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Posted on May 6th, 2022


The Stratford Hills Horse Trials committee are saddened to announce that the 2022 fixture will be the final British Eventing fixture to be held at the Essex venue.

As organisers prepare for entries to open on the 9th of May, it has been confirmed that the venue is no longer able to accommodate the affiliated competition, currently, from 2023 onwards.  Set in the heart of Constable country, Hills Farm, Stratford-St-Mary, boasts incredible views of the Dedham Vale and the perfect setting to watch some of the icons of eventing take part.  The event has played host to grassroots competitors and a plethora of international stars over the years, including Olympic, European and World Championship Gold medallists.

The organisers can confirm that the announcement is in no way connected to British Eventing or concerns as to entry levels across the country.  The East of England has one of the most buoyant British Eventing memberships and efforts are still being made to find a replacement venue within the Essex/Suffolk area.

The cross-country course, designed by David Carpenter, makes full use of the terrain and undulations of the stunning Dedham Vale.  Ground preparations will start well in advance of the event and every effort will be made to present good going in the event of dry or wet conditions.

Over the past 19 years the event has run solely for charity and in this more challenging of times nothing has changed.  The SHHT Committee have chosen to support The Porch Project once again, as their charity of choice for 2022.  All proceeds from the event and ticket sales go directly to this very worthy charity.

The Porch Project is a charity based in Hadleigh, Suffolk, helping young people with the many challenges they are facing.  It has recently been donated a minibus which is enabling them to get out to the surrounding villages as well.  They currently have over 700 young people registered with them and each week they engage with approximately 150 young people through drop ins and detached and school coaching

Spectators are most welcome with advance ticket purchase advised.  These can be purchased online via www.shht.co.uk with all ticket sales going to charity.

Posted on April 29th, 2022

HorseFest Cancelled

HorseFest Cancel Festival at
Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre 8th-10th July

After months of work it is with regret that Thea Roberts and Heidi Hunter-Cope, founders of HorseFest announce that the event which was to bring equine experts, elite riders and everyday riders together to celebrate all things horse over the second weekend in July has been cancelled.

Said Thea: “It is with a heavy heart that we have taken the difficult decision to cancel this year’s HorseFest. Challenges, including the ongoing impact of Covid, the cost of living increases that are affecting our horse communities, along with unprecedented infrastructure cost increases and shortages have all factored in our decision-making process.

“So much work has gone into getting HorseFest off the ground, this is not a decision that we have taken lightly. Our amazing sponsors, suppliers, experts, elite riders and volunteers who all bought into our vision have been totally wonderful and completely supportive of HorseFest; we can’t thank them enough for this support.

Said Heidi: “We’re sorry to let down all our ticket holders. We’ve spoken to our HorseTribe community and understand and appreciate the very particular challenges horse owners are facing at this time of increased living costs.

“We just don’t feel it’s the right time to put on our event when so many are facing a very real struggle. Our objectives have always been about creating an inclusive event where horse lovers and everyday riders can explore, learn and meet experts, elite riders and each other.

“All our ticket competition winners will receive a year’s membership for two to HorseTribe as we very much value their support and are sorry we cannot fulfil the festival prizes we offered in the run up to this year’s HorseFest.”

Said HorseTribe member Anna Harling: “I was so excited about going to HorseFest and I’m absolutely gutted to hear it’s not going ahead, but I love being part of the HorseTribe and can’t wait to see what they do next.”

Adds Heidi: “We’re continuing our exciting HorseTribe journey. Our membership continues to grow and, until things settle down, we’ll be focusing on building our ever growing online community to make sure every horse owner out there feels supported during these tricky times.

The HorseFest team would like to thank all those who have given their time and energy to this event including our friends at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre and our valued sponsors, in particular our presenting partner John Oates Horseboxes and sponsor Synovium.

All ticket holders will notified by email and refunded by the 6th May.

All staff, performers, collaborators and volunteers have been notified of the cancellation prior to this being shared publicly.

