Amateurs take HOYS centre stage

  • The South Essex Insurance Broker’s (SEIB) Search for a Star competition for amateur showing enthusiasts will take centre stage at this year’s Horse of the Year Show (NEC, Birmingham, 6-10 October) with the supreme final being held in the main arena for the first time.

    The series has grown massively in stature since it was first introduced in 1996, with many top professionals showing interest in the winning horses, which have often gone on to success in open classes.

    The finals have drawn considerable crowds in the past, with the judges’ — Robert Oliver and Anne Pritchard — use of radio microphones to offer commentary on the horses and ponies forward for judging, proving extremely popular.

    Mike Gill, director of HOYS organisers, Grandstand Media, says: “There is no doubt that both competitors and spectators enjoy this series. The commentary given by the judges helps to draw the crowds, and because many HOYS visitors are not familiar with showing, we thought we would put the supreme judging before as many people as possible.”

    SEIB managing director Barry Fehler described the invitation for the series’ overall final to take place in the main arena as “the supreme accolade”.

    Judging for the Search for a Star individual champions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, while Friday’s audiences, whose tickets will allow access to the afternoon and evening performances, will be able to watch the judging for the hunter championship as well as the supreme final.

    This year’s categories remain unchanged and are:

    • Working hunter
    • Riding club show horse
    • Show ponies and show hunter ponies
    • Cobs
    • Show hunter
    • Riding horse/hack

    The 2004 search for previously unrecognised horses and ponies starts on 19 June at Addington EC, Bucks and moves on to Merrist Wood, Surrey (26 June), Hand EC, North Somerset, (11 July), Osbaldeston EC, Lancs, (18 July) and Towerlands EC, Essex, (31 July).

    “We have introduced new venues and returned to some we used earlier in the series for our qualifying classes so that as many people as possible get an opportunity to be selected for the final,” says series organiser, Nicolina MacKenzie of SEIB.

    For entry forms and more information send a self addressed envelope to: The Secretary, Search for a Star, 5 Magpie Drive, Totton, Southampton, SO40 8TE, or visit: www.seib.co.uk

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