West Wilts Search for A Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse Qualifier

West Wilts Equestrian Centre provided a great new Search for a Star venue for the qualifier on the 9th August. Judges, Richard Ramsay, Jordan Cook, Hannah Horton and Louise Gaunt were assisted by stewards, Helen Dunwell, John Foster and Craig McLelland. Entries were not as plentiful as at some of the earlier Search for a Star qualifiers, but the judges were impressed with the standard of horses coming forward to try for tickets to the prestigious Search for a Star Horse of the Year Show and Your Horse Live championships. The classes at West Wilts were all held in the outside arena, which was generally a popular choice with competitors, although it meant several competitors went home a bit damp!

It was third time lucky for an ecstatic Dot Clowes with Edwina Alhumaidhi’s dun mare, Templebready Alainn in the working horse class at West Wilts. At the Onley Grounds qualifier they came 3rd, at Stoneleigh the pair won and then had to overcome the disappointment of a passport irregularity meaning they were disqualified. Following a rush turnaround to get the passport details correctly updated from the passport issuing authority, Dot and Templebready Alainn set off at 3am from Leicestershire to win the class at West Wilts. Dot said: “I just never thought this would happen. I am so excited, yet a little bit scared about going to HOYS! Templebready Alainn is owned by Edwina’s daughter Leila who is off at university and I am so delighted to have her on loan. She is so genuine and gives everything each time she goes out. I came to showing late, but it is the best day out. Our aim is to go and have fun. I have hunted in Tipperary and Leicestershire and Search for a Star has given me great hope for showing!”

The working pony winner, Julie Carter riding her own Welsh part-bred pony, Senny Cymro was lucky to be out competing at West Wilts. Julie said: “Ever since I was a child, I wanted a black and white pony and to ride him at HOYS! I am beyond thrilled that this dream has come true and so lucky to be here today as I have had a rumbling appendix for the last week. I have been on antibiotics and pain killers for the last week, which have been keeping it just about under control. I just have to hope it settles down before HOYS.” Julie has owned Charlie as the pony is known for 6 years, she bought him from her riding instructor, Gemma Todd to compete in showing classes. Julie continued: “Gemma will be so pleased, she is the first person I will ring with the news. We will keep heading out and about in the run up to HOYS with some more shows and fun rides.” Julie works for Renishaw Engineering, she added: “Everyone at work is always interested in how Charlie and I are getting on at the shows.” Class judge, Louise Gaunt said: “Our pony winner was a great type and he jumped the fences fantastically.”

The show hunter class at West Wilts was very competitive, ride judge, Hannah Horton and conformation judge, Richard Ramsay had a brilliant selection of horses forward. In first place was homebred, Gracemhors Savannah with her breeder and rider, Sally Dodsworth. A thrilled Sally said: “This is the first Search for a Star class we have entered! I am in shock! A friend said, why not give Search for a Star a go and so here we are. We have both Savannah and her full brother that we bred from our KWPN x thoroughbred mare, she is by Avanti Amorous Archie. I broke Savannah in with a friend and this is just her third outing this year. I am not really a show rider, but we have decided to give it a go. Savannah has a bit of a claim to fame in that her damline – on the thoroughbred side – goes back to Quorum, the sire of Red Rum!” Gracemhors Savannah also won at the Midlands Irish Draught Show earlier this season.

Former Virtual Search for a Star winner, Mr P II and his owner and rider Melanie Tegg took second place in the hunter class at West Wilts. Melanie said: “I’ve owned only greys since I was a child. I very sadly lost my 22-year-old grey show horse just last week, so we came in memory of him today. I am just chuffed to bits to be off to HOYS, I’ve been going to watch the hunters pretty much every year since I was a child. We went to the Search for a Star qualifier at Onley a couple of weeks ago and they said to come back – so we did! I am so impressed by the Search for a Star ride judges, Jordan Cook rode him beautifully at Onley and Hannah Horton had him going great here today. The feedback we had from the virtual Search for a Star class was a gamechanger, this series is the way forward for amateur riders to improve. The feedback given is honest, open and constructive.” Melanie and Mr PII will be going out jumping, to a Lucinda Green clinic and fun rides between now and HOYS. Melanie works as a commercial negotiator for Xerox.

