More riders qualify for the Search for a Star M&M finals at Your Horse Live

Three delighted riders now head to the finals at Your Horse Live. Credit SMR photos

Three delighted riders now head to the finals at Your Horse Live. Credit SMR photos

The second qualifier for the new SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland Championship took place at the stunning Stretcholt Equestrian Centre in North Somerset on the 20th May. Three ecstatic riders went home with a ticket to the exciting finals to be held at Your Horse Live at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire on the 9th November 2018.

The championship is open to pure-bred Mountain and Moorland ponies ridden by amateur riders. Both the qualifying classes and the final are judged 50% on conformation and 50% on performance. The classes are open to riders aged 12 years-old and above. 

Dales pony, Lowhouses Chesney, owned and ridden by Kirstie Hinton won the class to qualify for the finals. Kirstie said: “I was so nervous beforehand. I have wanted to do Search for a Star for so long and it is great that there is now this new M&M class that Boris and I can have a go in.” All of Kirstie’s family attended Stretcholt to lend their support, she grew up doing M&M classes and then showed a hunter for a few years. Kirstie continued: “Boris was meant to be my mum’s pony, we saw him and fell in love straight away and I claimed him for myself.”

In 2nd place was chiropractor, Emma Staton riding her New Forest pony, Buckland Romantic. Emma said: “Kara went really well in the class and the judges made some lovely, positive comments about her. We have only just really started showing so it is brilliant to have qualified for this exciting new championship at our first attempt.” Dressage has been the main focus for this pair who have recently competed at elementary level at the regionals and are hoping to move up to medium later in the year. Emma continued: “I set out to buy a New Forest pony to breed from, but that seems to have been put on hold – for at least the time being. Kara came direct from the Buckland Stud in the New Forest and she spent her first eighteen months or so running on the forest.”

Former showjumper, and wife of former international rugby player, Phil Vickery, Katie Vickery took 3rd place in the Mountain and Moorland’s with her striking Connemara, Maicin Funambule. Katie said: “I can’t believe we have qualified for the championship, we have never done showing before but decided to give it a go! We do plenty of other things including some novice dressage and BE90 eventing.” The pair also took 4th place in the Working Pony class earlier in the day at Stretcholt. Katie bought Maicin Funambule from Ireland two-years-ago, before this she showjumped to foxhunter level.

Jane Cooper and Jackie Beatham judged the qualifier and Jackie was particularly delighted with the standard of entries. She said: “The three ponies we put through to the final were all beautifully schooled and in natural self-carriage with freedom of movement within their breed types. The first two could easily hold their own in open classes. I think it is wonderful that SEIB has fairly strict rules on the type of bits permitted into their rules. It is a joy to judge ponies that are wearing non-leverage bits. I think this new class has a definite future and will take off.”

The further qualifiers for the 2018 SEIB Mountain and Moorland Championship Search for a Star series will be held at:

Bury Farm Equestrian, Buckinghamshire, LU7 9BT – 10th June

Alnwick Ford Equestrian, Northumberland, NE65 8EQ – 8th July

Vale View Equestrian Centre, Leicestershire, LE14 3LX – 5th August

For full details, rules and entry forms visit and follow the link to the Mountain and Moorland Championship.  

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