The SEIB Search for a Star qualifiers continued at Vale View Equestrian Centre in Leicestershire earlier this month (9 June), with more riders securing their golden tickets for the championships at Your Horse Live and Horse of the Year Show later this year.

The team of judges, Richard Ramsay, Nicki Taylor, Sam DeCaprio, Louise Gaunt and Craig McLelland were joined by former Search for a Star winner turned professional producer, Jordan Cook on the day. Jordan won the SEIB
Search for a Star championship in 2007 with his hack Fleetwater Xecutive and has remained a strong supporter of the series ever since.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

The first winner of the day was 16-year-old Delilah Eve-Beck and her mother Gemma Beck’s Welsh Section C Mossgate in the Mix, known as Usher, in the Working Pony class.

“He went so well in there today,” said Delilah. “We came second at Stoneleigh the week before last and decided to come back.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

Winning the Working Horse class was Irish Sports Horse, Lisboy Red Wine and Jessica Walker. ‘Noble’ is owned by Readyfield Bloodhounds Master, Graham Smith.

“He is just a five-year-old and hasn’t done a lot but he’s taken to showing like a duck to water,” said Jessica. “HOYS has always been a dream.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

Thirteen Show Hunters came forward for their class which was won by Samantha Lea riding her own, Redshaw Valentino (Henry).

“Henry was so polite for the judge today, we absolutely love him, he’s like a big Labrador,” said Samantha. “I’ve only been back riding for a short while as I’ve had a baby who is just seven-months-old. Henry lives on our working farm and we’ve owned him since he was a four-year-old.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

In the Riding Horse Hack class, Zoe Falkner and her own Quaikin Enigma took first place.

“We nearly didn’t come today as we’ve only ever been to one local show before this, but its nearby for us and our one chance to give Search for a Star a go,” said Zoe. “She is twelve-years-old but has done nothing. We’ve never had any transport so haven’t really gone anywhere beyond a few clinics, and spending plenty of time hacking out. But I got a lorry at Christmas so we will be off to lots of shows this summer.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

In the Show and Maxi Cob class, former Search for a Star finalist, Nicola Reeder took top spot with her skewbald cob, Double Denim.

“He went super today and gave the judge a super ride,” said Nicola. “It’s the first Search for a Star qualifier we’ve tried and its been a long journey to get this far. I’ve had him since he was three and he’s now 13. For the first four years we couldn’t ride him at all, he just bolted. It turned out he had ulcers and we turned the corner as soon as they were sorted out.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

Jenny Powell’s bay, Grandad’s Legacy won a large SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier. This was the first open Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier of the season and many of the big names in retrained racehorses were in attendance on the day.

“He went brilliantly today, he is such a good boy,” Skye said. “This is his third season showing and his second season with me.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

In the Traditional Cob qualifier, Carol Sweeting and her own Blue Blagdon, six-year-old mare, Blue Sea Gypsy took first place.

“Its our first big show and I couldn’t be more delighted,” said Carol. “I lost my hogged cob back at the start of last year and I’ve had Blue Sea Gypsy since August 2023. She belonged to the yard owner at my livery yard, she bought her as a three-year-old and broke her in.

“After I lost my cob, I was hacking her out and fell in love with her. This is just our fifth show together and I was a bit bullied into coming today, but I thought why not we’ll give it a go and I’m very glad I did.

Your Horse Live qualifying classes

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

It was a successful day for the Kohl family from Leicestershire in the ridden Mountain and Moorland Search for a Star Your Horse Live qualifier. Following up her daughter, Olivia’s win at the Stoneleigh qualifier, Louise Kohl and her own Welsh Section D, Menai Super Sovereign took the class in style.

“I’ve not been in the ring in over a year,” Louise said. “He’s a five-year-old novice and I said why not, we’ll give it a go. He was second in the Working Pony class with Olivia this morning. We bought Menai Super Sovereign last April from Peter Jones at the Menai Stud. Hoves his jumping and will do working hunter pony classes over the summer.”

Louise’s daughter Olivia won the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland qualifier at Stoneleigh Park in May with her Welsh Section C pony, Thorneynewside Replay.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

The one SEIB Search for a Star class open to all riders and not restricted to amateurs, the Open Ridden Veteran class was won by Jill Wormall’s Tri-Coloured gelding, Colour Coded.

