Home-produced gelding springs surprise SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse win on HOYS debut

  • The 2023 SEIB Racehorse 2 Riding Horse final at the 2023 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) was landed by an amateur and her home-produced horse who was competing at the prestigious show for the first time in his career.

    Laura Tylor and 12-year-old Reality Bites, who is by Mahler, were crowned champions by judges Sara Leatherbarrow (ride) and Terry Pendry (conformation).

    Reality Bites, who is known as Reg at home, won a point-to-point in his native Ireland. He then came over to the UK where he ran once over hurdles before continuing as a pointer. His best result was finishing third at Mollington.

    His former owner, Cynnie Clifford, bought him as a pointer from Claire Hart’s yard.

    “He didn’t run quite as well as I’d anticipated, but then during Covid he broke his jaw,” said Cynnie. “We don’t know how he did it, but it meant that after his recovery it was time to seek a new job for him. Then Laura came along, and she was looking for an ex-racehorse who looked like a show horse. At the time, he hadn’t quite recovered so we said that he wasn’t going anywhere until he fully healed. I knew Laura would give him the best home.”

    Reg joined Laura two years ago. This is the gelding’s first open season in the show ring and he also competes in dressage.

    “He’s still technically a novice,” said Laura, who will also contend the SEIB Search For A Star riding horse and hack championship with Reg later this week. “He’s home-produced from our farm in Oxfordshire.

    “Reg is the biggest baby ever. He’s the yard pet and he loves a fuss, a kiss and a scratch. When I saw him in the field I was instantly drawn to him as he’s just the nicest person.”

    In second place was Tori Thomas riding her own Wonga Swinger, a 13-year-old who was in training with Tori’s husband, former gold cup winning jockey, Sam Thomas where he won and was placed over fences.

    Hannah Horton finished third riding the five-year-old Mahomes, who is owned by his breeders Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber.

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