Working Show Pony
Wild Connemara wins first SFAS qualifier!  A Connemara described as a “little wild thing” paid back his rider’s hard work by winning the first SEIB Search for a Star (SFAS) qualifier of the season — in a brand new class for this stellar series.
Aberogwen Timothy (Timmy) impressed judges Richard Ramsay and David Ingle in the working show pony section — open to all types from plaited to traditional coloured and mountain and moorlands — with his exquisite manners for Megan Taylor, 14. But this was the result of what Megan’s mother, Sarah Jane Barnes, calls a “rocky few years”.

“I bought Timmy as an unbroken three-year-old when Megan was 10,” said Bolton-based Sarah. “When I went to collect him he would not load — the little bugger jumped a Land Rover from a standstill to avoid the ramp. Everything was telling me to walk away but something also told me this fiery little wild thing would be perfect for my little wild daughter.”

Megan did all the work with her pony and they formed a bond, but her older sister Chloe — who grooms for Megan at shows — outgrew her horse, Jasper, and Sarah gave him to Megan. Timmy was sold on, but Sarah soon realised she’d made a mistake and got him back, just six weeks before this SEIB qualifier at Osbaldeston.

“He will never leave us again,” said Sarah. “Megan calls him her ‘horseband’ and says they’re together till death does them part. They’re like peas and carrots; they need each other.”
At this first SFAS qualifier of 2017, Richard Ramsay noted: “The pony was very mannerly and did a good show, jumping the two jumps neatly and cleanly.”

Working show horse
The winner of the working show horse section was another smart grey, Becky Bolam’s Glasson Fintan Kitty, whom she’s had for three years.
“She came straight off the boat from Ireland,” said Becky, who lives near Wigan and works for surfaces company Andrews Bowen. “I was waiting for her to mature a bit but she’s come on so much that I thought, she’s ready to go out and do everything now – which she’s proved.   “The new class was perfect for her because she is a show hunter type but she can do a bit of jumping as well, so it was something in between. The whole experience was really useful and everyone was friendly, which helped to keep me calm because I got really nervous.”

Becky and Kitty have been doing unaffiliated dressage and eventing, but Becky intends to affiliate to British Dressage this year and do her first British Eventing section too. She also has her eye on the amateur small hunter class at the Royal International this summer.  “Kitty is very brave, so she’s great on the cross-country,” said Becky. “I thought she might spook at the shadows on the arena at Osbaldeston, but she’s an absolute saint – more like an old lady than a rising six-year-old. She’s very brave and does everything I ask of her.”

Hack and riding horse
The winner of the hack section has more miles on the clock, but has given his owner Kim Gould a rough ride. Spanish Hidalgo was in training with Kim’s then employer, racehorse trainer John Dunlop, who has also had many good show horses at top level. When Kim was looking for one, he gifted her “Spanish”.   “I collected him less than a week after his last race,” recalled Kim. “But he’s been a real handful. I gave him too much food and he went a bit nuts, so I learned the hard way! We’ve had eight years of sweat, tears and blood but at Osbaldeston, when we were called in for the final six, it felt like he was saying, ‘It’s OK, Mum, I’m with you today — it’s me and you.’”

Lorna Blake, who earned the riding horse HOYS ticket in this joint section, also had a less-than-perfect start with Lowmoor Years of Grace. Gracie, she says, is mature beyond her years, which is just as well because Lorna had a broken foot when she backed her. HOYS was her main aim with the horse whose dam, Thea, is part Clydesdale.

Part-bred draught horses were a theme at this first SEIB fixture, as the second-placed cob, Mackenzie, has Suffolk blood through his dam, Lilliput. He qualified for HOYS last year with Natasha Dolman, but went lame with an abscess just two days before they were due to make the journey from Derbyshire.   “It’s really rewarding to come back against such a strong class with so many nice cobs and manage to qualify again,” said Natasha, who lives in Ripley Pentrich, Derbyshire.

The first cob ticket went to Holly Wales and Coblet, who came from Ireland as a five-year-old. Holly bought him in 2013 to get her back into the saddle after a 15-year break. “I made the classic mistake of buying something pretty,” she joked. “The first day he arrived at our small family farm I got on him in front of the stable yard and he tried to jump the red brick wall into the front garden! Needless to say he was a lot greener than we thought and his Irish hunting roots hadn’t left him.”  They made a slow start, joining the local riding club to gain confidence and doing some low-level dressage tests.
“I represented our club at Area 20 team prelim dressage so our flatwork was gradually improving and we were slowly starting to bond with each other,” continued Holly. “People always commented that he was a nice stamp of a cob and I wanted to try for HOYS, but it felt like a distant aspiration. I found out about the SEIB Search for Star classes by chance when listening to a commentary at HOYS. It was a chance to get an understanding of what the top-class judges were looking for in terms of way of going, turnout and rideability.”

