SEIB Search for a Star Championships back at Your Horse Live with five action packed finals.
The much-anticipated SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star Championships returned to Your Horse Live at Stoneleigh Park on the 12th November in the main SEIB Arena. This time the popular showing finals kept audiences and competitors entertained all morning with five fantastic classes for amateur riders. Each championship winner was awarded a stunning trophy, sash and rosette. Expert commentary was provided by top show producer, Katie Jerram-Hunnable and her Olympic Eventing husband, Chris Hunnable.
Your Horse Live Event Director, Emma Bedford said: “We were thrilled to welcome and host more SEIB Search for a Star championship classes than ever before. This year we had five championships adding part-bred traditional and in-hand along with some amazing amateur and open veteran finalists. The Search for a Star schedule was packed and ran back-to-back all morning on the opening Friday of the show and even more special was seeing it run in the newly sponsored SEIB 3,000 seater arena! It was a huge success for all and it was lovely to see everybody having such a great competition after such a long break.”
The day kicked off with the first ever Search for a Star part-bred traditional championship which saw four excellent examples come forward. The title went to the 15-year-old cob, Branston Pickle, owned by Lee Uttridge and ridden by Rosie Wrest. The pairing from Surrey qualified at Brook Farm and were delighted with their win, Rosie met Lee when she went to the family livery yard near Gatwick. “I started riding Branston nearly six years ago, we started with dressage and then decided to try showing. Lee and I always said if we got just one rosette, we would be happy. I feel very emotional, to have won this championship is just the best feeling.”
Lee explained more: “He will do anything for you and is just an amazing horse, he loved being in the ring today. It is fantastic to have a part-bred traditional class like this that we can take part in. Branston will now enjoy a little rest and then he and Rosie will look to do more showing in the new year with the aim of taking part in their first Concours d’Elegance classes.”
The SEIB Search for a Star Part Bred Traditional class was judged by Sarah Chapman and Andrea Betteridge. Andrea heads up the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association and said: “We had a lovely class here today with some fantastic animals. It was truly great to see the support from the crowd and to be able to give these part-breds a chance to shine in the ring. It is so important to us to promote the breed and show people what these horses are capable of.”
The in-hand championship was next in the ring and did not disappoint. It was judged by Sarah Chapman and Search for a Star first time judge, Jack Moore. All competitors qualified for the
championship in a special virtual Search for a Star photo competition hosted by Your Horse Live during the lockdown period where showing competitions weren’t an option. The championship judges were presented with a wide range of breeds and types to select their winner from with people travelling from all corners of the country for the chance to be crowned champion.
The coveted trophy and sash were awarded to Millie Bowles and the 24-year-old, Welsh Section B, Cottrell Riverdance. Known as Ronnie at home, Cottrell Riverdance is owned by Millie’s mother Selina. The pairing are no strangers to the podium positions having recently won the Veteran Horse Society veteran supreme overall final where they competed in-hand. A former games pony, Ronnie came to the Bowles’ at 18 years-old for a quieter life. Millie said: “He decided a life of retirement wasn’t for him! He loves being in the ring and really performs when he has the buzz and excitement around him. We have really enjoyed taking part in the Virtual Classes and it has been great to come to Your Horse Live in person.”
The SEIB Search for a Star amateur veteran horse championship trophy was presented to Louise Chamberlain and her own 18-year-old Mystical Clover from Wiltshire. The pair previously qualified for and competed in the Search for a Star riding club show horse finals at Horse of the Year Show in 2016. Louise and Clover have previously evented together but decided on a change of career when Clover fell out of love with the sport. “Although I initially bought Clover as an eventer, I decided a change of scene would be good for her, that was when we decided to try showing and haven’t looked back. I am so proud of her, it has been great to be here and just makes all the practice worth it. She seems to really enjoy it in the ring.” Louise works full-time as a graphic designer and fits the horses in before and after work. “Work don’t really understand what I do, but they are very supportive! They are going to love hearing about this on Monday.” In-Hand Search for a Star champions, Millie Bowles and Cottrell Riverdance went on to round off an excellent day out with a win in the amateur veteran pony championship.
Now in its third year at Your Horse Live, the SEIB Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship did not disappoint. SEIB Insurance Brokers set up the Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship to create more opportunities for amateur riders at a national championship level. The SEIB arena at Your Horse Live truly provides a real feel for the big occasion for each of the Search for a Star finalists and previous competitors have given some lovely feedback from this prestigious event ensuring tough competition for qualifying places this year!
