Event rider Simon Grieve and busy horsey mum Julie Gaukroger are the winners of Horse & Hound’s competition to find our “next top blogger”.

The standard of entries was extremely high, making it a challenge to pick a single winner. Instead the judging team chose two individuals — one professional rider and one dedicated amateur — to join our stable of online bloggers.

Simon is based in Leicestershire and will be competing a number of horses from BE90 up to four-star level this season. His most well-known partner is Cornacrew (pictured top) and the pair have completed Burghley three-times, including once just days after Simon returned to the sport following life-threatening blood clots in his shoulder and a severe concussion.

Simon said: “I’m excited because I love writing, eventing and all things equine. What better way to combine them than by blogging for Horse & Hound. I want to try and keep things as fresh as possible and am keen to get interactive with readers so I hope people will find my blog fun and interesting.”

H&H’s website editor Carol Phillips said: “Simon’s entry really stood out from the crowd. His writing was engaging, accurate and interesting. It immediately came across how immensely dedicated he is to his sport. He also provide a great video as part of his entry. We’re delighted to welcome him on board.”

Our julie-gaukroger-mollysecond winner, Julie, is “thrilled” to be joining the Horse & Hound team and will be blogging for us under the title “Pony Mad Mum“.

Julie said: “I represent the legions of pony-mad mums who ride every fence from the ringside. After all, if it wasn’t for our willingness to roll out of bed at stupid o’clock every weekend to bath, plait, groom, load, unload, tack up, cheer on, applaud or commiserate, the competition world would grind to a halt pretty quickly.”

Julie has three daughters spanning an 11-year age difference. She describes herself as a veteran of most equestrian disciplines — Pony Club, mounted games, polocrosse, racing, hunting, showing and eventing — but as a white-knuckled spectator, rather than a participant.

Julie continues: “I plan to share my ringside perspective with my fellow sufferers around the country, with anecdotes and observations based on our mutual obsession.”

Reflecting on Julie’s entry, Carol said: “Julie’s ability to write using humour, combined with her empathy for others and her great observation skills made her an obvious winner. We can’t wait to read Pony Mad Mum’s thoughts on the challenges that face busy horsey mums up and down the country.”

Look out for Simon and Pony Mad Mum’s first blogs coming up later this week.