In third place in the hunter class was Eve Redfern from Derbyshire with her mother, Hayley McInnes‘ horse, Sam Shepherds Hill. Eve said: “This was only our second Search for a Star qualifier, it was definitely worth the four-and-a-half hour journey down! We went to the Richmond qualifier a few weeks ago and he had a bit of an off day which is really unlike him. He is a purebred Irish Draught by Pembroke Royal Blue, my mum bought him from his breeder, Delyth Roberts as a two-year-old. He is properly home-produced!” Eve and Sam went to the Great Yorkshire Show last month and took 10th place in the Irish Draught class. She added: “Before Search for a Star we had only competed in the Irish Draught shows and classes. I have a nine-month-old baby boy and this has been our first trip away from him. My mum said he slept until 8.30 this morning, hopefully he will do the same tomorrow when I am back! The judges today commented on Sam’s correct conformation. They said it definitely warranted him going through to HOYS in 3rd place.”

Eventer, Jordan Meakins and Trenavey Dazzler won the riding horse hack class at West Wilts. Jordan said: “I’ve always wanted to go to HOYS! We have evented up to novice level and following a bad fall I have lost confidence so we decided to give showing a go instead. This was going to be our chilling out year and I am so thrilled that we have gone and qualified for HOYS. Riding in the ring today – and it going so well - has really boosted my confidence. The judge mentioned that we do need to practice the in-hand part of the competition ahead of HOYS.” Trevaney Dazzler has great breeding – he is by Catherston Dazzler and his damsire is Welton Apollo.” Jordan and Trevaney Dazzler have competed at both the riding club and pony club national championships in eventing. Judge, Richard Ramsay commented: “Our riding horse winner today is a lovely horse and definitely county standard.”

Riding Horse runners up, Jessica Lockwood and Dazzler’s Joker had a long trip from Suffolk to West Wilts. Jessica said: “I have wanted to go to HOYS since I was three years old – so for about the last 30 years or so! We travelled from Suffolk last night and I am so glad we did.” Jessica and Dazzler’s Joker attended the Stoneleigh Search for a Star qualifier and took 3rd place in the hunter class and then 3rd in the riding horse hack class. She continued: “This is his first show season. I bought him out of the field two-years-ago. He had done nothing except be out in the field. When I got him he was very nervous and in poor condition. We have taken things really slowly. I used to do working hunter classes and coloured horse classes with my old horse that is now a veteran.” Jessica works for her family aggregate supply business, JT Few and Eco Concrete Ltd. She added: “At Stoneleigh, my heart was in my mouth at the prospect of a ride judge riding him, but he has gone beautifully for the ride judge both there and here today at West Wilts.”

Wiltshire, dairy farmer, Clare Bennett and her own blue and white mare, Treasure Blue won the cob class at West Wilts to pick up their HOYS ticket. Clare said: “I just can’t believe we have won. We went to Onley to the qualifier and listened to the judge’s advice and now here we are! She was much more relaxed today. This is our first proper season showing together. We have mainly done local and novice classes up until now. She has always been placed and won the cob class at the Beaufort show in 2019 and was 3rd in the novice cobs at Bath and West this season.” Clare has owned Treasure Blue for three years. The mare came over from Ireland as a 7-year-old, Clare continued: “I know the dealer that brought her over from Ireland, saw a picture of her and knew I had to have her. Also, there aren’t many blue and white cobs around.”

Daniella Girvan and her own grey gelding, On A High Touch travelled from Wales to compete at West Wilts and took second place in the cob class. Daniella said: “He really pulled it out of the bag today. On A High Touch always does his best to please. I have owned him for two years and we recently moved from Luton to Wales. We are both loving the change of scenery and the laid-back pace. I grew up owning Welsh ponies and On A High Touch is the first proper show cob I have owned. We will be going to the Search for a Star training day. The judge Jordan Cook said how helpful most competitors find the training day so we definitely don’t want to miss out.”

A smaller than normal SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier at West Wilts saw a top quality field of thoroughbred ex-racehorses. Running out the winners were Hannah Chisman and her bay gelding, First Fandango. Hannah said: “I am so thrilled with this result. We have previously been to four qualifiers since 2019, taking 4th place at each!” First Fandango was in training with Tim Vaughan during a successful racing career where he ran around 50 times, winning 7 races – totaling £70,000 in prize money on the flat and over hurdles and fences. He retired from the track in 2017. Hannah has previously competed in the Racehorse to Riding Horse HOYS finals on First Fandango’s full brother, Nicene Creed. She continued: “It was three or four years ago that Nicene Creed went to HOYS and when I knew that Tim Vaughan had his full brother in training, I hunted him down! First Fandango events to BE100 level, team chases showjumps and does everything. I can even ride him with my son balanced in front of me on the saddle. He is the easiest and nicest horse – he also loves going up on the gallops and helping with the racehorses.”

