Do you have the voice, enthusiasm and confidence to pick up a microphone at a county show or point-to-point and keep a crowd entertained and informed?

Aspiring commentators have the chance to test their skills in a new competition aimed at identifying fresh talent. The winner will receive a place in the commentary team at Horse of the Year Show 2003 and a £500 bursary for voice training.

The competition is the brainchild of Mike Tucker, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the commentary box. HOYS organiser Grandstand Media, in conjunction with AEJC Hickstead, is co-ordinating the initiative, which is sponsored by Hartpury College.

“There is an acute shortage of commentators to cover equestrian events across the country,” explains Mike. “We want to provide the winner with the chance to develop a career in the equestrian world.”

Applicants will receive a video containing showing, show jumping and scurry driving classes. With the help of background information on the competitors and classes, plus information on how to achieve the best results from their recording, they will put their own commentary to the footage.

A panel of judges will draw up a short-list of three to four individuals, who will be invited to commentate at the Hickstead Derby (14-17 August). The winner, to beannounced at the end of August, will then commentate alongside Mike Tucker at HOYS.

The panel of judges, chaired by FEI TV co-ordinator Alastair Martin Bird, plus Mike Tucker, is also likely to include leading riders.

“The first thing applicants need is a good voice, and knowledge of the world of the horse. It’s all about educating and entertaining,” says Mike.

To enter, send your name and address before 19 June to: Hartpury New Equestrian Voice, Grandstand Media Limited, Elvin House, Stadium Way, Wembley, Middlesex HA9 0EH, or for more information (tel: 020 8900 9282). Applicants must not have earned more than £100 for a day’s commentating.

Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (5 June), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.