The 2011 South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship qualifiers continued at Wellington Riding on 17th July, attracting entries from far and wide to compete for the chance to attend The Horse Of The Year Show finals, held at the NEC Birmingham in October.


Working Hunter
1st, Bilwood Tom Putt, owned and ridden by Sonia Marfleet of Rudgewick, West Sussex
2nd, Milan, owned by Nicky Ferguson and ridden by Issy Bradley of Chelmsford
3rd, Play That Jazz, owned by Jayne Hillier and ridden by Danielle Lethbridge of Southampton
4th, San Suave Prince, owned and ridden by Ros Head of Horsham, West Sussex

Riding Club Show Horse
1st, Kilcara Diamond, owned and ridden by Caroline Hawkins of Henton, Oxfordshire
2nd, Passe Partout, owned and ridden by Simone Renouf of Guernsey

Show Hunter
1st, Agent 007, owned and ridden by Karen Newman of Maidstone, Kent
2nd Drovers Golden Monarch, owned and ridden by Caroline Hawkins of Henton, Oxfordshire
3rd Guiding Light, owned and ridden by Val Henshaw of Nottingham

1st Goldun Conquest, owned by Mrs Angela Dark and ridden by Abbie Dark of Crofty, Swansey
2nd Just Trouble, owned by Mrs Virginia Tidy and ridden by Samantha Tidy of Ipswich, Suffolk

Riding Horse/Hack
1st Count On Me, owned and ridden by Ellie Brassey of Marlborough, Wiltshire
2nd Olivia, owned and ridden by Katy Benedetto of Dorking

1st Addiwell Apache Prince, owned by Ian Hare and ridden by Elizabeth Osborne, of Walliswood, Surrey
2nd Herbie, owned and ridden by Katherine Beesley of Windsor

These are the winners of the classes but they may not all have qualified for Horse of the Year Show due to passport or other irregularities or at the judge’s discretion or where the same rider has qualified twice.

Judges, Richard Ramsay (conformation) and David Bartram (ride), judged the Riding Horse/Hack, Cob, Ponies, Riding Club Show Horse, Show and Working Hunters, assisted by ride judges Matthew Maher Burns and probationary judge, Faye Hesketh. “This competition gives amateurs the chance to compete at HOYS, a dream which many riders would love to realise. There was a positive yet competitive atmosphere in all of the classes and the standard of horses and turnout was excellent”, commented Richard.

Working Hunter
Of the 7 entries, 4 jumped clear and the standard was high in the final judging phase, causing the judges to present 4 HOYS tickets. The winner, Bilwood Tom Putt, owned and ridden by Sonya Marfleet of Rudgwick, West Sussex, jumped a fluent clear and went beautifully for ride judge, David Bartram. Sonya has owned the 12 year old bay gelding, for 5 years, having bought for hunting and riding club activities. “I never imagined that I would do showing but I went to a clinic and learned what to do”, said Sonya, who also competes in BSJA show jumping and BE eventing and had been a regular member of riding club teams for Horsham and District Riding Club. The pair were a member of the 4th placed show jumping team at the Lincoln Riding Club Championships and 4th placed team at Hickstead. They were also 4th at the finals of the Top Score competition at Royal Windsor and second in the Working Hunter at the Balanced Horse Feeds Championships in 2009. “We also go hunting regularly with the Surrey Union, Chiddingfold, Lecondfield and Cowdray and the Crawley and Horsham”, says Sonya, who works as Cabin Crew for BA out of Heathrow. “The thought of getting to HOYS is so out of reach for amateurs, just to go is so exciting”.

Second place went to Milan, known as Milly, owned and ridden by 22 year old, Issy Bradley, 22. Milly is a 12 year old bought by Issy just a couple of months ago to show jump. She had previously jumped foxhunters and B & C level but this is their first attempt at showing. “Friends said that we should have a go, so we thought we would have a change”, said Issy, who has 5 horses, including a mare who had foaled this morning before they left at 5am. “I want to have a go at open workers, as she has got the jump. She is sharp but she is not spooky at all – so she should be fine with the course at HOYS. I am in shock! I should play the lottery today!” said Issy, from Felstead, Essex. Issy has completed a degree and is having a year or two “playing with horses before deciding what to do next”.

