Home-produced heroes: who took home the 2023 SEIB Search For A Star titles at HOYS?

  • Home-producers and their horses and ponies took to the stage at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) to contend the 2023 SEIB Search For A Star classes. But which combinations impressed the judges and got to enjoy their bucket list lap of honour under the spotlights?

    Meet the 2023 SEIB Search For A Star class winners here:

    SEIB SFAS working pony

    Lochân Beag Rôgaire (Finnbar) is a Connemara who has evented up to BE novice level with his owner/rider Rebecca Giles, who works full-time as a livestock transporter.

    Finnbar came from Ireland as a three-year-old for Rebecca to sell on, but he is still with her eight years later. 

    SEIB SFAS riding horse

    Symphony Of Kings (Sid), ridden by his owner Holly Gray, is an ex-racehorse. Holly, who works as a cleaner, was gifted Sid five years ago.

    A few years ago, Sid had an accident and fell over injuring his hock. At one point the vet advised for him to be put down, but with box rest and patience he made a full recovery.

    SEIB SFAS traditional cob

    Billy Wilson (Winky) is owned by his rider, Kelly Driver. Kelly entered him in some SFAS qualifiers this season after getting the showing bug while showing her ex-racehorse last season in SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifiers. 

    The traditional gelding was bred by Kelly’s late uncle, Billy Wilson, and he even went to his funeral. 

    Kelly juggles horses around running her business, Event and Park Services Ltd, which runs reindeer displays and donkey rides. 

    SEIB SFAS show cob

    Dog groomer Lisa Hardy bought Cortina as a two-year-old with the dream of getting him to HOYS one day. The gelding is now five, and he is only contesting his first full season in the show ring.

    SEIB SFAS hack

    Bassingfield Dark Secret (Zeus) owned by Helen Church and ridden by Jennifer Church, is a second generation home-bred.

    This has been the pair’s first season showing and Jennifer, an equine vet, has also started riding Zeus side-saddle.

    The pair stepped up in the main arena championship to win the overall SEIB Search For A Star title. 

    SEIB SFAS working show horse 

    Mein Rebel and Harriet Johnson, who works as an importer of fruit and vegetables, first competed in the SFAS series back in 2019. They finished third in the hunter classes.

    Harriet bought her gelding from the Goresbridge sales in Ireland as a four-year-old and the pair also go hunting and jumping. 

    SEIB SFAS show hunter

    Killycloghan Masterson, shown by his owner Hayley Came-Boyce, won the show hunter class en route to finishing reserve in the championship.

    The Kings Master six-year-old has only been lightly shown and he qualified for HOYS on his first attempt.

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