The first selection day for this year’s South Essex Insurance Brokers Search for a Star championship will be held at Osbaldeston Equestrian Centre, Lancashire, on June 22.

The hugely-popular Search for a Star series has been organised to give amateur owners and riders an opportunity to compete at the Horse of the Year Show, which will take place at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham from 17 to 21 September.

Classes for horse and ponies are held in the following categories: working hunter, riding club show horse, show ponies and show hunter ponies, cobs, show hunter and riding horse/hack.

Judging on each of the selection days follows the normal showing format, except that riders can talk to the judges after their performance to seek their opinions. Two entriesfrom each class – providing they are of a good show standard – are then invited to take part in Birmingham.

With past winners including the stunning riding horse Classic Court (pictured), competition is fierce. Robert Oliver, who has judged at every Search for a Star final so far, says: “This has become a very important event and the standard rises each year.”

The remaining selection days will be held at West Wilts Equestrian Centre on 28 June; Merrist Wood College in Surrey on 19 July; College Equestrian Centre in Bedford on 20 July and Richmond Equestrian Centre in Yorkshire on 10 August.

British Horse Society members and anyone insuring through South Essex Insurance Brokers are entitled to an entry fee reduction.

Entry forms and more information is available by sending a self addressed envelope to The Secretary, Search for a Star, 5 Magpie Drive, Totton, Southampton, SO40 8TE.