“He was just foot-perfect in there,” Jill said. “He still thinks he’s a five-year-old and just doesn’t change. He’s unbeaten this season so far and he gave an outstanding performance today.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

In the Lead Rein Pony Club class, six-year-old Molly Bowring and her mother, Jessica Bowring’s Dartmoor Pony,
Treworgan Titanium took top spot. Known as Teddy at home, Treworgan Titanium is a five-year-old gelding who Jessica bought as a two-year-old.

“We’ve done plenty of showing in-hand with Teddy – I also won the In-Hand Mountain and Moorland Search for a Star class this morning with him,” said Jessica.

Jessica is a member of the South Nottinghamshire Branch of the Pony Club.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

The Pony Cub First Ridden qualifier went to eight-year-old Emily Hiscox and her mother, Heather Hiscox’s pony, Shilbrook Mr Holly. Emily won the Lead Rein finals and then gone on to take the Supreme Search for a Star title in 2022.

“Its so lovely to be a part of this series,” Heather said. “Emily is in her first season off the lead rein and Duncan (Shilbrook Mr Holly) is just amazing. They like to go fast and do lots of jumping and camp and tiny-tots showing.”

Emily and Duncan are members of the North Warwickshire Pony Club.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

In the Open Search for a Star Pony Club qualifier at Vale View, Penelope Lea and Corringdon Annabelle took first place. The pair also won the Search for a Star Open Pony Club qualifier at Stoneleigh, but were disqualified owing to a passport irregularity.

“Annabelle is only five-years-old, she is Irish Draught and we’ve owned her for a year,” Penelope said. “We’ve had a fantastic day out today and I’m so glad we came back to Search for a Star. We will now do some One-Day-Events and Pony Club Camp.”

Penny is a member of the North Shropshire Branch of the Pony Club.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

The Search for a Star In-Hand Plaited Horse and Hogged Show Cob went to Donna Hoe with her sister, Gemma Hoe’s, 28-year-old chestnut gelding, Midinight’s Magic.

“He doesn’t act his age,” Donna said. “He is my sister’s ex-showjumper and he even jumped the 3’9” fence into the garden the other week. With Gemma he used to compete up to 1.30m level. We also qualified for the In-Hand Search for a Star finals at Your Horse Live in 2022 and took third place.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

In the In-Hand Plaited Pony Class, part-bred Welsh pony, Tambrook Prayer In C and his handler, Claire Crerand took first place.

“We’ve only had her a week,” Claire said. “She’s spent two-years out having a foal. I bought her to ride and compete in Small Hack classes. We thought this would be a good first outing In-Hand to see how we got on. It’ll be a learning curve with her and I’m looking forward to get to know her more and get used to her.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

Sarah Welfare and her own traditional cob gelding, Rags to Riches won the In-Hand Native and Traditional class.

“Charlie went so well today,” Sarah said. “He cost me £100 when I bought him at just eight-months-old. He’s now a nine-year-old and we show a few times a year, mainly at local shows. He enjoys in-hand showing but not being ridden in the ring.

“A friend rides him out at home and on farm rides and he loves that. I work as a health and safety consultant and have six ponies that I fit in around this. They live in a private rented yard and I look after them all myself.”

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

The In-Hand Veteran class went to 26-year-old, Randall IV and his owner and handler, Lucy Ashworth. Randall has had great success in the Your Horse Live Search for a Star In-Hand finals before in 2022 and 2023.

“Randall is looking better than ever, he is still in regular work, our horses have to stay in in the winter so he is used to his routine and it keeps him happy and healthy,” Lucy said.

Credit: Kevin Sparrow

The second ever British Riding Clubs (BRC) Search for a Star class took place at Vale View. It was second time lucky for the winners, Daisy Beards and her grey gelding Spinway Colm. The pair won this class a few weeks also but were disqualified owing to a passport irregularity.

“My sister saw this new Search for a Star class on Facebook so we decided to come along and give it a go,” said Daisy, a member of Stoneleigh Riding Club. “You don’t have to belong to a show society so it makes it nice and straightforward and we thought it would be a bit of fun for both me and Colm. We compete in eventing, riding club competitions, prelim level dressage and showjumping.”

Lead image of In-Hand Plaited Horse and Hogged Show Cob, 28-year-old Midinight’s Magic. Credit: Kevin Sparrow

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