Jayne Hillier’s Play That Jazz, ridden by Danielle Lethbridge, took third place. The 9 year old chestnut mare is home bred, out of Jayne’s homebred mare who competed in all riding club activities and is now retired. Jazz has followed in her dam’s footsteps, having also done a bit of everything including riding club activities, dressage, show jumping, and finished 9th in a BE one day event. During the last 2 years they have done county level showing showing. “We have had some really positive comments from the judges – they say he is an old style hunter. HOYS is a huge step for us. It is lovely to qualify, for her and me just to take part”, said Danielle, who plans to breed from the mare eventually. The pair will compete at Romsey and Alresford County shows before heading to HOYS. “This is the biggest thing we have done so far and it is our first time showing at this level” said delighted Danielle, who works as a Neighbourhood Manager for a Housing Asociation in Southampton.

Fourth place went to Ros Head, riding her own San Sauve Prince. Ros has owned the 13 year old grey gelding since he was a 5 year old, having bought him to share with her son for hunting and pony club activities. “I have ridden all my life but this is the first horse I have owned myself”, said the Livery Yard Manager. “He has done riding club, novice eventing, elementary dressage, newcomers, riding club teams – just about everything he could do. He is a superstar”, added Ros, who runs a busy livery yard and finds it difficult to get out to shows with her own horse. “He was off all winter with an injury and so I am just delighted that he has come back so well. Several people said I should show him, and he has won locally and done some open workers. He is very laid back and so I am sure he will cope with HOYS”, she added.

Riding Club Show Horse
The Riding Club Show Horse class required competitors to jump two fences and negotiate trotting poles before the final judging. Caroline Hawkins improved on her position at Osbaldeston to take the top spot and a coveted HOYS ticket at Wellington with her own Kilcara Diamond. “I bought her as an unbroken 3 year old at Goresbridge sales in Ireland and she has been home produced for ever. We have done a bit of everything, dressage, showjumping and eventing, but this is only the third time we have done any showing”. The pair trained with the 2008 Riding Club Rural Riders 2* European event team but sadly Kincara Diamond went lame and could not be part of the team. They competed in BSJA Newcomers and won Elementary dressage. Last year the mare had a foal and she has only been back in work since March. Caroline, from Henton, Oxfordshire, is a mother of two and teaches at Pony Club. “It is just amazing to have qualified for HOYS”, she said.

Second place went to Passe Partout, owned and ridden by Simone Renouf from Guernsey. Simone has owned the 8 year old warmblood gelding for 3 and a half years, having bought him to do showing and jumping and for her daughter to do Pony Club. “We do not have any indoor facilities in Guernsey and all our events are held outdoors. There are only 7 or 8 shows so it is a bit restricted and so you really have to do everything. Judges from UK had suggested that he was good enough to show in the UK so we had to come and have a go”, explained Simone, who had made the 3 ½ hour crossing with her horse to compete in the UK for the first time. But this was not the beginning. Having decided to do SFAS, Simone discovered that her horse’s Dutch Warmblood passport did not show her as the owner, a DEFRA and SFAS requirement, and so, in the space of just 1 week, she rang the passport issuing office in Holland, returned the document by special delivery, obtained a faxed copy of the stamped ownership details and had the original returned by DHL – it arrived 5 minutes before she was due to leave the office on Thursday to travel to Wellington. “I am just so happy it has all worked out,” said Simone, who works for Northern Trust Guernsey Ltd.

Show Hunter
Another strong entry saw thirteen horses come before the judges. First place went to Agent 007, known as “Odin”, owned and ridden by Karen Newman of Maidstone, Kent, who has owned the 12 year old, 17.2hh chestnut gelding, since he was 4 years old. “He is a warmblood and came from Denmark, but I bought him through dealer, just backed. I wanted an allrounder and he has done a bit of everything. We have done dressage up to elementary and jumped Discovery classes in BSJA show Jumping”, explained Karen, who has started showing him over last couple of years. “We did a local show and won last year, and then we won the Supreme Champion of Showing at the British Riding Clubs Festival of the Horse. This year we have been doing some county shows and came 5th at Kent County yesterday in HW hunter class”, explains Karen, who is married with a young daughter, Yasmin. “Showing has become out thing and se set our goal to do SFAS and qualify for HOYS. He does not normally spook or worry but we will work hard to get ready for HOYS and go to the training day”, said Karen. The pair will also compete at the Royal County of Berkshire Show in the HW and Amateur HW classes as part of their preparation. “This is brilliant, it was our aim and I can’t believe we have done it!” she added. Karen fits in looking after Odin around her job working for AXS PPP Healthcare Insurance, and is helped by her husband, Mark, and father in law, who act as groom and look after Yasmin while Karen is competing. “I have fantastic family support and they will all be there at HOYS”, adds Karen.

