Osbaldeston SEIB Search for a Star qualifier holds first HOYS qualifiers for Traditional Gypsy Cobs

Brittany Robinson and Rocky qualify for HOYS in the new SEIB Search for a Star Traditional Gypsy Cob Class

Janet and Norman Bargh of Osbaldeston Riding Club hosted the first SEIB Search for a Star Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifier of 2019 on the 14th April. There were a huge number of entries across the classes at this ever-popular Lancashire venue. The first ever Traditional Cob Search for a Star qualifiers proved a welcome addition to the series and judges, Richard Ramsay and Jordan Cook were impressed with the quality, way of going and the turnout of the cobs that came forward. Richard said: “We made history at Osbaldeston to have the first ever HOYS qualifiers for this magnificent breed that is the Traditional Gypsy Cob. It was also fantastic to see such a decent number of entries in each class right the way through the day.”

The first competitor of 2019 to earn an SEIB Search for a Star HOYS ticket was Lisa Sergeant from St Anne’s in Lancashire with her Connemara pony, Linsfort Ear to the Ground, (Leo) in the Working Pony class. Lisa said: “We went along to Search for a Star so that Leo could be assessed by some top judges to see if they thought he had any potential to do open working hunter classes in the future. I didn’t think for a minute we would qualify! When I saw the quality of the ponies in my class I just thought well I may as well enjoy this so I was super relaxed whilst riding my show. When they read out my number, it was like a proper Oscar winning moment – I was so shocked, things like that don’t happen to me. I never thought it would be a possibility for me to ride at HOYS but now I have, I’m super excited – it’s a real family dream.”

Lisa Sergeant and Linsfort Ear to the Ground

Lisa bought Leo from Ireland to bring on herself, for her daughter to then go on to do working hunter ponies with. Lisa and Leo have competed in dressage and jumping and last year came 3rd in the Intermediate British Riding Club National dressage championship. Lisa continued: “Recently we have been concentrating mainly on cross country and showjumping because this year I’m hoping to complete my Wobbleberry challenge (raising money for Hannah Francis’ charity Wilberry the Wonder-pony and completing my first BE80).”

Alison Cope from Northwich won the Working Horse class with her own chestnut mare, Bond Girl. This was the first time the pair had competed in a showing class. Alison said: “I am shocked that we won. Qualifying for HOYS is such a big deal and to have done it on the first attempt is amazing. It almost feels surreal. I had a lesson with Hayden Hankey a few weeks ago and he said to give Search for a Star a go and now here we are!” Alison and Bond Girl have done plenty of British Eventing and British Dressage competitions and the pair were placed this year in the dressage winter regionals at prelim level. Alison breeds fox red Labradors, she continued: “We breed working labradors, it is quite amusing as they are ginger, as is the horse!”. Alison bought Bond Girl as a yearling from her breeder who is also a friend. She added: “We are already planning ahead for HOYS, we will continue with eventing at BE90 level and also aim for the summer regionals.”

Alison Cope and Bond Girl

SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “I am delighted that we had so many owner/riders qualifying at Osbaldeston this year. We are thrilled that so many real people with real horses are getting the opportunity to compete at HOYS.”

It was second time lucky for the hunter class winners, Abi Wood and her own, Dexter IX. This combination came to the Osbaldeston Search for a Star qualifier in 2018, and were unplaced. Abi was determined to do better this time and the pair took the top spot. Abi said: “I have owned Dexter for a year and a half now, he was advertised on facebook and I noticed him to begin with because of his name, as my dog is also called Dexter. Last season we mainly did some novice classes and I had really decided that this year we would go for it. We went to a small local show for a trial run a couple of weeks ago and took second, so to come here and win is fantastic. I have dreamed of riding at HOYS for years.” The pair are planning to do more county shows and dressage over the summer in the run up to HOYS.

Abi Wood and Dexterix

Lesley Brown and her own Pictus Aristocrat, known as Edgar, took second place in the hunter class. Lesley, from Sale said: “I am delighted about qualifying for HOYS it has been my dream since being a child and now aged 52 I have finally done it! Edgar and I have been to Search for a Star for the past four years to try and get that dream ticket. Edgar has been going really well at home so I thought we had a good chance of doing well. My daughter bought Pictus Aristocrat when he was 15 months old, but she fell out of love with horses about 4 years ago when he was 6 and I took over his ownership. I have put a lot of love and dedication in to how Edgar is today and it has taken a lot of hard work to get him to where he is.” Lesley works as a Community Support Worker for the NHS and fits in looking after and riding Edgar around this.