Posted on April 14th, 2022

British Equestrians for Ukraine: – week four update


The situation in Ukraine continues to be severe, with fighting intensifying in the south and east and the need for humanitarian and equine aid grows more desperate. Working in collaboration both in the United Kingdom and with parties in Europe and Ukraine, British Equestrians for Ukraine (BEU) has so far helped see nine lorries of goods delivered on the ground and assisted funding for holding facilities and personnel to help with logistics and coordination. Our collective efforts so far have achieved:

  • Donations to the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund, hosted by World Horse Welfare, now stand at £164,000.


  • The food, forage and bedding in our nine-truck convoy sent to Poland at the end of March has now been distributed throughout Ukraine via an established supply chain, to key locations where it’s most needed.


  • The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation (UEF) is prioritising relocating equines to holding camps in safe areas over trying to get them across the border into Poland and beyond. The wait times for paperwork to be checked, even for microchipped horses, is generally 20 to 40 hours on the border. The camps provide housing and support for any horse and any people who travel with them and BEU has been providing logistics and financial help to set up and run the camps.


  •  British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine (BVP4U) is now linked into the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund for monetary assistance to support the need for veterinary medicine supplies, alongside their own fundraising which has raised £44,000 for humanitarian aid. The British Equestrian Veterinary Association Trust (BEVA) has donated plus a very welcome trans-Atlantic alliance with the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) who, in the spirit of organisations working for the common good, have also made a contribution.


BVP4U team member David Rendle, President Elect of the British Equine Veterinary Association, will travel to the Polish/Ukrainian border this week to assess the situation and veterinary standards. He’s currently coordinating a lorry of much-needed veterinary supplies to leave the UK this week. He’ll work with Claire Williams at the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) to ensure that lorry is full of any additional donated equine, pet and humanitarian supplies. The lorry will travel to Poland and on to Ukraine, where its cargo will be distributed.


  • BETA is working on a supply source and transport provider for haylage and bedding in Europe so BEU can fund more economical ways to get supplies to Ukraine efficiently. The UEF and our source in Ukraine have said that the emphasis is on low-protein, small-bale forage and shavings because they currently have good stocks of hard feed.

Roly Owers of World Horse Welfare said; “The situation in Ukraine remains utterly dire but thanks to people’s generosity we are starting to have some impact in getting aid to where it is needed, both through donations of supplies and funding. The initial response to the appeal has been amazing and to have legends like Lucinda Green and Carl Hester supporting our collective effort is incredible.

“However, the stark reality is that the desperate need to support Ukrainian horses and the wider sector will remain for months to come, whatever happens on the ground. So we would implore everyone to continue to donate and to fundraise in support of this much needed initiative.”

British Equestrians for Ukraine was set up by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry to help all horses in need in Ukraine and Poland. To donate to the British Equestrians for Ukraine, visit the dedicated page on World Horse Welfare’s website. Remember, if you’re a UK taxpayer, you can claim Gift Aid on your donation which makes the money go further at no extra cost.

Posted on March 23rd, 2022

British Equestrians for Ukraine: week one update

Just over a week after launching, the team behind British Equestrians for Ukraine can report a successful start thanks to an overwhelming response from the equine community to help those displaced by the Russian invasion. The public fund set up via World Horse Welfare is currently running at over £100,000 in donations while the co-ordinated efforts of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) have collected feed and bedding worth around £90,000 – about nine lorry loads – which is on route to Poland.

Working in collaboration with the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation and trusted partners in countries around Ukraine, we’re liaising with those on the ground to develop logistics and supply chains to ensure that the supplies of food, bedding and veterinary supplies are distributed in the country from the drop-off points in Poland.

Claire Williams from BETA commented; “Our members and the wider trade have all been touched by the distress faced by the Ukrainian equestrian community and have been overwhelming in their support. So many have pledged support, but I must thank Country Haylage who’ve raised over £25,000 and been instrumental in co-ordinating the nine-lorry lift of product generously donated from manufacturers across the country. Further members of the trade have made significant cash donations to the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund and many retailers are running fundraising initiatives to further boost the fund.”

