The final SEIB Search for a Star qualifier of the season and penultimate SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier saw a record number of entries at Vale View Equestrian Centre, Leicestershire on Saturday 8th August 2015. The Search for a Star judges, Richard Ramsay, David Bartram, David Ingle and Chris Lawton were joined by Liz Morley, conformation judge for the Racehorse to Riding Horse, and Jane Hubbard judging the ride.

Working Hunter
A tricky double at the end of the course caused a number of faults and just 4 clears went forward to the final judging by Richard Ramsay, conformation, and David Bartram, ride. First place went to Genevieve Walters, 23, riding Elaine Hack’s lovely 6 year old homebred, Dorissimo. The chestnut mare is bred to event, by Future Illusion out of Not Shirley (by Golden Heights), and has competed at 5 events so far this season, finishing 4th at Eland ridden by Scott Wallace. “This is her first season competing, and she has gone clear every time cross country and goes within the time”, said Elaine. Gen, who works as an animal and human physiotherapist, does a lot of the schooling at home with “Doris” and is keen to do more. To get some practice, the pair had been to one local riding club show where they won the working hunter. “We think that Doris is beautiful, so we decided to come along and see if the judges agreed. I have always wanted to qualify something for HOYS, so she is now the star of the yard”, explained Elaine. Doris is out of a broodmare that has produced 4 foals for Elaine, all of which have gone on to compete. “Her older brother evented to 2* level and is now doing PSG Dressage, The net one is eventing at intermediate level with Tina Canton and I have a 2 year old in the field that is bred for dressage and jumping. It is really interesting to have had 4 foals from the same mare, to see their similarities”, said Elaine. “Doris was really easy to break. She went from walk and trot to popping a pole in just a couple of weeks. But she can have her moments and when she is at a show you do not want to be messing about with her studs, she just wants to get on with it”, she added. “But she is really good at home and very straight forward. A 15 year old novice rider takes her out and I got on her the other day, in preparation for having a ride judge, and I don’t ride very often these days!” she said. They may do some more events and will decide whether to move her up to novice in eventing or aim for the Badminton grassroots championships.

Second place went to Sally Hibbert, riding her own grey gelding, Silvano. Sally has owned the 5 year old since last October and he had previously done mainly show jumping. “This is the first working hunter we have ever done and I have been dreading it for weeks! He can be a bit green and I thought we would get in to trouble if we got it wrong! I am just so pleased,” said Sally. “I had just sold my Welsh section D and someone said I should go and try him. I He had done very little flat work but had jumped in British Novice and Discovery. I have always wanted to do showing. I have never done a qualifier or anything like this but I thought he could do workers so we should have a go”. Sally wanted to take things slowly and has done a lot of hill work to help build up Silvano. “We have done lots of hacking and schooling and will continue to do this through the winter to help build him up. Where I live it is very flat, so we have to box up and go riding in the hills”, she said. “He just loves to be dirty, and I don’t think he has been plaited much as he fidgets, but we practiced plaiting last week. Today he behaved beautifully. I thought if I could just go clear I would be happy. But he has not put a foot wrong and I am thrilled. I will need a large gin to keep me calm at HOYS!” she laughed. Sally runs a 5* Bed and Breakfast in Hilton, Derbyshire, and keeps Silvano at home. “The guests like to go and pat him and he does not know what to make of it!” she said.

Dawn Ross took third place with Mark William’ Van Overis Z, securing a qualifying place in the results reshuffle after Dorissimo’s win in the Riding Club Show Horse. “He is really a jumper and I would rather go to HOYS in the workers. The judges agreed that the Workers is really his class”, said Dawn.

Riding Club Show Horse
Another strong class saw several horses fault at the coloured fence, leaving 9 horses clear for the second phase of judging. The top spot went to Genevieve Walters and Dorrisimo, completing a fabulous double. Under Search for a Star rules, competitors may only compete in one championship at HOYS, leaving Dorrisimo’s owner, Elaine, and Genevieve with the difficult decision as to which class they would chose for the finals. “We have talked to the judges and they advised that this would be the best class for us, so, much as Gen enjoys the jumping, we will go to HOYS in the Riding Club Show Horse class”, said a delighted Elaine.