The new Search for a Star class for Traditional Cobs was very well attended at Osbaldeston with 16 skewbald and piebald traditional cobs and 11 solid coloured traditional cobs coming forward for judging.  One cob from each section qualifies for HOYS at each of the five SEIB Search for a Star qualifiers. This class is fully supported by the official breed society, the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association.  Founding TGCA Director, Andrea Betteridge said: “We started the TGCA in 2003 to give the Gypsy Cob breed as a whole some opportunities. By providing opportunities for the traditional cobs we can help increase their value, which in turn will help with welfare and with the support of organisations such as SEIB and Grandstand, we are really making this happen. It was brilliant to see the standard at Osbaldeston, it is not a quick or straightforward job to turnout a gypsy cob so beautifully and so many competitors had done an outstanding job at the qualifier.”

Richard Ramsay continued: “I am looking forward to judging this class at Stretcholt. I am hoping that some of those that entered today and didn’t get through will come along and have another go as we saw plenty of animals that looked and went brilliantly.”

Brittany Robinson riding James and Pauline Pape’s Piebald gelding, Rocky won the piebald and skewbald Traditional Gypsy Cob Search for a Star qualifier.  Brittany said: “I am over the moon to qualify for Search for a Star as are James and Pauline, Rocky is their pride and joy and I am so lucky to have the chance to ride him. When we heard there was Search for a Star for traditionals coming in 2019 we were super excited and knew we would compete in the qualifiers. We never thought we would qualify the first time so it was amazing to hear my number called out for the winner of the first ever TGCA Search for a Star qualifier!”

Pauline said: “Rocky was absolutely on fire at Osbaldeston. Brittany is so excited to be going to HOYS, she is only 21 and rides Rocky brilliantly. We are thrilled to have this new Search for a Star Traditionals class, all 16 cobs that were in our class at Osbaldeston were superb and the class is providing a wonderful opportunity for the traditional gypsy cobs that are ridden by true amateur riders.”

Brittany continued: “I will be competing Rocky for the rest of the year at county shows campaigning in the SSADL as he is now 15! We will also do some dressage and will more than likely go to the TGCA championships in August but most of all we will be getting more and more excited about going to HOYS!” Brittany works as a nursing assistant at Oakhill Veterinary Centre, she added: “I have to make sure I work very hard before and after my shifts to ensure the horses are ridden and fighting fit! As well as Rocky I also have my own coloured native cob and have recently bought myself a four-year-old ex-racehorse that I will retrain myself. I live for my hobby of riding the horses.”

Amanda Noon and her bay gelding, Micklehurst Caretaker, known as Sweep, won the class for solid coloured traditional cobs. Amanda said: “I was so nervous before the class and Sweep went beautifully. I have owned him for about three years now but before this season we haven’t really had the chance to get out there. This class has given solid coloured traditional cobs a specific goal to aim for. The fact that it is a HOYS qualifier too gave me a real boost to really focus on it. Before this season we have kept a good lookout for suitable classes, but there are not that many classes for solid coloureds about. The Search for a Star qualifier was really well organised and everyone was friendly and chatty. I just can’t believe that we have qualified!” Amanda and Sweep qualified for the TGCA championships at Croftop a few weeks ago, she continued: “Sweep is such a lovely horse, he won’t ever be going anywhere. My daughter also enjoys riding him and we will keep him going out and about over the summer in the run up to HOYS.” Amanda works as an accountant.

Following on from a successful first year in 2018, the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland Championship has moved on into becoming two separate classes, one for small breeds and one for large. These two competitive classes were judged by Christopher Patrick and Robin Avery. Christopher said: “Both our winners went amazingly and really impressed me, the small breeds winner went so nicely for his young rider and our large breeds winning, Highland pony was ridden perfectly.”  Ponies and their riders qualifying in the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland series have their championships at Your Horse Live at Stoneleigh in November.

Becky Elvey and Amy Jones

Ten-year-old Becky Elvey riding Anna Elwood’s Exmoor pony, Omega took the top spot in the small breeds and earned her ticket to the Championship at Your Horse Live in November. Becky’s mum, Linsey Elvey said: “Omega went superbly in the class, she looked after Becky brilliantly. We are so excited to be off to Your Horse Live. Becky and Omega won the first ridden class at NCPA last year and this has been their first show since. We have Omega’s half-sister at home as well and Becky does plenty of pony club activities with her at Sea View Riding. We also go hacking on the beach whenever we can.” Linsey is great friends with Omega’s owner, Anna and they are both very proud at this result. Becky is a pupil at North Wanley Primary School, Linsey continued: “Becky took all her Search for a Star rosettes into school for show and tell, she is so excited to have qualified for the Championship.”

