‘I have to go home and get horses ready for tomorrow’s hunt’: Stud groom secures SEIB Search For A Star title on superb lightweight

  • The winning show hunter of the year impressed the judges during the championship to be crowned overall SEIB Search For A Star (SFAS) champions at the 2021 Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

    The winning combination was Lucy Hopkins riding her own seven-year-old lightweight hunter Chilly Breeze (Matty). The stunning steel grey made light of the International Arena to reign over the traditional show cob of the year, Eye Candy II, ridden by Harriet Conlon.

    Lucy bought Matty two years ago:

    “I sourced him from some very good friends of mine who had brought him over from Ireland as five-year-old,” explained Lucy, who hunts with the Wheatland and works as a stud groom for the Shropshire-based hunt.

    “They kept insisting I went to see him, even though I didn’t think I wanted something so young.”

    Lucy’s husband is the Wheatland’s huntsman so hunting is very much a family affair.

    Lucy initially bought Matty to hunt and never dared to dream that he would be gracing the main ring at HOYS:

    “I did some local showing and some people made some lovely comments about him,” added Lucy, who also juggles horses around being a mum to her three-year-old daughter. “People seemed to like him and he laps up the atmosphere. He’s actually a lot more cheerful when he’s away; at home he’s a very grumpy chap.”

    After HOYS, Matty will have a well-earned holiday.

    “Then, we’ll hopefully try some open lightweight classes next year,” concluded Lucy. “I got a sneaky day off today, though I’ve got to get home and get horses ready for the hunt tomorrow, or I’ll get the sack.”

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