Holly entered Osbaldeston to get some idea of what she needed in order to progress and was delighted to find such a relaxed atmosphere. She was even more thrilled to be pulled forward in the top three of the second section, saying: “I always think everyone looks shinier than us so this felt like a real achievement.”

Show Hunters
The top two who booked their HOYS places in the quality-filled hunter section were both full Irish Draughts. First place went to Stacey Smith and her nine-year-old Roebuck Diamond, by Agherlow.  “Russell”, as he is known, was bought by Stacey as a four-year-old and she has done all the work with him.   “I’m so proud of him,” she said. “He was very green when I got him but he’s always been good to do and likes to please. At the Great Yorkshire in 2014 we were pulled in 17th and he gave the judge such a fantastic ride that we moved up to third.”

He clearly impressed the judges at Osbaldeston, too, as did Sam Moss’s Irish Draught gelding Frenchfort Mikey. Sam bought “Flynn” as a three-year-old and broke him in herself — all the more impressive as she suffers from scoliosis of the spine and a congenital leg problem. She was badly affected by ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) after contracting psittacosis from a pet parrot and was severely injured in a car accident six years ago, which forced her to give up her career as a probation officer.  “Due to my health problems, Flynn had a lot of time off and I was worried he wouldn’t be as well schooled as the other horses,” she said. “This result has given me a massive self-esteem boost and I hope it might inspire other disabled riders to have a go too.”


Class 1a Working Show Pony (only1 to qualify)
1st Aberogwen Timothy, ridden and owned by Megan Taylor
2nd Gobell Idwal, ridden and owned by Ella Smith
3rd Millie, ridden and owned by Sandra Worthingon
4th Westwick Sam, ridden by Philippa Coates, owned by Amanda Bates
5th Twilight True Romeo, ridden by Holly McDade,owned by Julie Lindsay
6th Bailey, ridden and owned by McKenzie Holloway

Class 1b Working show Horse(only 1 to qualify)
1st Giasson Fintan Kitty, ridden and owned by Becky Bolam
2nd My Noble Valentine, ridden and owned by Ricki Riley
3rd Blue, ridden and owned by fran Embleton
4th Pharly’s Crown Pegasus, ridden by Hannah Pedley, owend by Mrs L Bamforth
5th Oscar, ridden and owned by Karen kay
6th Growhowdy Realtin Diamont,ridden and owned by David Ross

Class 2 Riding Horse/Hack
1st Spanish Hildalgo, ridden and owned by Kimberley Gould
2nd Lowmoor Years of Grace, ridden and owned by Lorna Blake
3rd Nicene Creed, ridden and owned by Hannah Chisman
4th Bazaars Highwayman, ridden and owned by Holly Rowbottom
5th She’s so Fine, ridden by Hollie Mackay, owned by Miss J Shea
6th Ella Landra, ridden and owned by Aimie Hockley-Righton

Class 3 Show Hunter
1st Roebuck Diamond, ridden and owned by Stacey Smith
2nd Frenchfort Mikey, ridden and owned by Sam Moss
3rd Mizta Fezziwig, ridden and owned by Lynsey Lawrence
4th Hawklands Argento Amore, ridden by Floriann Gilston, owned by Mrs Charlotte Gilston
5th Vinchenzo, ridden and owned by Bryony Roberts
6th Laharn Cross, ridden and owned by Catriona Duffy

Class 4 Show and Maxi Cobs
1st Coblet, ridden by Holly Wales, owned by Lisa Wales
2nd MacKenzie, ridden by Natasha Dolman, owned by Mark Dolman & Nicola Smith
3rd Gorey Boy, ridden by Jasmyn Stone, owned by Tracey Gunning
4th Quenot 4, ridden by Lucy Turner, owned by Carolyn Hughes
5th Colour Graphix, ridden and owned by Michelle Bowley
6th Cobyn, ridden and owned by Amy Blackburn

Class 5 Racehorse to Riding Horse
1st Barbers Shop, ridden by Katie Jerram, owned by HM Queen
2nd Grandeur, ridden by Jo Bates owned by Yvonne Jacques
3rd Clonard Lad, ridden by Paul Langrick, owned by Miss Rebecca O’Neill
4th Valentine Jack, ridden and owned by Donna Belmonte
5th Patureyes, ridden and owned by Rose-Marie Turner
6th Nicene Creed, ridden and owned by Hannah Chisman

Class 6 RDA Showing class
1st West Point First of Many, ridden and owned by Kathryn Wheelock
2nd Hunky Dory, ridden by Kayla Pratt and owned by Claire Robinson
3rd Brackenbank Flash Harry, ridden by Annie Wordley, owned by Gwen wordley
4th Little Tinkerman, ridden by Phoebe Whitfield, owned by Clare Robinson
5th Cobson’s Choice, ridden by Alex Stevens, owned by Janet Alderton