It is the pinnacle for amateur riders, and eight champions have been crowned at Horse of the Year Show (5-9 October) in SEIB Search for a Star classes, judged by Katie Jerram and Robert Oliver.
SEIB Search for a Star supreme champion and show hunter of the year
“It’s been quite a week and I was ill twice this morning — but sleep is for wimps!” beamed Vicki Rogers after her eight-year-old Yorkies Purple Diamond (“Lottie”, above) was crowned the supreme champion and show hunter winner.
“She is a perfect example of an Irish Draught,” said Vicki, 38, who lives in Salcombe Regis in Devon and has owned her chestnut mare, who was bred by Gina Exley, since she was a yearling.
“I bought her as a brood mare and she has had two foals,” said Vicki, who backed the mare, by Connaught Grey out of Dalton Gem, as a seven-year-old and started showing her last year.
The pair hunt with the Dartmoor and South Devon, and they are aiming at working hunter classes next year.
“Lottie has the nicest nature and loves atmosphere — she hasn’t flinched all day,” added Vicki.
SEIB Search for a Star reserve supreme and show hunter pony of the year
Joanne Jesson’s Greensyke Sonny Boy (above) was crowned the show hunter pony winner and stood reserve supreme on Sunday morning, ridden by Joanne’s daughter Amelia Jesson.
“Winning this sash makes all the training at home — and all the ups and downs — worth it,” said Amelia.
SEIB Search for a Star working hunter of the year
Louise Halsall’s Geoffrey (above) caught the judges’ eyes to stand working hunter of the year with Emma Wilson in the saddle.
SEIB Search for a Star riding club show horse of the year
Jenny Eyton-Jones got married three weeks ago, but put her honeymoon on hold until after HOYS. Her decision paid off as she piloted seven-year-old Kerannen Brynn (above) to victory in the riding club show horse championship.
“We are limited to what shows we can do as we have to borrow a wagon to get there,” said Lancashire-based Jenny, 25.
“Brynn’s show name is derived from the names of his breeders, Anne Miller and Keren Field.”
SEIB Search for a Star hack of the year
Terri Melnyk’s part-bred Arab Izzat Starlight (above) topped the hack line up with Elishia Melnyk in the saddle.
“It all went so fast — I was just thinking how amazing it was to be in the arena at HOYS,” smiled Elishia, who was due back at work on Friday morning. “I’ll be wearing my sash.”
The Manchester-based rider will return to Birmingham for Sunday’s supreme championship.
“I’m so excited for Sunday,” she added.
SEIB Search for a Star riding horse of the year
Chloe Hiscock claimed the riding horse title aboard five-year-old Aramis (above).
“He can be sharp, but he knows when he needs to show off and he loved it in [the HOYS arena],” said Chloe of the dun gelding she bought unbroken two years ago.
SEIB Search for a Star cob of the year
Quintons Ernest (above) stood cob of the year, piloted by his owner Andrew Johnson, who is a farrier.
SEIB Search for a Star show pony of the year
Newoak Flower Girl clinched this title for owner Margaret Kivell, ridden by Emma James.
What is Search for a Star?
Search For A Star is a showing championship for amateur riders, sponsored by equine insurance specialists SEIB, with the final taking place at HOYS in Birmingham’s NEC arena.
In order to reach HOYS, horse and rider combinations must qualify at one of the qualifying shows held around the UK.
Run to the same standards as professional classes, competition is always fierce and many Search For A Star champions have gone on to compete successfully in open classes, including the 2007 supreme winner Jordan Cook.
Don’t miss the full HOYS report in next week’s issue of Horse & Hound, on sale Thursday 13 October.