Amateur riders and their mountain and moorland ponies have travelled the length and breadth of the country to the Your Horse Live finals. A total of nine ponies came before judges Sarah Chapman and Paul Cook. The trophy was presented to Simone Harrison and her own Welsh Section D, Wishaw Red Admiral. Winning the 2021 championship has topped a good year for the fashion Talent Acquisition Lead and Red, the pair are no strangers to the show ring having taken 6th place at the Royal International earlier this season. Simone said: “The atmosphere here and in the ring is just amazing, it is great to go into the arena with everyone watching you. Red has always enjoyed turning his hoof to showing, this has given us a boost to go out and campaign more next year, we would like to get to HOYS!”
The SEIB Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship is open to pure-bred mountain and moorland ponies ridden by amateur riders.
The final championship of the morning was the open veteran horse and pony. This was a new and exciting format for the class where competitors were asked to perform a show of their choice in front of four judges. The championship was judged by Sarah Chapman, Jack Moore, Paul Cook and special VIP guest judge, Marcus Capel, CEO of the Pony Club. Judges were asked to score the show in live time with marks being revealed to the audience. It was a fantastic way of engaging the crowd and received lots of positive feedback from spectators and competitors alike.
Marcus Capel commented: “It was a privilege to join this experienced judging panel for the open veteran championship. There was a great atmosphere and the use of public scoring cards made it very easy for the audience to see what we all thought as individual judges with no conferring, including our differences of opinion! All of the horses were a credit to their owners and riders, looking very fit and active.”
The title went to a pairing that are no stranger to the showing circuit, Abigail Sole and her own 18-year-old ex-racehorse, Hero Worship. Abigail and Hero Worship have been firm supporters of the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse classes and last month took second place in the R2R championship at HOYS. Following their win, an emotional Abigail made an announcement: “this has topped off what has been a great season for the both of us. I feel so happy, but also sad as this is our last outing in the show ring, Hero is now going to be retired from showing. I feel like we have left at the top and I cannot ask for more from him. It was a great class and we have really enjoyed taking part in this first one. I really liked the live scoring element.”
SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “We are thrilled to be back at Your Horse Live with Search for a Star. It gives our finalists a completely unique experience and we have had ever so many positive comments about the wonderful atmosphere here. Each of our Search for a Star Your Horse Live champions have excelled to take these titles!”
Expert advice and support from the very experienced judges is on hand for all competitors at the qualifiers. During the Championship build up there is the renowned Search for a Star training day for all qualified combinations. The Championships provide a learning opportunity for both spectators and competitors as the judges will use microphones to give their thoughts and explain their decisions.
Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting equestrian events and activities.
For insurance queries visit www.seib.co.uk or call 01708 850000.
Photo: Credit SMR Photos
For further press information please contact Jenny Viner at email@example.com.
Results SEIB Search for a Star Your Horse Live Championship 2021
Search for a Star part-bred traditional champion - Branston Pickle, owned by Lee Uttridge and ridden by Rosie Wrest
Search for a Star part-bred traditional reserve champion - Pembroke Purposely Puzzled, owned and ridden by Megan Godridge
Search for a Star in-hand champion - Cottrell Riverdance, owned by Selina Bowles and ridden by Millie Bowles
Search for a Star in-hand reserve champion - Cumliebank Justory, owned and ridden by Hannah Baxter
Search for a Star amateur veteran champion horse - Mystical Clover, owned and ridden by Louise Chamberlain
Search for a Star amateur veteran reserve champion - Liskeran Dun Bobby, owned by Sarah Hill and ridden by Elly Hill
Search for a Star amateur veteran champion pony - Cottrell Riverdance, owned by Selina Bowles and ridden by Millie Bowles
Search for a Star mountain and moorland champion - Wishaw Red Admiral, owned and ridden by Simone Harrison
Search for a Star mountain and moorland reserve champion - Owfen Mr Softee, owned and ridden by Zara Rudd
Search for a Star open veteran champion - Hero Worship, owned and ridden by Abigail Sole
Search for a Star open veteran reserve champion - Valentine Jak, owned by Donna Bamonte and ridden by Marina Greenaway