A cardiology nurse and her nine-year-old gelding have been crowned SEIB Search for a Star (SFAS) Champions at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

The SFAS series gives amateur riders, and their horses and ponies, the chance to qualify for HOYS and receive support and guidance along the way. Featuring five different section classes contested across Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of the show, the winners of each class contested the overall championship.

The hotly-contested final went to SEIB Riding Horse/Hack winner, Alex Windross and Herbie. North-Yorkshire-based Alex hesitated in disbelief before stepping forward to take the spotlight.

“I couldn’t believe it was me,” she said. “When they called out my name I just stood there, the standard of the other horses was so high I didn’t think I had a chance. My friend and I came to HOYS for years as spectators, but to actually qualify and ride here alongside the likes of the Whitakers is amazing.”

As a full time cardiology nurse at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, Alex has a lot on her plate.

“It is hard to juggle around shift patterns with early mornings and late nights, but it has been worthwhile,” she said.

Alex has owned Herbie since he was a four-year-old, and she said that at the time she bought him, it was a choice of Herbie or a new kitchen.

Reserve champion went to the SEIB Search For A Star Working Show Horse Champion, 10-year-old skewbald gelding, An Bauachaill Ban Bai ridden by Maxine Linas from Cheshire.

Maxine has always wanted to ride at HOYS and was grinning from ear to ear aboard her gelding, known as Bandit.

Conformation judges Chris Hunnable and Katie Jerram-Hunnable, and the ride judge was Jordan Cook. Chris commented on the high standard of competition on display this year.

“The standard seems to be higher than ever,” he said. “They match the quality you would expect to see in an open class here at HOYS and I think that is testament to the support and guidance given throughout the SEIB Search For A Star series.”

Lead image by First Class Images

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