Rosie Try and her own Azert de Coeur took second place in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class. Rosie said: “I am delighted we have got there, in the last two qualifiers, we have been pulled in 2nd and top. We’ve been practicing with different riders so he gets more used to it and is has paid off. This is his first proper show season, he won a couple of novice retrained racehorse classes last year and was champion racehorse at Brook Farm earlier this season. I got him at the end of 2018. I was out of intermediates and fancied trying a different class. I had mentioned to a friend that I might get an ex-racehorse and they said the trainer Rebecca Menzies had a nice thoroughbred. I saw a video of him and bought him over the phone.” Azert de Coeur is by Tiger Groom and out of a Lampon mare. He won £25,000 in National Hunt races and was in training until he was an eight-year-old. Rosie added: “I will get him out to more indoor shows ahead of HOYS and just keep him ticking over.”


The Search for a Star traditional cob class was amalgamated for the first time at West Wilts with both coloured and solid colour animals in the ring together. Heading the coloured section was Catherine Jenkinson with her own piebald gelding, Dodger 2nd. Catherine has owned Dodger for four years, she said: “We have done pony club and spent the last two years doing local showing.” Catherine and Dodger went to the Richmond Search for a Star qualifier and were unplaced. Following on from that they went to Onley Grounds and took 2nd place before continuing on with the TOYS show that followed Search for a Star at Onley where Dodger 2nd stood reserve champion junior small gelding. The pair are trained by Sue Chappelhow-Lacey. Catherine added: “Dodger will have a holiday now and then do some hacking and cross country in the run up to HOYS”. Fifteen-year-old Catherine is a pupil at Appleby Grammar School. Judge, Richard Ramsay said: “Our coloured winner went very well, he clearly very well-schooled and gave a good account of himself.”

In the solid colour traditional class, Gabriella Worley and Anne Diggle’s bay gelding, Bruce were the winners. Gabriella said: “I have been trying to qualify for HOYS since 2011. Bruce is the third horse I have tried on and I am so delighted to have managed it! Anne bought Bruce in January as an allrounder pony for pony club, camp and jumping for her children that are in Glossop Pony Club. He is wonderful out hacking and has the best manners. Anne and I are friends and I teach and help her children and we came up with the idea for me to give Search for a Star a go with Bruce. This is the first qualifier we have been to.” Gabriella works as a groom at Hargate Hill Equestrian Centre, she competes mainly in showjumping including British Showjumping classes.

Fell pony, Mosshey Centurion won the Mountain and Moorland, Your Horse Live qualifying class for his owner and rider, Georgia Norton. A delighted Georgia said: “I am just thrilled, I’ve only had him for a year. We got him just before lockdown which turned out to be a godsend. We have been to lots of clinics and training and learned lots together. I had always had plaited Arabs before Mosshey Centurion and the last one I had was a bit loopy so we decided on a change. I wanted something I could go and have fun on and do different things with. Mosshey Centurion has been reserve supreme champion at our local show and done arena eventing.” The pair headed to the Onley Search for a Star qualifier and took 4th place in the mountain and moorland, they have also been placed in the Search for a Star working pony class. Georgia added: “I work as a veterinary nursing assistant for small animals in a veterinary referral hospital, assisting with surgery which is fascinating. I am starting my veterinary nursing training in January. I was working as a veterinary assistant with horses, but this took away from my hobby so I switched to small animals which is working out brilliantly.”

Hannah Sedgwick and her grey Connemara, Carrowkeel Storm took second place in the mountain and moorland class at West Wilts. Hannah said: “I am very pleased with her, this is the third mountain and moorland class we have competed in. When Storm was an unbroken five-year-old, she used to live next door to us, but kept on jumping in to our field. She kept on jumping in so in the end her old owner gifted her to me, over six-years-ago now. Carrowkeel Storm is very well bred, she has Western Duchess and Mountain Cascade bloodlines. She originally came from Ireland and her dam was a great jumping pony.” Hannah competes mainly in endurance with Storm. The pair have competed – and won - at up to 64km level. They were selected for the home international team at 64km and won their class. Hannah explained: “I went to a show with my sister and her youngster a while ago and liked it, so I decided that Storm and I would have a go too!”