Second place went to a delighted Dawn Ross, riding Mark Williams’ Magnum Van Overis Z. Magnum was bought by Mark as an unbroken 3 year old and is by the well-known welsh pony jumping stallion, Machno Carwyn, said to be the best pony jumping stallion in Europe. He was backed and Dawn started riding him when he was 5 years old. “He is a proper all-rounder. He hunts, events, show jumps up to 1.10m, does dressage and now he does showing too! He really is the ultimate all-rounder and I could not get a better horse,” said Dawn. This was the first time the pair had tried a show class, and Dawn was elated with the result. “I have always wanted to have a go, and he is the perfect amateur’s horse, but this is a very high profile class so I didn’t expect this!” she said. “We could not do any of the other qualifiers, but this is local for us. I really love jumping and we came 3rd in the workers this morning, and now this. I am really thrilled, and inspired to do more showing. This is a fantastic class for amateurs and it is amazing that SEIB had the foresight to do something like this, giving amateurs this opportunity. I can’t quite believe it – I am in shock”, she added. Dawn, a Tax Accountant from Oakham, went to HOYS with a show jumping friend and this drove her to want to ride there. “I can’t wait to get back to the yard to tell them I’ve qualified. He is such a sweet character, he really deserves to go to HOYOS, we will make the most of it”, she said.

Following the decision to take the Riding Club Show Horse place for Dorrisimo, this meant that the HOYS place in the Workers passed down the line to third, and Dawn decided to take the place in the Workers. The second qualifying place in the Riding Club Show Horse then passed to the third placed horse, Alfie, owned and ridden by a delighted Natalie Drake.

Natalie, 30, from Knutsford, Cheshire, has owned 14 year old Alfie for 7 years and has built up an enviable partnership. “He gave me a huge amount of confidence and we have done everything, riding club activities, eventing, dressage and Trailblazers Working Hunter. Then Natalie became pregnant and Alfie was turned out and did nothing until after the baby was born. “I didn’t realise how much I would lose [in fitness], but we did a dressage a couple of weeks ago and I thought we felt ready to do some more. I saw this class as a child and thought it was a really nice thing to do, so I wanted to give it a go and was lucky to get a late entry. He is really sensible; he is made for this class and just took to it. Going to HOYS is just out of this world – I can’t get my head round it! It all came together when I least expected it”. Natalie, who plans to return to work as Business Support Manager for Cheshire East Council in September, does not have any other show plans at the moment, but admitted that she will have to do a bit more before HOYS. “He is the type of horse that you can just pick up and do it, but I will definitely have to do a bit more before then”. Alfie is Mr nice guy at home and Natalie is really enjoying being with him as a family and her daughter, Zetilia, loves him. “She saw the black horse advert and started squeaking – she thinks it is Alfie and now we have to keep playing it over and over for her. She is not so interested in the other horses at the yard, but she knows Alfie!” said Natalie.

Riding Horse/Hack
A large class was split for the initial judging by Richard Ramsay (conformation) and David Ingle (ride), with 6 horses coming back for the final selection. Abigail Shaw, 27, took the top spot riding Argentina, a 5 year old bay mare owned and bred by Robert Sampson. “She was bred to show jump, but I loan her for the time being while she matures”, explained Abigail. She has done a one day event and jump cross and came to SFAS because she thought it might suit her. Abi also hunts regularly with the Readyfield Bloodhounds riding side saddle on her cob. “I would like to try side saddle with Argentina, but not while she is still growing”, said Abi. The pair have done a couple of local shows and were successful at their first big show, winning the Amateur Riding Horse and standing champion at the Festival of Hunting. They will now head to Equifest which will be good experience, but plans to compete at another one day event may be put on hold until after HOYS. “I need to go to some shows that are a bit busier to get her used to the atmosphere before HOYS. Equifest should be good for that, but she is really easy so she should be fine”, said a delighted Abi.

Second place went to Emma Paice, 21, riding her own Runon Hurricane Gold, known as Leo, who showed exceptional maturity given that he has been backed for less than 6 months. Emma bought the 6 year old bay gelding 3 months ago just after he had been backed, and they have since done lots of schooling and hacking. “We have done one dressage competition, which was our first ridden show, and this is the first show class we have done and only his second ever show”, said an excited Emma. The place ensures a rare double for the family as her mother, Amanda Firman, qualified her hunter, Pallaidian, at the SFAS Houghton Hall qualifier. Mum and daughter will head to HOYS together, along with support from Emma’s partner and farrier, Liam Flanaghan, and Amanda’s husband, Colin Firman. The family had a long day, starting out at 3 am from Edenbridge, Kent, to get to Vale View. “I really wanted to get to HOYS, so I entered 3 qualifiers and managed to qualify at the first one!” said Amanda. “So we decided to come for the experience, and just brought Leo for the outing”, she explained. The win crowned a good week for Emma, who started a new job as receptionist at an equine vet.

