Previous Winners

Archwood Romeo Gigle Shines as New Star
Search for a Star Final at HOYS 2009

The 2009 South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship reached a thrilling climax at the Horse of the Year Show when the delightful show pony, Archwood Romeo Gigle and 13 year old Jessica Lee-Hilton put in an immaculate performance to take the Supreme title with the impressive Riding Horse, Ricardo, owned and ridden by Rachael Peyton, standing in reserve. The Championship, held in the International Arena, was the culmination of the week’s Search For A Star finals and the atmosphere was electric as the eight winners awaited the result.

The black 4 year old gelding, Archwood Romeo Gigle, known as “Jack” did not put a foot wrong for 13 year old Jessica Leigh Hilton during their individual show. “He was very well ridden by this talented young rider and this pony has a superb future ahead of him”, commented judge, Marjorie Ramsay. Bred by Yvonne Selby of Archwood Stud in Colwyn Bay, who owns the sire, Rotherwood Gigolo, and the dam, Chasecroft Disco Diva, he is part bred Welsh and part bred Arab. Owned by Jessica’s mother, Allison Hilton, this is the pony’s first season showing and they have already had success winning in hand and 2nd Novice ridden at Cheshire Show, 1st Novice, 1st Open and Champion and Champion young handler at NCPA Bakewell and 3rd at the Scottish horse show. “This is amazing…its crazy! Last year I came and watched HOYS and really wanted to ride here” said Jessica, who had to think on her feet as she was the second rider to do her individual show. “He just seemed to know what he was doing. He went out and did the perfect show”, she said. Their plans are to compete in open classes and hopefully to qualify for HOYS next year.

The reserve spot went to Rachael Peyton’s Riding Horse, Ricardo, who impressed the judges from the outset. “As soon as this horse came through the curtains in the preliminary class, he impressed us immediately. He is beautiful”, agreed judges Robert Oliver and Marjorie Ramsay. Rachael had travelled from Chale Green on the Isle of Wight with her 11 year old Dutch warmblood gelding to fulfil her ambition to compete at HOYS. “I am over the moon. I have never been to HOYS before or seen any of this – I am a happy hacker! My students will be amazed”, she said. Rachael, who teaches autistic children on the Isle of Wight, has ridden for many years as a “happy hacker” and has always groomed at shows for her 15 year old daughter, Annabel. “This year I decided to take up showing seriously with the aim of riding at HOYS and I have fulfilled my dream”.

The SEIB Search For A Star Cob Finals started the week at HOYS, with Chinwagg Fin taking top honours and a place in the championship for Malcolm Dixon of Caerphilly. “This series has been a fantastic learning curve. I am 51 and I have been trying all my life to get to HOYS”, said Malcolm who bought the 7 year old gelding as a foal from a local dealer. “I went along for a chinwag, and ended up buying the foal, which is how he got his name! He is a proper family cob and both myself and my wife, Gwyn, ride him. He hunts regularly and does a bit of dressage. He needed time and has come out much better this year”, said Malcolm, a production assistant for GE Aircraft Engines. The pair won for the second year running at the Royal Welsh, stood second at the Bath and West, 1st in the Amateur class at the National Championships and qualified for HOYS in the Open Cob class.

The home bred mare, Innish Verdell, stood top in the Riding Club Show Horse final for Nicola Keating-Bell. “She got a bit tense when we first went in but she soon relaxed and gave a good ride. I had no doubts about her jumping – she is a bit extravagant but I knew that once she had settled she would be ok. I have never been in a ring with so many spectators”, said Nicola. “This horse gave a very good account of herself. She is the epitome of a horse that can be enjoyed by the whole family”, said Marjorie Ramsey. Nicola and her mother have bred three youngsters from the dam, Fairlines Gemini, who was a successful show hunter at county level. Second place went to Diana Burgess’s Mr Mick, with Martin Bull’s Appaloosa gelding, Lambrigg Spotlight, ridden by Katy Stock in third. There was sympathy around the arena for Caroline Primrose whose 10 year old piebald gelding had behaved impeccably throughout the class but whose manners deserted him when the crowd erupted as he was called in top. He refused to settle and a hugely disappointed Caroline tried to be philosophical when the judges had no option but to stand her down.