The situation on the ground in Ukraine is becoming increasingly dire and the priority is getting food and bedding for equines throughout the country. Supplies are arriving daily from a range of supporters throughout Europe, with the Ukraine Federation recently outlining requirements for efficient deliveries, including grouping aid into large quantities on wrapped pallets and ensuring the correct paperwork and accreditations are in place.

There’s now a huge effort focused on evacuating any horses requiring rescue out of the country or a move to safer areas in the west. The group is liaising with Ukrainian contacts including the Ukrainian Horse Union who have the best knowledge of stables and equines in the country and who are helping to establish a ‘base camp’ for equines either in Lviv or Poland near the border. Lobbying is also being carried out in an attempt to reduce red tape for people seeking to evacuate their horses across the Polish border.

Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare said: “The situation in Ukraine remains deeply worrying, but it is encouraging to see the progress being made in getting supplies through to the Ukrainian border. For sure, this is just the beginning and there is no doubt that this is going to be an on-going mission. Without the generosity of everyone who has donated to the appeal already, none of this would have been possible. In such concerning times it is so uplifting to see how much support there is for the animals and people of Ukraine. Financial donations will help us most at this stage as we work with trusted partners on the ground.”

The British Equestrian Veterinary Association has linked in with the newly established British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine to help raise funds to help with medical and veterinary supplies for practitioners working in areas where fighting is ongoing. Also known as UKVets4Ukraine, British Veterinary Professionals for Ukraine has raised over £15,000 so far as well as physical donations of supplies.

Olympic disciplines British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping have all pledged support to the British Equestrians for Ukraine fund and a number of other member bodies, equestrian companies and individuals are all working to raise money to donate.

Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive summed the efforts up in saying; “It’s been a tremendous response so far, but we must keep up the momentum. The humanitarian crisis is escalating as the fighting and unwarranted bombing continues and the conditions for equines and their people will continue to deteriorate. The generosity shown in such a short time by so many is testament to Britain’s amazing equestrian community. We’re already hearing how the funds and products are making an impact and there’s further support in the planning stages to have more impact on the ground and getting the horses to safety. We’ll continue to release updates so those who’ve supported know they’re making a difference.”

James Hick, CEO at The British Horse Society said, “By working together we were able to set up the donations fund quickly and effectively, I want to thank all our members and supporters for their contributions. As ever, I am proud of the outstanding efforts of our amazing industry to support one another through hard times, and particularly now, as we reach out together as a bonded equestrian community, to bring desperately needed help to Ukraine.”

British Equestrians for Ukraine was set up by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry. To donate to the British Equestrians for Ukraine, visit the dedicated page on World Horse Welfare. Remember, if you’re a UK taxpayer, you can claim Gift Aid on your donation which makes the money go further at no extra cost.

Posted on March 21st, 2022

Ukrainian Equestrian Federation: situation update

All at the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation have been touched by the amazing response to our calls for help and donations to our www.helpukrainehorses.eu fund, the kindness of equestrian communities across the world has been generous and instant. The situation in our country for equines is exceptionally challenging and constantly evolving and we thank everyone for their patience.  We are beginning to see our collaborative efforts with a number of organisations beginning to have an impact for those who need help.

We are extremely grateful to the many Breeding Societies, Equestrian Federations and Charities such as The FEI, The Finnish Equestrian Federation, British Equestrian, World Horse Welfare and individual from many countries around the world for their ongoing support to help with a hugely complex operation in what is essentially a war zone.


Aid administration

We continue to need aid and now supply channels are being established, we ask all of our supporters to follow very clear guidance to make sure support is handled in the most effective way – for you and for us to facilitate getting aid into the country. We would ask that you please refer to our website www.helpukrainehorses.eu to see the latest logistical advice as these logistics are evolving all the time in this dynamic situation.