Second place went to Caroline Hawkins, with her own, Drovers Golden Monarch. Caroline bought the 6 year old ID x TB by Gahreeb at Goresbridge Sales in Ireland and he has turned into the “perfect family horse”. “I can lead off him and my 4 year old daughter rides him round the yard. He has done riding club, jumped clear at the National XC qualifier, was Champion 4 year old in prelim dressage, won his first elementary and jumped double clear at British Novice BSJA”, enthused Caroline. However she had to make a difficult choice having also qualified Kilcara Diamond in the Riding Club Show Horse earlier in the day.

As SFAS only allows competitors one HOYS place, Caroline chose Kilcara Diamond, and the judges decided that the third placed horse, Val Henshaw’s Guiding Light, should be given the ticket.

Guiding Light is known as “Becks” at home and was so named by the children of the person he was bought from – they were football fans! The 11 year old chestnut is pure Irish Draught, by Banksfee Daniel, out of Golden Chance, and was bred by the late Leslie Dungworth, a renowned ID breeder. Val, from Nottingham, has owned Becks since he was 4 years old and bought him unbroken. “I bought him to replace my previous horse who was an ID cross and I wanted a horse to do everything but I also wanted to do ID showing. He is just lovely, such a nice person to do. He does workers and goes bloodhounding and has won many in hand and ridden ID classes”, says Val. He was In hand and ridden ID champion at Ashby de la zouche show the previous week, came 3rd in the Amateur HW’s at White Rose, 2nd at Newark & Notts in HW, and has qualified for RIHS. “This is our last chance to do SFAS. Last year we came 3rd and 5th at SFAS qualifiers, just missing out on HOYS qualification”, said a delighted Val. They Aim to do workers. Some BSJA – loves jumping does jmping with friend. “Last year he represented the breed on their stand at HOYS and stood in a stable and was patted by the public – he did not seem to mind the atmosphere and I am sure he will be able to cope with competing there. We will do lots of practice and go to the training to get ready”, added Val, who will be heading to the RIHS and then the ID Breed Show in September before HOYS.

Ponies of Show Hunter and Show type came before the judges who awarded first place to Angela Dark’s lovely show Hunter Pony, Goldun Conquest, ridden by 18 year old, Abbie Dark from Swansea. “Murphy” as he is known at home is half Connemara and the Darks have owned the 8 year old for a year. “This is his first year out, and he had done nothing before we got him”, said Angela. The dun gelding has been lightly shown this year, standing Supreme Novice at Sunny Bank, winning a local championship at Cothibridge and coming second at Lincoln, he has also qualified for the David Manning and Pretty Poly Championships. The pair plan to do the Royal Welsh and keep trying to qualify in open classes. Murphy is home produced and this is the first time he has done SFAS. “This has been a long time coming but qualifying for HOYS has been my ambition”, said Abbie, 18, who has previously ridden M&Ms but has always missed out on the HOYS ticket. She has just finished her a levels and plans to do dog grooming for her gap year.

Second place went to Virginia Tidy’s show pony, Just Trouble, ridden by Samantha Tidy, 20, from Ipswich. Virginia and Sam have had the 9 year old bay gelding for 3 years but this is only his second show class. “We did 2 local shows this year and qualified for Equifest as a hack and intermediate and qualified for the BSPS Bright Star Show Hunter”, explained Sam. “I am shocked. I always wanted something to ride at HOYS. We bought him to do workers but have stuck to flat classes as it seems to be his thing”. Sam keeps him at a DIY livery yard and when she goes to University – Sam is studying for an Equine degree at Writtle – Just Trouble goes too. “There is a yard close by and I kept him there last winter. He really improved as I was able to ride regularly. I also have lessons with Katie Jerram and she suggested we have a go at SFAS”, she said.