A delighted Ruth Mason took the Working Hunter title with her own 7 year old home bred, Moorhey Mohawk, who jumped impeccably. Ruth, who has 4 children, helps to run the family livery yard and breeds appaloosas, including both the sire, Moorhey Tomahawk, a leopard spot appaloosa, and the dam, Moorhey Miracle. All the progeny are spotted except Moorhey Mohawk and, although she is bay, she is a registered part bred appaloosa. Ruth’s younger sister, Hester, has competed her in dressage and won BSJA show jumping. “She has been so good here. She is quite spooky so I was up riding her very early before the class. I am really drawn to showing now – I love it!”, said Ruth. The course was not big and the unusual ornaments in the ring caused little trouble but the big occasion may have been the cause of a few fences down.

Mrs Samantha Berry’s show hunter pony, Greenhow Lavenders Blue, ridden by Oliver Berry, headed the Ponies final jointly with the show pony and eventual Supreme Champion, Archwood Romeo Gigle. Oliver and Greenhow Lavenders Blue have competed at the BSPS championships, coming second in the restricted, and were 1st and reserve champion at the Blackool & Fylde show before coming to HOYS. Oliver, 17, was pleased to be competing at all after recovering from a foot injury, leaving his mother and family friend, Amanda Bridges, to ride while he was out of action. “This is a pony with a lot of quality and lovely paces”, said the judges.

Heading the Hack section of the Riding Horse/Hack final was Claire Blackham’s 10 year old thoroughbred gelding, Barella. An ex-racehorse who ran 42 times and won 7 races before retiring in 2007, Barella very nearly missed HOYS due to a snake bite. “Disaster struck when he was bitten on the hind leg after the qualifier. I didn’t think he would be able to show again but thanks to lots of laser treatment and the help of my physio and vet, the leg healed completely. He missed lots of work and has not been able to go to many shows but I have been riding him at 4am to get him ready and fit everything in around work”, said Claire who works as a clinical teaching fellow at the University of Bristol and Senior Audiologist at Torbay Hospital. Second place in the Riding Horse/Hack Championship went to Sue Simmonds’ Riding Horse, Fynetime, ridden by her daughter Lorna Pearson, the first family success of the show which would be followed up in the Search For A Star Hunter Championship when Sue rode her own Fyne Fortune into third place.

The top Show Hunter was Amy Eldridge’s 7 year old gelding, Pembroke Special Blend, who gave the ride judge, Clare Oliver, a lovely ride. “This horse has good confirmation and is a nice forward going hunter”, commented the judges. Amy, a prison officer from Ryde, bought him a year ago and generally competes at local shows on the Isle of Wight. “I am over the moon and just so happy”, said Amy, who joined forces with reserve champion, Rachael Peyton and Ricardo, to get additional training and showing tips from Richard Mills in the run up to HOYS.

Marjorie Ramsey and Robert Oliver judged conformation and Clare Oliver was ride judge for the Search For A Star Championship classes throughout the week. “It is wonderful that such lovely horses keep coming forward every year. The standard is even better and on turnout, I cannot fault them”, said Marjorie.

“I am always delighted 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 and the stands were packed. 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 in open classes. I am already looking forward to next year!” says SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie.

For more press information, contact Rachael Holdsworth on 01903 892060 or email



1st, Chinwaggfinn, owned and ridden by Malcolm Dixon of Caerphilly, Mid Glamorgan; 2nd, Hot Property II, owned and ridden by Tracey Harris of Willoughby Waterleys, Leicester; 3rd, Traffic Cob, owned and ridden by Victoria Buckland of Glossop, Derbyshire; 4th Weeden’s Earl Grey, owned and ridden by Liana Young of Woodditton; 5th Rose of Leamlara, owned and ridden by Emma Kirby of Winchester.

Other finalists:
Ardenteggle Boy, owned and ridden by Gillian Hickford of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire;
Donny Brook, owned by Lynda Woods and ridden by Verity Woods of Gravesend, Kent
Fergus IV, owned and ridden by Rosemary Shippham of Steyning, West Sussex
Finius Fog, owned and ridden by Amanda Peet of Cockermouth, Cumbria
Miss Partypants, owned and ridden by Jennifer Turner of Heywood, Lancashire

Riding Club Show Horses

1st Innish Verdel, owned and ridden by Nicola Keating-Bell of Doncaster; 2nd Mr Mick, owned and ridden by Diana Burgess of Andover; 3rd Lambrigg Spotlight, owned by Martin Bull of Kedal and ridden by Katy Stock; 4th Glenavy, owned by Suzanne Hudson of High Peak and ridden by Jessica Smith; 5th All That Jazz, owned and ridden by Claire Parsons of Crickhowell.