Earning the second small breeds ticket to Your Horse Live at Osbaldeston was thirteen-year-old Amy Jones and Susan Jones’ Welsh Section B pony, Moelview Milky Bar. This cream pony is known as Zorro at home. Susan Jones said: “We are very excited to be off to Your Horse Live, Amy and I only saw this class last week and we rushed to get an entry in. It is so nice to have a competition to go to that is purely for amateur riders. It was lovely for Amy to have the chance to compete without going up against both professional riders.” The Jones’ have owned Zorro for two-years now, Susan continued: “Amy saw him and loved the look of him, he is now the pony of her dreams. Zorro has given Amy so much confidence and is enthusiastic about and enjoys every outing we take him on. His previous owners have stayed in touch with us and they sent a nice message after he qualified for Search for a Star.” Moelview Milky Bar was bred by Jane Jones of the Moelview Stud.

There were 27 ponies that came forward for the large breeds Mountain and Moorland qualifier at Osbaldeston. This large and competitive class saw Alexandra Hinchly and her own Highland gelding, Swallowfields Dragonfly take top honours. Alexandra said: “He went amazingly! We did the working pony class in the morning and my mum videoed it and sent the video on to my aunt, Rebecca Hodkinson who rang straight back and said that I wasn’t riding him well enough and needed to pull my finger out for the next class and he went really well! He is very active and especially for a highland and I think it showed. I am delighted to have won this. Dougie as we call him has a great attitude to life and we have great fun off out showing. We came to the Search for a Star qualifier at Osbaldeston last year and came 8th in the working pony class.” Alexandra works as a trainee surveyor, she continued: “I bought Dougie as a four-year-old and have broken him in and done everything with him myself. I have been working full-time and studying for a degree so it means that it has taken a while to get Dougie really up and running. He is such a versatile pony and loves his jumping too, I will get out there and do some novice working hunter pony classes. We have lessons with Jo Graham who has said that we should get going with some British Dressage classes as well.”

In second place was Sonyarisa Duckhouse with her own Fell pony, Chesterman Dandy. Having been ill all week in the run up to Osbaldeston, Sonyarisa attended with low expectations. She said: “I’d been so ill I hadn’t ridden Dandy all week before the qualifier. We decided though that as we’d entered we might as well go along for the experience and I’m so glad we did! He was foot perfect and coped brilliantly with it all.” Sonyarisa has owned Dandy for four years and they have done some showing, they won the pairs at the NPS Summer Championships last year and the pair enjoy going out competing in working hunter classes alongside showing on the flat. Sonyarisa continued: “Dandy doesn’t like going to too many shows, so we will go to Windsor and then I would like to see how well we can do in the pairs at the NPS again. I think we will also do some hunter trials over the summer.” Sonyarisa works in Quality Control for a food manufacturing company. She added: “It is sometimes a bit of a struggle to fit everything in and as I work rotating shifts, it can disrupt Dandy’s routine.” Dandy was bred by Nadia Gwynne in Dumfries. Sonyarisa said: “Dandy goes up to Nadia to winter out each year. Last year he went from September to December. Nadia plans to come down to Your Horse Live to see Dandy in action there. He has some great old-fashioned Fell breeding, his grandfather was Loomsdale Henry and he also has Bowderdale and Twislehope in his bloodlines.”

Emily Maher and Deborah Oakes’, Millrowes Money Talks won the Riding Horse Hack qualifier for their ticket to HOYS. This pair went to two Search for a Star qualifiers in 2018 and one the year before that. Emily said: “It is amazing to have finally done it. I cried and then my mum cried! The conformation judge recognised Stella from last year.” Deborah has owned Stella as the mare is known at home for two years now. Stella and Emily began their partnership jumping and showing, Emily continued: “We weren’t that good at the jumping so we have been concentrating more on the showing. We won’t take her out too much between now and HOYS, we will definitely go to Equifest and the Search for a Star pre-HOYS workshop.” Emily is studying for her A-Levels at Urmston Grammar School and is hoping to go on to study Criminology at Leeds University in the Autumn.

Taking second place in the Riding Horse Hack class was Hannah Bowker and her Arab Horse Society registered gelding, Sansara Super Nova. Hannah from Manchester bought Bradley, as the horse is known from his breeder as a three-year-old. She said: “I had previously owned a part-bred Arab and she unfortunately died from colic. When I first saw Bradley, I really liked the look of him but his breeder wasn’t keen to sell him. However, having heard my story she decided that I would give him a great home and decided to sell him to me. That was now eight years ago and since that time we have shown Bradley and I have had some good results with him at local and county level.”

Hannah plans to keep Bradley heading off out to shows over the Summer and would like to take him to Equifest. She added: “I have always dreamed of qualifying for HOYS and we have competed in Search for a Star before and decided to come back for another go. It really is a dream come true to have quaIified.”

