A cob who was rescued from a railway line as a foal has qualified for the SEIB Search for a Star final at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

Six-year-old Galliano Gold Dust finished second in the qualifier at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre in Somerset on 12 June. He is owned and ridden by Lucy Hamblett, 36, a registered farrier from Cardiff.

Lucy was working as a welfare inspector for Cardiff Council when she was called out to deal with some horses that had strayed onto the railway line.  She found one mare that had been hit and killed by a train, and another partially blind mare that was suckling the orphaned foal as well as her own three-week-old foal.

“That mare was very special, nannying the orphan as well as looking after her own,” said Lucy. “I took them home until the orphan could be found a home, and kept the mare and her foal.  Then she had a fall and broke her leg so she had to be put down.  I promised the foal a home for life, and this is him.”

As a youngster, she would take “Coblet” (as Galliano Gold Dust is known at home) out for walks on the beach until she decided that he was ready to be backed.

“We were on the beach and I just decided to get on him, and that was that,” she said.

“He is great with people who are nervous – they just get on him.  He likes to pop a fence and enjoys everything.”

The pair have competed at the Riding Clubs national dressage championships, where they won the prelim with the third highest score of the day.

This year has been incredible,” Lucy said. “This is our first showing show for two years.  We did Search for a Star two years ago but he was not ready, and this is our first show since.

“Last week he was looking so good and he felt so well that we thought it would be good to come along and have another go.”

Lucy is careful not to do too much with her HOYS-bound partner.

He can get sickly quite easily and I think the bad start that he had has left him with a compromised immune system.  So I am very careful with him and he gets the best of everything,” she said.  “He is so genuine; he gives 100% all the time.”