The class was split for preliminary judging, giving the ponies plenty of room to show themselves for the judges, Chris Lawton and David Ingle. In the final selection, Samantha Roylance’s lovely show pony, Grovelan Obsession, took first place, ridden by Harriet Roylance, 17, from Stockport. The family have owned the 6 year old chestnut gelding, known as Finn, since October. He was bought to replace a 12.2hh mountain and moorland pony that Harriet had grown out of and she wanted to continue showing. “This is our first season so he is still a novice, but he has never spooked at anything and has been really good”, said Harriet, who is studying at Kings, Macclesfield and expected her AS Level results the following week. The pair are doing well so far, standing reserve champion Amateur of the Year at Rossendale show. At home they love hacking and going to the beach. “It is about an hour a way so we go on day trips. Finn loves it and they go in the sea quite deep”, said Sam. The pair will head to the BSPS Championships in August and then some local shows before HOYS. “We have a new ménage, so they can do lots of practice at home!” said Sam.

Second place went to the hunter pony, Bevois Crusader, known as Joey, ridden by Jorja Smith, 13, and owned by her great grandmother, Jean Bentall. Jorja was helped on the day by her aunt, Samantha Jakes, who was competing in the Show Hunter class. Joey was bought unbroken from the field and Jorja has had the 7 year old grey gelding, for 2 years. Last year they competed in local shows at The Gate Inn Riding Club, and found that the pony needed to be brought on slowly. This is their first year doing affiliated shows and they have already competed at the Royal International Horse Show in the Pretty Polly Home Produced class. “It was a very long, 24 hour day”, said Sam, as they had travelled from Atherstone to the Sussex event. They will head to Equifest next week, where Jorja and her friends will enjoy the chocolate fountain as well as looking forward to their show classes. “Qualifying for HOYS is a dream”, said Jorja, a student at the Queen Elizabeth Academy. She will have a strong family following at HOYS as 4 generations will be going along to support.

A large class was split into three sections for initial judging by Richard Ramsay (conformation) and David Bartram (ride). Six horses came back for the final placing and the top spot went to The Parishoner, owned and ridden by Ann Partington, from Macclesfield. This was a fairytale result for Ann who has wanted to qualify for HOYS in SEIB Search for a Star for 15 years. “I tried with my previous horse, but she just wasn’t good enough and then I had a break from riding for 7 years”, explained Ann. “But I had this dream of doing HOYS on a grey horse, and spent years looking for the right one. We did Bury Farm and came 4th. We have had to do a lot of work but we have done it and I m absolutely thrilled. It is a real dream for me to have done this”, she said. Ann bought The Parishoner as an unbroken 2 year old and has done everything herself. “I have spent the last 3 years and I don’t know how much money set on getting this result. It just goes to show that if you set your mind to it, it is possible”, she enthused. The pair have previously done some riding club in-hand shows before bring out the 5 year old under saddle. “He is still young and I need to get him out more. He needs to see a lot more of life before we go to HOYS”, she said. At home they go hacking and spend a lot of time schooling, and Ann fits in looking after him around working for a pharmaceutical company.

Second place went to another grey, Game of Thrones, known as Dermot, owned and ridden by Kieran Quinn, 28, from Port Talbot. Kieran went to Ireland to buy a MW show hunter and bought Dermot as an untouched 3 year old. “I could not afford a made horse, and I prefer something that no-one has done anything with”, he said. “I started him in February and backed him myself – he was so easy and has never put a foot wrong. He has only been backed 4 months”, explained Kieran, who sold two hunt horses to enable him to buy Dermot. “This is only his second show. We went to the SFAS qualifier at Bury and came 8th. I was pretty disheartened but the judge said that he was just green and I needed to ride him. I was happier then and we have worked hard to prepare for today”, said Kieran, who works as a welding inspector. Kieran has hunted all his life and field masters with the Banwen Miners hunt, but someone suggested that he should have a go at showing. “We will do 1 or 2 more shows before HOYS, but won’t over do him. He is so good at home – the kids love him and he is so big they can walk under him. I am just so pleased that someone else thinks he is good!” said Kieran.

