Hills Wizard, known as “Arizona”. Tracy has owned the 9 year old chestnut roan gelding since he was 4 months old when he was given to her. “Actually he got left in the yard and my husband nicknamed him the fat knacker”, said Tracy who backed and brought on the youngster and then tried to sell him. “But no-one wanted him and we just got stuck with him – but I wouldn’t sell him for the world now though”, she added.

The pair have done mainly showing as Arizona did not take to jumping. “He tries but usually goes through the jumps not over them”. Last year the pair won the novice championship at Equifest and they will contend more coloured classes this season. “We moved and no longer have an arena so we have to hack out and he gets ridden much more. It has changed him – he has bulked up and he is full of energy. He felt a bit cranky in the collecting ring today, but he was teasing me – he went brilliantly in the ring. He is a little star”, said Tracy, who runs a cattery, a full time family business.

Second place went to Kerry Bradshaw, 44, from Howick, Wigan, Lancashire, and her own Desmond II. Kerry has owned the 9 year old piebald maxi cob since he was 6 months old. Now a 9 year old, this was their first ever ridden show together. “I can’t believe it, what a day. I even fell off when I was trying to get on him by the wagon”, said an emotional Kerry.

“I lost my dad suddenly 2 years ago and he used to help a lot with Desmond and did in-hand shows with him when he was younger. He got several supreme championships at local level and never put a foot wrong”, explained Kerry, who works as a beauty therapist. “He was so proud of Des and looked after him while I was working full time”, she said.

Losing her dad was a shock and she could not bring herself to get out to shows, although the pair have done lots of hacking and have been on riding holidays to Kirby Lonsdale. With lots of encouragement and support from husband, Andrew, Kerry decided to have another go at showing the handsome, Friesian cross gelding. “He is so light, you can ride him all day and he does nothing naughty. This is a tribute to dad, we have won it for him”, she said. Kerry runs a hair and beauty salon along with her husband, Andrew, a hairdresser. The couple live in Howick with 2 teenage sons, 3 dogs, 5 horses and a goldfish. Kelly now plans to do more showing and try the amateur Royal International and CHAPS qualifiers for coloured horses.

The final class of the day saw 19 ponies come before the judge, Richard Ramsay. First place went to Liskeran Dun Bobby, known as “Ferdi”, owned by Mrs Sarah Hill and ridden by Elly Hill, 14, from Warrington, Cheshire. The 13 year old dun gelding was at Myerscough College but his owner was poorly and when the pony was unable to return home in the holidays, Sarah and Elly agreed to have him for the summer. “We ended up keeping him and planned to do local shows”, said Sarah. “We joined the Connemara society last year and learned that Matthew Lawrence was doing a clinic so we went along. He suggested we have a go at Search For A Star”, she said. “He jumps at home, and I like doing lots of schooling and hacking on the farm”, said Elly, who is a student at Penketh High School. “He has the loudest whinny and loves giving kisses”, she added. “For the last few years she has been saying “one day I will ride at HOYS”, it hasn’t really sunk in yet”, said Sarah. The pair will compete at more county shows this season before heading to Birmingham for the finals.

Second place went to Catherine Young’s Kneem Tiger Lily, ridden by her stepdaughter, Rhianna Wilding, 13, from Mellor. Catherine has had the 9 year old bay mare for 11 months and planned to do showing. “Rhianna has been riding for 4 years and previously had a Welsh Section B pony, which she outgrew, so we bought Lily”, explained Catherine. Last season the pair competed at local shows but their main aim this year was to do Search for a Star and Royal International qualifiers with the aim of getting to the championships. “This is the one we really wanted, and I can’t believe we have got it first time out”, said Rhianna. They were also winners at the Equine Rising Stars show at Stoke Equestrian Centre where they were supreme champions. “She is such an easy pony, the best pony ever, and now I can’t wait until HOYS”, said a delighted Rhianna, a pupil at Ribblesdale High School.


These are the class results, but they may not all qualify for HOYS due to passport irregularities, because of the judge’s discretion, where the same rider has qualified twice or where the horse or rider do not meet all eligibility requirements.

Working Hunter

1st, Wisper, owned by Mrs Susan Hall and ridden by Miss Rebecca Hall of Hambleton, Lancs

2nd, Silktown Obsidian, owned by Mr John Dunning and ridden by Mr Tom Dunning, of Macclesfield

Riding Club Show Horse

1st, Develish Rebel, owned and ridden by Kate Waddington of Leigh, Lancs

2nd, The Joker VIII, owned by Mrs Carol Lewis and ridden by Miss Leshka Torskyj

Riding Horse/Hack

1st, Ingleby Hill, owned and ridden by Shelley Heywood of Worksop, Notts

2nd, Timeless Girl, owned and ridden by Miss Eleanor Askey-Goldsbrough of Chesterfield, Derbys

Show Hunter

1st Papavers Romeo, owned and ridden by Miss Clare Leanne Elding of Bolton, Lancs

2nd, Gadbury Northern Star, owned and ridden by Miss Samantha Hastings of Tyldesley, Manchester


1st, Jarrett Hills Wizard, owned and ridden by Mrs Tracy Tomlinson of Preston, Lancs

2nd, Desmond II, owned and ridden by Kerry Bradshaw of Wigan, Lancs


1st, Liskeran Dun Bobby, owned by Mrs Sarah Hill and ridden by Miss Elly Hill of Warrington, Cheshire

2nd, Kneem Tiger Lily, owned by Miss Catherine Young and ridden by Miss Rhianna Wilding of Mellor, Blackburn, Lancs