Amy Harris and Kalle Val Halle won the cob class at Osbaldeston. Amy is from Hyde and Kalle Val Halle is owned by Pam Hodkinson and Vivien Gosney. Kalle as he is known at home was bought as a 5-year-old by Pam and Viven for Vivien’s 50th Birthday. Pam said: “It hasn’t quite sunk in yet that Amy and Kalle are off to HOYS! I did the Search for a Star qualifier two years ago with Kalle and we were unplaced. Amy has a livery yard up the road and loves showing. HOYS has been her dream for years so we decided in March that she and Kalle would have a go at Search for a Star. They both deserve this win so much” Pam is a music teacher, she added: “There will be plenty of us going to HOYS to cheer Kalle and Amy on!”

Taking the runner-up spot in the cobs was James Rooks with his own Irish Draught mare, Chantilly Lace. James said: “HOYS is something that you always hope might happen one day and I am very pleased that we have qualified. Showing for me is very much a family hobby, we have always had ponies and I had a veteran hunter and now we have Chantilly Lace, we are off to HOYS.” James has owned Chantilly Lace for three years, in 2018 they qualified for the Royal International but didn’t actually go to compete. The pair won and were placed at the recent National Championships at Addington. James works as a supervisor at the country-store, Brandsby Agricultural Trading Association.

SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “It was an historic day for Search for a Star at Osbaldeston with the first ever Traditional Gypsy Cob qualifiers that encompassed solid colours.   These classes were very well supported and the competitors were absolutely charming, their turnout was superb and we were proud to be able to promote this talented and loyal breed. I am particularly grateful to Andrea Betteridge for her mentoring and the time she has taken to teach the whole Search for a Star team about the breed that is the traditional gypsy cob. I am also delighted that so many competitors that qualified this year have tried before some over many years. It shows if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up!”

Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting equestrian events and activities.

For full details, rules and entry forms visit www.search4astar.org.uk or www.racehorse2ridinghorse.co.uk. Find SEIB Search for a Star on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/SEIB.Search4AStar.


Class 1A Working Pony    – Marks Sheet
1st Lisa Sergeant riding Linsfort Ear to the Ground
2nd Natalia Schofield riding O Fon Tiara
3rd Mia Eggleston riding Tommy
4th Lauren Metcale riding Chester
5th Monique Sharp riding Felinmor Crown Prince
6th Sarah Dean riding Jackos Lad

Class 1B Working Horse  –  Marks Sheet
1st Alison Cope riding Bond Girl
2nd Emma McDonald riding Ballymacashen Meave
3rd Natasha Wannop riding Eden Fourth Addition
4th Sophie Stratton riding McEvoy
5th Sarah Oliver riding Two Tone Arturo
6th Jos Kenward riding Blackskull Diamond Oscar

Class 2 Show Hunters
1st Abi Wood riding Dexterix
2nd Lesley Brown riding Pictus Aristocrat
3rd Olivia Ogden riding Balinore Sea Buoy
4th Yvette Wheeler riding Banna Hakuna
5th Rachel Bond riding Bowland Shooting Star
6th Mel Richards riding Top O Desire

Class 3A TGCA Coloureds
1st Brittany Robinson riding Rocky
2nd Sarah White riding Along Came Lenny
3rd Nicolle Walmsley riding World Horse Welfare Frodo
4th Niamh Weatherburn riding Scout
5th Rebecca Wood riding Desra Jitterbug
6th Olivia Singleton riding The Greatest Showman

Class 3B TGCA Solids
1st Amanda Noon riding Micklehurst Caretaker
2nd Kirsty Warnes riding Daffodil
3rd Katie Weatherall riding Hurst Wood Roxanne
4th Molly Roe riding Rocky
5th Heather Twist riding Frankie
6th Lucy Austick riding Maisy

Class 4A M&M – small breeds  –  Mark Sheet
1st Amy Jones riding Moelview Milkybar
2nd Becky Elvey riding Omega

Class 4B M&M – large breed  –  Mark Sheet
1st Alexandra Hinchley riding Swallowfields Dragonfly
2nd Sonyarisa Duckhouse riding Chestermann Dandy
3rd Zara Rudd riding Owfen Mr Softee
4th Hayley Brindle riding Fwrog Mona
5th Mia Anness riding Gissings Military Woo Hoo
6th Lois Hunt riding Llanarth Red Bull

Class 5 Riding Horse/Hack
1st Emily Maher riding Millrowes Money Talks
2nd Hannah Bowker riding Sansara Super Nova
3rd Berri Moore riding Kellythorpes Milly-O-Air
4th Helen Carter riding Coverstory’s Prince of Pride
5th Kate Ryder riding Solitaires Casino Royale
6th Steven Sharples riding Royal Amethyst

Class 6 Show Cobs
1st Amy Harris riding Kalle Val Halle
2nd James Rooks riding Chantilly Lace
3rd Courtney Coulbeck riding Semi Otto
4th Gabrielle Davies riding Rustic River
5th Abbey Bunn riding McCormack
6thAmy Blackburn riding Cobyn