Riding Horse/Hack
Ellie Brassey with her own Count on me, took the top spot in the Riding Horse/Hack class. Ellie, from Marlborough, has owned the 13 year old bay mare, an Oldenburg bred in Ireland, for 5 years, having bought her with the aim of showing. However the pair have also hunted and done jumping and only started showing last year. “I have never done showing before but I really wanted to go to HOYS!” said Ellie. Last year the pair won the novice small Riding Horse Class at Crickland and did some open qualifiers and the Novice Show Riding Type at Newbury. “I heard about SFAS through adverts and thought we would give it a go. HOYS was my ambition”, explained Ellie, who is doing an equine science course at Oxford Brooks. “She has settled right down and should cope fine with HOYS”, she added.

Second place went to Katie Benedetto from Dorking, riding her own grey mare, Olivia. Katie has owned the 15 year old for 5 years. “She came to our yard looking a bit sorry, but I liked her conformation and paces and bought her”, she explained. The pair have mainly competed in dressage but last year they showed at Cranleigh Shoe just for fun. “We did well so I decided to give showing a go, but we have not done much more. We have done affiliated dressage and local shows at Ardingly. A friend, Victoria Ayling, is a show rider and she sold me a jacket – you could say I was motivated by fashion! And it was Victoria who recommended that we should have a go at SFAS”. The pair also plan to compete at the Edenbridge & Oxtead show. “Mainly we go hacking and jumping in woods and do local clear round jumping and Olivia seems to really enjoy it. She is a very intelligent mare and needs to be kept busy, so I am lucky to have such nice hacking in the Surrey Hills. We like routine and I ride every day after work”, explained Katie, a Project Manager for a design engineering company. “I have to travel quite a lot for work but friends on our DIY yard look after Olivia when I am away. She is quite a character. Her expression and mischief is hilarious. She is the best horse – everything a horse should be!”

The final class of the day saw a good entry, with 11 Cobs coming before the Judges. First place went to the lovely coloured, Addiewells Apache Prince, owned by Ian Hare from Walliswood, Surrey, and ridden by Elizabeth Osborne. Ian’s late wife, Beryl Hare, bought Prince as a 2 year old but she died before she was able to do anything with him. Elizabeth and Sophie Spear were good friends of Beryl, “she taught me everything”, says Sophie, and so Elizabeth took him on, assisted by Sophie. “He was backed in March and has been brought on as Beryl would have wanted. It has been Ian’s dream to have success with this horse as Beryl would have done it”, says Sophie, a previous winner of SFAS. “He has done a bit of dressage, and Versatile Trec – it is like Le Trec but with dressage instead of orienteering and Beryl was very good at it”, explained Liz. “He has become Mr Useful, which is just how Beryl would have had him, nannying other riders and just being a pleasure to have on the yard. You don’t have to think twice about him, he just gets on with it”, she added. “Liz decided to have a go at SFAS this year and there has been a lot of hard work to get him ready. He will have a bit of a break now and then lots of practice to get ready for HOYS”, said Sophie. “This is just fantastic, the best thing ever”, added Ian, who still keeps the horse he refers to as “mate” at home despite not been very horsey himself.

Second place went to Herbie, owned and ridden by Katherine Beesley from Windsor. Katherine has owned the Irish 10 year old for 2 years, having bought him to show and do dressage. “We have also just started to do some jumping”, said Katherine. The pair were 5th at Royal Windsor in the Amateur Cob class and have also done some local shows. “Windsor is my local show and so I decided to take him there for his first show in 2010, which was probably a bit ambitious! The judge recommended he should lose some weight so I will work hard now to get ready for the training day and then HOYS. We have nothing more planned for this season”, said Katherine, 32, who works as an accountant. Herbie is kept on a DIY livery yard and Katherine does him in the evenings, fitting in riding around work. “Friends on the yard are great and we help each other. He is a very kind and gentle horse and a favourite on the yard, and now he is going to be famous!” she said. Friends and family will all be there to support the pair at HOYS. “I am in shock – this is a dream!”, added Katherine.

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship and Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, 4th – 9th October 2011, at NEC, Birmingham.