The fifth qualifier in the 2016 series of SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse, took place on Sunday 7th August at Vale View Equestrian Centre in Leicestershire.

This large class was judged by Jill Wormall (ride) and Philip Hilton (conformation) and was split for initial judging before the final 8 were brought back for the placings.

First place went to Sarah Ward’s What Of It, ridden by Hannah Horton, 22. “I have only been riding him for three weeks, and this is his first ever show”, said a delighted Hannah. “We were on the wait list for the Burghley qualifier, so we thought we had better come and have a go here. He is very special”, said Sarah of the 13 year old dark bay gelding. Known at home as Wattie, he was bought from racehorse trainer, Tom George, by Sarah for her son Tom to race. Trained by Sarah, they had 3 wins and 3 seconds and succeeded in qualifying for the Aintree Foxhunters. Tom Ward is now assistant trainer to Richard Hannon. During his racing career, Wattie won 4 races under rules from 23 starts and was first in 4 point to points from 19 starts as well as being placed many times. “Having done so much, it is marvellous that he retired from racing with such clean limbs”, said Sarah. Since retiring in 2015, Wattie lives with Sarah and has done a bit of everything, including arena eventing. “He worked well on the flat, so we thought we would try showing. He is totally chilled, and in fact he is really quite lazy and does not want to work hard. He jumps and he could event, but he loves posing so this is more his thing”, she explained. Sarah took Wattie to Richard Ramsay to ask his advice and he suggested that Hannah could take on the ride. Hannah started riding him just 3 weeks before the show and they have already struck up a great partnership.

Second place went to Paul Langrick, riding Rebecca O’Neill’s lovely chestnut gelding, Clonard Lad. The pair qualified last year, finishing 7th in the R2R HOYS final. “This time last year he was only just out of training, and he has come on so much since then”, said Paul. This is their second season showing and Paul has registered him this year as a large riding horse. They won the novice class at Midland Counties and were second in a large riding horse HOYS qualifier and Reserve champion riding horse at Bakewell show just a few days before coming to Vale View. Clonard Lad won twice under rules from 10 starts over fences and in hurdle races, earning over £16,000 in prize money. “This is completely different to what they had known, but he is chilled at home. He does some dressage and we just pick the shows”, said a delighted Paul.

1st What Of It, owned by Sarah Ward and ridden by Hannah Horton
2nd Clonard Lad, owned by Rebecca O’Neill and ridden by Paul Langrick
3rd Nicene Creed, owned and ridden by Hannah Chisman
4th Jack the Giant, owned by The Jackpots syndicate and ridden by Allister Hood
5th Grey Topper owned by Lucy Barlow and ridden by Claire Oliver
6th Hazard Away owned by Nicola Smith and ridden by Dean Shaw