Excitement is building for the SEIB Search for a Star Championships at Your Horse Live at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire (11 and 12 November).

The much-anticipated championships will take place in the main SEIB Arena and this year is set to be bigger and more exciting than ever, with a total of eleven championship finals on the Friday of the show.

Plus for the first time, a Search for a Star Supreme Championship will be held for all the amateur finals winners on the Saturday of the event, also in the main SEIB Arena.

Ten of the Search for a Star Your Horse Live finals are for amateur riders and the Friday championship finale will be the Search for a Star Open Veteran Championship.

Search for a Star began in 1996 as a photo competition and has adapted and grown to be the highly-popular championships it is today. The first Your Horse Live Search for a Star championship took place in 2018 for Mountain and Moorlands, and now for 2022 this has grown to include Pony Club, Veteran and In-hand horse and pony championships too.

“We knew it would take a little time for our Search for a Star Your Horse Live championship to grow,” said Founder of Search for a Star, SEIB’s Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie. “This year we have doubled from five to 10 championship classes. We are looking forward to the first ever Pony Club Search for a Star championships. Our competitors have worked so hard to secure their qualifications, we wish everyone the best of luck at Your Horse Live.”

Stars from across the country

Paige Erwin and Ballyhill Boy are travelling to the championships from Northern Ireland. Credit: SMR Photos

Following a rigorous qualifying process, over 60 riders from as far a-field as Aberdeenshire and Northern Ireland are through to the Search for a Star Your Horse Live championships.

Search for a Star 2022 kicked off with its first qualifying show at Vale View Equestrian Centre in April and
qualifiers followed at Bury Farm, Netherton Equestrian Centre, Laurel View, Stoneleigh Park and Onley Grounds Equestrian Centre.

All finalists have either won, or been placed runner-up at one of these qualifying shows.

Travelling to Stoneleigh from Northern Ireland is Paige Erwin (pictured above) and her pony Ballyhill Boy for the Search for a Star Pony Club championship.

“Its only this year we began giving first ridden classes a go, we saw Search for a Star and off we went!” Paige’s mother, Stacey Erwin said. “We are so excited to be going to the championship, four of us are coming over – myself, my mum and my two daughters – we’ll head over on the Thursday until the Saturday. We’ve begged and borrowed the gear and will give it a go!”

Amateurs’ chance to shine

Search for a Star is unique owing to the support provided to amateur riders and their horses and ponies.

Qualifying shows are headed up by senior judge, Mr Richard Ramsay who has a lifetime of experience producing, judging and mentoring showing competitors. Other series judges include Nicola Taylor, Hannah Horton, Samantha DeCaprio and former Search for a Star competitor, Louise Gaunt.

All competitors are supported and encouraged by the team of Search for a Star judges and stewards who also take part in Search for a Star ‘Weekender’ events throughout the season – where a training workshop is offered the day before the qualifying show and the Search for a Star training day held in September for all riders that have qualified for a Search for a Star final.

Competitors at the Search for a Star Your Horse Live championships will go under top producers, Katie Jerram-Hunnable, Chris Hunnable and Matthew Lawrence for their final. As each class is underway, the judges will voice their thoughts over a microphone.

“We are thrilled to welcome and host more SEIB Search for a Star championship classes than ever before,” said Your Horse Live Event Director, Emma Bedford. “The Search for a Star schedule is packed and will run back-to-back all morning on the opening Friday of the show with for the first time ever, the Search for a Star supreme championship to follow in the SEIB Arena at prime time on the Saturday lunchtime!”

Packed timetable

The classes will begin at 8.20am in the main SEIB Arena with the in-hand finals. This final includes in-hand plaited horse and hogged show cob, as well as in- hand plaited pony, in-hand native and traditional, in-hand veteran and in-hand mountain and moorland.

At 9.40am, the first of the new Search for a Star Pony Club finals gets underway with first-ridden and lead rein. At 10.25am, the Pony Club Open final will take place, followed by the Search for a Star ridden part-bred traditional final at 10.50am.

The biggest championship class of the day follows with the Search for a Star ridden mountain and moorland final at 11.15am. The action-packed morning will have its finale at midday with the SEIB Search for a Star open veteran championship.

Each winner of the 10 Search for a Star amateur sections on the Friday will be invited forward to the Search for a Star Your Horse Live Supreme Championship at 1pm on Saturday in the main SEIB Arena.

More details of the Your Horse Live finalists to follow on yourhorse.co.uk

Lead image of the first Your Horse Live Search for a Star champion, Chantelle Chapman and Greenholme Falcon, who took the M&M final in 2018. Credit: SMR Photos. 

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