Mackenzie Preston was over the moon when she qualified her home-produced traditional coloured cob for Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) in the SEIB Search For A Star (SFAS) final, giving her a first ever ticket to the championship show. But the home-producer never expected she would be HOYS bound in open coloured ranks just a couple of months later.
Mackenzie’s cob, Randalstown Razzmatazz (Obie), was purchased from a photo in 2016. He was subsequently brought over from Ireland to begin his new life in Southampton with Mackenzie.
“We had a honeymoon period which saw us hunting together on Boxing Day and enjoying lots of hacking out,” explains Mackenzie. “As the new year commenced we set about schooling to prepare for our season of showing. However, Obie had other ideas. He had lots of tricks up his sleeve to avoid involving himself in any such past time, resulting in my mum wanting me to sell him.
“I categorically said no and started to get help and advice from my instructor and friend Kelly Jones. We worked hard together and our bond grew.”
For as long as she can remember, Mackenzie has dreamed about riding at HOYS.
She continues: “With the introduction this year of the SEIB SFAS traditional cob class, I knew that we had to give it a go. We went to a qualifier at Bury Farm in June. Obie went absolutely amazing on the go round and performed a lovely show. To my shock we won, on our first attempt, and my dream became a reality.
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‘Little did I know just minutes later my dream would be shattered...’
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“Following this I decided to continue to compete in the open qualifiers we had already entered. We travelled up to Stoneleigh horse show in August. Looking around we saw so many professionals and it looked to be a strong class. After the go round we were pulled in third which I was over the moon with. Obie looked to give the judge a nice ride and when it came down to the results where we were placed second. It then slowly sunk in that the winner had already qualified and that golden ticket was ours.
“I could hear my mum screaming and sobbing outside the ring. We had done it, our second HOYS ticket. It was also lovely to have so many people congratulate us and make the day so special on both occasions.
“I haven’t stopped smiling since qualifying, I still can’t believe after years and years of trying we have now gone and gained two tickets in one season.”