The veteran class was won by Desert Sea and his owner and rider, Dawn Bacchus. Desert Sea is an eighteen-year-old ex-racehorse and won £116,000 during his racing career for trainer David Arbuthnot. Dawn has had Desert Sea since he retired from the track as an eight-year-old. Dawn said: “We do plenty of showing and dressage, he competes at medium level dressage and is my absolute pet. We go off on lots of long hacks and have a great time. We also finished in 4th place in the Search for a Star riding horse hack qualifier this morning. I had another ex-racehorse, Amazola, that I competed in the Racehorse to Riding Horse HOYS final in 2009.” Dawn works as a lawyer for the National Trainers Federation – the trade association for racehorse trainers.

SEIB’s Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie said: “What a lovely day we had at West Wilts with super competitors who have been a joy to be around and given such lovely feedback, very different from some of the comments that we receive on social from those sitting in armchairs! Numbers are down this year but that appears to be across the board and something that is affecting most competitions across the UK. We understand how difficult it is to get back on the road after the pandemic and are so proud of the competitors that have been able to attend and the standards that they have managed to achieve. I believe the quality has been exceptional this year and every ticket has been hard fought, with so many competitors travelling from venue to venue to make their dreams come true. We delight every time we see someone who has taken the judges’ comments on board, kept trying, practicing and training, then have come back to finally quality.”

For all Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse information and to enter visit www.seib.co.uk/competitions.

Further qualifying competitions 2021:

14th August – NAF Five Star International Horse Trials, Gloucestershire GL19 3BE (SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Only)

23rd August - Bury Farm Equestrian Club, Buckinghamshire LU7 9BT

Please note that all dates and venues could be subject to change.

The Search for a Star classes with finals at HOYS include; hacks, hunters, working pony, working horses, riding horses, traditional gypsy cobs – of any colour, show cobs, and the longstanding SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse final. Search for a Star qualifiers in the mountain and moorland classes, veteran horse or pony and part-bred traditional cob will head to Your Horse Live for their championships.

Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers set up Search for a Star over 20 years ago so they could offer a unique competition opportunity to many of their amateur rider customers. SEIB has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many equestrian events and activities in addition to Search for a Star.

In the meantime - if you need to insure your horse, horsebox, trailer, yard or business - SEIB are here to help so please give us a call on 01708 850000 or visit www.seib.co.uk. #SEIBhere2help

Results SEIB Search for a Star and Racehorse to Riding Horse West Wilts Equestrian Centre 9th August 2021

Score sheets for Working Horse, Working Pony and Mountain & Moorland can be found here 

Class 1A Working Horse – Templebready Alainn owned by Edwina Al Humaidhi and ridden by Dot Clowes from Leicestershire

Class 1B Working Pony – Senny Cymro owned and ridden by Julie Carter from Gloucestershire

Class 2 Show Hunter – 1st Gracemhors Savannah owned and ridden by Sally Dodsworth from Buckinghamshire

Class 2 Show Hunter – 2nd Mr P II owned and ridden by Melanie Tegg from Gloucestershire

Class 2 Show Hunter – 3rd Sam Shepherds Hill owned by Hayley McInnes and ridden by Eve Redfern from Derbyshire

Class 3 Riding Horse Hack – 1st Trenavey Dazzler owned and ridden by Jordan Meakins from Carmarthen

Class 3 Riding Horse Hack – 2nd Dazzler’s Joker owned and ridden by Jessica Lockwood from Suffolk

Class 4 Show and Maxi Cob – 1st Treasure Blue owned and ridden by Clare Bennett from Wiltshire

Class 4 Show and Maxi Cob – 2nd On A High Touch owned and ridden by Daniella Girvan from South Wales

Class 5 Racehorse to Riding Horse – 1st First Fandango owned and ridden by Hannah Chisman from Gloucestershire

Class 5 Racehorse to Riding Horse – 2nd Azert de Coeur owned and ridden by Rosie Try from Kent

Class 6A Traditional Gypsy Cob Piebald and Skewbald - 1st Dodger 2nd owned and ridden by Catherine Jenkinson from Cumbria

Class 6B Traditional Gypsy Cob Solid Colour – 1st Bruce owned by Anne Diggle and ridden by Gabriella Worley from Stockport

Class 7 Mountain and Moorland – 1st Mosshey Centurion owned and ridden by Georgia Norton from Hampshire

Class 7 Mountain and Moorland – 2nd Carrowkeel Storm owned and ridden by Hannah Sedgwick from Hampshire

Class 9B Veteran Horse – 1st Desert Sea owned and ridden by Dawn Bacchus from  Wiltshire