First place, Boyland Matilda, owned by Anne Burton from Ongar, Essex, and ridden by Andrew Clayton. Tilly, an 8 year old grey mare, has been in Anne’s ownership since she was a 3 year old. “She is a Percheron and was bred to be a show plough horse but she was just too bouncy and was put out in a field with the cows”, said Ann, who was looking for a large horse that would suit her. She bought the mare unhandled and having backed her and brought her on she started showing her plaited as a hunter. Andrew saw her in a class and suggested that she should be shown as a maxi cob. “I gave Ann my phone number and said if she wanted a rider, to give me a call” said Andrew, who owns a catering business. Ann keeps Tilly at home and still competes in dressage and does sponsored rides, but does not like riding in public.

Second place went to Cobbington Bear, owned and ridden by Paula Kirk-Ellis from South Normanton, Derbyshire. Known as Ted, Paula bought the 5 year old bay gelding last march. “He was untouched, and only had a piece of baler twine to catch him in the stable. He was backed last July and came out showing this year. Our first show was the grass roots qualifier at Addington and we qualified for the national championships”, said a delighted Paula. They have had numerous successes this year in novice classes, standing second at Bakewell, winning the novice and open at Molyneux Show and second at Ashby. “He is still novice, but he is amazingly grown up. He never bothers about anything and tries his best every single day. He has really found his niche in the last couple of weeks”, said Paula, who works as a self employed bookkeeper. Paula has been helped and encouraged by her two friends, Kerilee Wilson Smith and Val Henshaw, who have both competed in Search for a Star in the past. Paula and Ted will go to Royal London and the BSHA National Championships before heading to HOYS.

Third place went to Cavalier Jack, owned and ridden by Lorraine Taylor, 28, from Essex. Lorraine has had the 11 year old piebald gelding for a year, and bought him to show. “I had always had show hunters, but after losing the last two, I gave up all together. Then my friend, Nicky Travers, saw this on facebook and suggested we have a day out to go and have a look. He did not look like a show horse but I had decided that I just wanted to be a happy hacker. The previous owner was scared of him and he looked a bit average and shaggy, but I decided to have him. Then I fell off and broke my pelvis, but I did not realise it and kept going!” explained Lorraine. “Then I just got bored and decided I wanted to go showing again. I clipped him out and cleaned him up and entered him in Maxi Cob classes. My friend Elise Stingemore, comes to all the shows and grooms for me, I really couldn’t do it without her”, said Lorraine. This season they won their first county level show at Tendering County. The pair also compete in dressage and do Team Quest, and will go to Equifest, some clinics and the BSHA National Championships before heading to HOYS. “HOYS has been a dream for a long time but I did not have my previous horses for long enough to show”, said a delighted Lorraine, who works in insurance.


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

Working Hunter
1st Dorissimo, owned by Elaine Hack and ridden by Genevieve Walters of Wysall, Notts
2nd Silvarno, owned and ridden by Sally Hibbert of Derby
3rd Magnum Van Overis, owned by Mark Williams and ridden by Dawn Ross of Oakham

Riding Club Show Horse
1st Dorissimo, owned by Elaine Hack and ridden by Genevieve Walters
2nd Magnum Van Overis, owned by Mark Williams and ridden by Dawn Ross
3rd Alfie, owned and ridden by Natalie Drake of Macclesfield

Riding Horse/Hack
1st Argentina, owned by Robert Sampson and ridden by Abigail Shaw, from Chesterfield
2nd Runnon Hurricane Gold, owned and ridden by Emma Paice from Edenbridge, Kent

Show Hunter
1st The Parishoner, owned and ridden by Ann Partington of Macclesfield
2nd Game of Thrones, owned and ridden by Kieran Quinn of Port Talbot

1st Boyland Matilda, owned by Ann Burton and ridden by Andrew Clayton of Basildon, Essex
2nd Cobbington Bear, owned and ridden by Paula Kirk-Ellis of South Normington, Derbys

1st Grovelan Obsession, owned by Samantha Roylance and ridden by Harriet Roylance from Wernethlow, Cheshire
2nd Bevois Crusader, owned by Jean Bentall and ridden by Jorja Coughlan-Smith from Birmingham