Janet and Norman Bargh of Osbaldeston Riding Club hosted the first SEIB Search for a Star Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) qualifier of 2018 on the 15th April. There were plenty of entries across the classes and the first ever SEIB Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland qualifier was brilliantly supported with a good mix of M&M breeds coming forward for judging.
Search for a Star has really put the showing dreams of 19-year-old Ella Smith from Blackburn on the map. Ella and her black, Welsh section D gelding, Gobell Idwall won both the working pony class – qualifying the pair for HOYS, and the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland class – qualifying them for the brand new SEIB Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland final.
Ella, who is on a gap year before going to study Equine Science at Myerscough College, said: “It is an absolute double whammy. I have wanted to qualify for HOYS since I was a little girl and now I have finally done it! Jim, as Gobel Idwall is known at home, and I came 2nd in Search for a Star last year and we just missed out on qualifying. We thought we had better come back and give it another go. It is so exciting to get the opportunity to ride at HOYS.” Ella has owned 12-year-old Jim since 2014, she set out to buy a Welsh section D and went to several Welsh studs, but then a friend of her neighbour put her in touch with Jim, “As soon as I saw him I knew I had to have him” Ella added.
Osbaldeston proved to be a big day for Doctors – three of whom excelled and won tickets to HOYS. Dr Hannah Moore, a forensic science lecturer at the Defence Academy and her grey mare, Follow Her Home, won the working horse class. Hannah bought Follow Her Home, who is known as Cilla, to show and to compete in some British Eventing and British Dressage classes. Hannah said: “I have had years of heartache with horses, I had an eventer who had to be retired at 14 and then a lovely coloured mare who had to be put down due to a neurological disorder. I bought Cilla last December as a second chance at horses. This is the first show we have been to and it is just amazing to have qualified for HOYS.”
Senior research fellow and Clinical trials manager, Dr Charlotte Hall and her mare, Carrhouse Dark Silk won the riding horse hack class. Charlotte and her identical twin sister, Sophie Hall own and ride, Tabitha as Carrhouse Dark Silk is known at home. Charlotte said: “This is the first time we have had a go at Search for a Star. I have wanted to go to HOYS since I was a little girl. We have owned Tabitha since she was a two-year-old, and Sophie and I juggle riding and looking after her with work, we have no arena at home so we spend plenty of time going off to hire arenas and going to the gallops. Sophie’s polo player boyfriend, Henry Browne also often takes Tabitha to the gallops too.”
Paediatrician, Sunaya Hirani was absolutely delighted to take 2nd place in the hunter class with her own Glenomra Duke. She said: “I am so surprised we came second and qualified. Duke and I had a bit of a rough start – I bought him eighteen months ago and not long after, he jumped on my foot and broke it which resulted in a good few months off. Osbaldeston is the first show we have been to where it has felt like everything is coming together”. Sunaya is planning to take Duke on plenty of outings between now and HOYS, she continued: “Riding is my way to wind down after long days – and night shifts at work”.
Tony Smith, riding Rachel and Stuart Evans’ Bowland Winner took 2nd place to qualify for HOYS in the riding horse hack class. Tony said: “We are delighted, this was only his third show and the standard in the class was really high.” Tony who lives in Cheshire travels up to Stuart and Rachel’s yard near Skipton two or three times a week to ride the horse.
The hunter class winner at Osbaldeston, Coolboy Brazen, is a real allrounder and has had plenty of success in varying classes with his owner rider, Cherry Boothroyd. The pair have competed in ridden hunter classes and novice working hunters in addition to jumping in British Showjumping classes. Cherry who is a farmer, said: “We were at the Goresbridge sales and my husband, Andrew – who knows all about cows, but nothing about horses – spotted him trotting up and said that he would be perfect for me. Bob, as the horse is now known, has a bit of a following in the local pub. My father-in-law was called Robert and so Andrew’s mum and the locals are always keen to find out how Bob has been getting on.”
A busy cob class resulted in Gillian Purgac and her own, Ballygar Joker taking the top spot. Gillian has owned this black cob gelding for eight months and Search for a Star is the third show the pair have taken part in. Gillian, who works as a manager at B & M Bargains in Chorley, said: “I bought Ballygar Joker to gain some confidence after a bad fall. He is just fantastic and I intend to enjoy going out to do a bit of everything with him over the next few months before concentrating on preparing for HOYS. The riding fits in really well around my job and several people from work are planning on coming up to HOYS to cheer us on!”
The second cob to qualify was Jodie Evans’ Morrows Oreo. Jodie said: “We’ve been to the Search for a Star three times before, the first time we went we were unplaced and we tried again in 2016 where we were placed third and so just missed out on qualifying. We were unable to try again last year due to injury so I made it my goal for 2018 to qualify for HOYS. Oreo is the least cob-like cob in the world, he is wimp when it comes to the cold and wet weather and he’d rather stand in the stable all day instead of being out in the field with his friends.”
The winner of the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association (TGCA) prize at Osbaldeston was Lucy Austick and her brown mare, Maisy. The pair took 4th place in the working pony class. Maisy is unusual for a TGCA pony as she is solid brown and not coloured. Lucy said: “I was absolutely thrilled to be pulled in fourth. There were so many people in the class that it was split, Search for a Star is the definitely the biggest thing we have done yet!”
The ever consistent Clonard Lad (Presenting x Formidable (USA)) took the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse class at Osbaldeston. Now 12-years-old, this is the fourth time that this lovely chestnut has qualified for HOYS with Paul Langrick in the saddle. His owner Rebecca O’Neil said: “Each year he has done better at HOYS – he has been seventh, sixth and was fourth last year so hopefully he will keep improving! He owes me absolutely nothing and Paul rides him beautifully. I have known Paul for 20 years and he always puts the horse first and never rushes anything.” Clonard Lad has also previously qualified for HOYS in the large riding horse class. He was in training with Willie Mullins over in Ireland and then came to the UK where he ran once for Mike Sowersby.
In second place and taking the other qualifying spot in the racehorses was Rebecca Lowe’s, Singing Hinnie (Halling (USA) x Polar Falcon (USA)) with Chris Hunnable in the saddle. Singing Hinnie had a successful showing season in 2017 taking the reserve champion title at both Aintree and Hickstead. Rebecca, who works as a farrier in Newmarket said: “I asked Katie Jerram and Chris to have her as I was so busy at work, but then I broke my knee and damaged my cruciate ligament and it will be a while before I am able to ride again. We did a few SEIB classes last year but didn’t qualify so we are really delighted to get through on our first attempt this year. Hinnie was in training with Mark Tompkins, she ran three times but was no good, she loves her showing though. We will also be trying to qualify her for HOYS and RIHS in the large riding horse classes.” Rebecca formerly campaigned Astrobrava, who also came from Mark Tompkins’ yard, in the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse classes.
SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “Osbaldeston was as always a brilliant day out for all involved. We had some super entries and it was great to see how well supported the new M&M class was. We are truly delighted to be able to give amateur Mountain and Moorland enthusiasts the opportunity to compete for a national showing title. Search for a Star is now in its 20th year at HOYS and the standard and we are continually looking at ways to include more riders in the series and help them achieve their dreams”.
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Photo Credit SMR Photos