A new class has been announced in support of the “traditional gypsy cob” at the Horse of the Year (HOYS) 2019.
As part of the SEIB Search for a Star series, pure-bred traditional cobs will now be able to compete in a traditional horse/pony class. Five qualifiers will be held giving the opportunity for 10 traditional cobs, one coloured and one solid from each qualifier, to compete at HOYS on 2 to 6 October at the NEC, Birmingham.
Emma Williams, event director for HOYS, said: “We are delighted to be opening up the opportunity for more horses and more riders to be eligible to compete at HOYS, which is so widely recognised as the pinnacle of the showing year. Up until now we have not had a class available for solid-coloured traditional cobs so this will provide them with the opportunity to compete among the highest calibre of competitors, along with their coloured counterparts.
“The successfulness of the new addition will determine its longevity at HOYS, therefore we would like to encourage as many amateur riders as possible who enjoy competing their traditional cobs to make the most of their opportunity to compete under the spotlight at HOYS.”
The competition is open to cobs who are registered with the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association (TGCA), with a TGCA passport or one over-stamped by the organisation, to prove they meet the breed standard and are not part-breds. The first qualifier takes place at Osbaldeston Riding Centre, Blackburn on 14 April.
Nicolina MacKenzie, SEIB marketing manager, said: “This brand new competition will support the SEIB Search for a Star ethos of providing opportunities for grass root riders with their beloved horses and ponies. We would like to say a big thank you to HOYS for their continued support of the series and for giving true amateur riders a shot at the big time. Nearly 20 years ago HOYS allowed SEIB to take ex-racehorses there for the first time and look what a success that class has become. We hope and believe that traditional cobs will prove to be as popular.
“Traditional cobs come in such a glorious range of colours and to date, the coloureds are the only sector that has been represented. This new series will give the whole breed including the solid-coloured horses a pathway to display their beauty and talent.”
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Richard Ramsay, SEIB Search for a Star judge, said he is “very much looking forward to judging the classes”.
“This is a really interesting addition to Search for a Star. The traditional gypsy cob qualifiers deserve plenty of support,” he added.
TGCA founding director Andrea Betteridge said: “I am thrilled that the traditional gypsy cob will be showcased within the exceptional SEIB Search for a Star series with its finals at the most prestigious show of the year.”
The competition will follow standard rules for SEIB Search for a Star, which are “strictly enforced”, but competitors do not need to be a member of any organisation.
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