Other finalists:
Clogherboy Lucky Buck, owned and ridden by Alexandra Kershaw of Petersfield
Daid ‘O’ Diamonds, owned and ridden by Lisa Mullan of Burntwood
Indian Opposition, owned and ridden by Caroline Primrose or Andover
Mister Julius, owned and ridden by Kayleigh Slater of Haverfordwest
Sandro Isabella, owned and ridden by Claire Warneford of Gerrards Cross

Working Hunters

1st Moorhey Mohawk, owned and ridden by Ruth Mason of Preston; 2nd Kiitos, owned and ridden by Annette Christey of Chesham; 3rd Dinky Dino, owned and ridden by Bev Smalldridge of Virginia Water; 4th Bolingey Brook, owned and ridden by Faith Crompton of Warrington; 5th Prince Concorde, owned by Mrs D Davidson of Penrith and ridden by Mark Davidson.

Other Finalists:
Hati Diamond, owned by Mr F Cottam of Blackburn and ridden by Caroline McCarthy
Jake, owned and ridden by Paula Kent of Witham
Northern Light, owned by Horseworld and ridden by Hannah Ladd of Weston-Super-Mare
Q.I., owned and ridden by Rebecca Bryson of Droitwich
Step Aside III, owned and ridden by Rebecca Campbell of Camborne


1st Show Pony, Archwood Romeo Gigle, owned by Mrs Allison Hilton of Hyde and ridden by Jessica-Leigh Hilton; 1st Show Hunter Pony, Greenhow Lavenders Blue, owned by Mrs Samantha Berry of Skipton and ridden by Oliver Berry; 2nd Bolgoed Just Josha, owned and ridden by Emily Wells of St Albans, 3rd Stanley Grange Masterpiece, owned by Kim Miles of Canterbury and ridden by Rachel Miles, 4th Small-Land Screenplay, owned by Mrs H Gibson of Haverfordwest and ridden by Grace Gibson, 5th Warleigh (Z) Curtain Call, owned by Mrs J Ward of Royston and ridden by Xenajean Ward

Other finalists:
Courtland ‘JP’ Exquisite, owned by Mrs Sarah Beni of Bracknell and ridden by Francesca Beni
Hideaways Hotshot, owned by Mr G Campion of Thurleigh and ridden by Lauren Campion
Sianwood Persian Punch owned by Mrs Susan Barker of Blackburn and ridden by Rosie Barker
Woodview Canasta, owned by Mr Paul Green of Whitbourne and ridden by Rochelle Green

Riding Horses/Hacks

1st Riding Horse, Ricado, owned and ridden by Rachael Peyton of Isle of Wight; 1st Hack, Barella, owned and ridden by Claire Blackham of Blackham; 2nd Fynetime, owned by Sue Simmons of High Peak and ridden by Lorna Pearson; 3rd Hawklands Black Jasper, owned by Mrs A H Walker, New Milton and ridden by Lauren Hawkes; 4th Royalviews Topcat, owned by Carley Jones of Colwyn Bay and ridden by Helen Evans; 5th Bramley Moor Clover, owned and ridden by Stella Plant of Sheffield

Other Finalists:
Belle Vue Highlander, owned and ridden by Jo Heasman of Haywards Heath
Holly’s Golden Velvet, owned and ridden by Carol Jones of Alfreton
Moonlight Spooks, owned and ridden by Rosalind Fifield of Northwich
Othello, owned by Mrs S Fernside of Bolton and ridden by Julie Fearnley


1st Pembroke Special Blend, owned and ridden by Amy Eldridge of Isle of Wight; 2nd Penstrumbly Pen Arthur, owned and ridden by Fiona Meardon of Bideford; 3rd Fyne Fortune, owned and ridden by Sue Simmonds of High Peak; 4th Spymaster, owned and ridden by Daniel Taylor of Ripley; 5th Whats On Top, owned and ridden by Rachel White of Newcastle

Other Finalists:
Bay Leaf, owned and ridden by Sally Catchpole of Farnham
Pencarder Ramano, owned and ridden by Tina Sharp of Braunton
Santovs Exchange, owned by Moira Robertson of Wantage and ridden by Vicky White
Silver Lady II, owned by Mr J Almond of Bradford and ridden by Katy Almond

16th August – Vale View Equestrian
18th July – Addington Manor Equestrian Centre
11th July – Wellington Equestrian Centre
5th July – Badgworth Riding Centre
7th June – Osbaldeston Equestrian Centre