What we do ask please, is to try very hard to coordinate with fellow donors to supply at least larger quantities of feed, packed on euro pallets and following the guidance on the website. Trucks with larger quantity of aid are more efficient to deliver and distribute – they can go directly to the border with Ukraine and from the border to the warehouse in Lviv. Only small loads/shipments can be brought to Lesna Wola and will be used for evacuated horses staying in Lesna Wola.

Please do not simply turn up at the Polish/Ukrainian border with stock/aid. There are currently very long lines of lorries and correct accreditation is required, without it you could face long delays.

We are working on setting up a rail depot in Berlin, Germany which will take aid directly into the heart of Ukraine. Only full, wrapped pallets will be accepted here. Please follow our website and social media for progress updates on this.


Equine assistance

Through help from the FEI Solidarity Fund, we are setting up a stable facility at Lviv with 40 boxes to house horses in transit as we begin to evacuate more from danger. We continue to work with a number of individuals on both side the border to establish stop over locations for horses. Some will remain in the west of Ukraine and some will move further west into neighbouring counties.

There is also a requirement to establish quarantine stations for horses to complete their health requirements prior to their onward journey.

We have had very generous offers from a number of logistics/horse transport companies all over Europe but crossing the border into Ukraine remains complex for a number of reasons and the logistics of moving horses is extremely challenging.

Michaylo Parkhomchuk, Secretary General of the Ukrainian Equestrian Federation said; “Our small team has been inundated with messages, emails and calls and we’re very humbled by the support we’ve had but would ask everyone is patient while we try to keep up with our inbox. The actual situation is that we are forced to act during war and in war zone – as Lviv has already been bombed several times, there are no safe zones anymore and there are no guarantees that logistics or any services in Ukraine will work as intended. The ongoing war makes even the simplest things difficult. This will not deter us from the absolute focus to assist as many horses and owners in our country as we possibly can during these dark times. РАЗОМ ПЕРЕМОЖЕМО!!!”

We’ll issue a weekly update of what has been achieved and how those who want to provide support can best help with clear instructions and guidance, that way the aid is expedited to where it’s needed as smoothly as possible. We’re still asking for financial donations which will help with the evacuation and housing of equines via our Charity Foundation or a trusted official fundraiser in your country. On behalf of the Ukrainian horses and their people, we thank everyone for their generosity and kindness.


Posted on March 10th, 2022

‘British Equestrians for Ukraine’ launched to aid developing equine crisis

Leading organisations and individuals across Britain’s equestrian community have united to form ‘British Equestrians for Ukraine’ which aims to help horses and their owners caught up in the crisis created by the Russian invasion. The Ukrainian Equestrian Federation has put out an urgent call for supplies on the ground including feed, forage and shavings and with a groundswell of support from our industry, there was a clear need to help co-ordinate the offers of assistance from leading brands as well as raise money to fund aid directly where it’s needed most.

Spearheaded by British Equestrian (BEF), The British Horse Society (BHS), the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and World Horse Welfare with the support of member bodies across the industry, British Equestrians for Ukraine has been set up to help facilitate a supply chain to meet the immediate need for goods on the ground as well as raising money to help purchase supplies and cover the costs associated with transport.

Jim Eyre, British Equestrian Chief Executive commented; “This is a dire situation, and, alongside the immediate humanitarian crisis, we must do everything we can to prevent the unnecessary suffering of all equines and help those who care for them. We’re fortunate that our equestrian community is blessed with so many willing to help those in need. However, it’s apparent that careful co-ordination is required to make sure urgent goods get to those in need through the correct channels. We hope that we can help facilitate that while urgently raising funds for the emergency requirements and beyond. I’d like to thank all those involved in getting the fund and export effort launched, particularly Alec Lochore, Alice Fox-Pitt, Roly Owers, James Hick and Claire Williams.”

The group’s first action was to facilitate a trusted method for financial contributions, with World Horse Welfare setting up the British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund on their website where direct donations can be made by individuals or organisations. Donations, no matter how small, will help us to work with trusted, local partners, including the Ukraine and Polish Federations and recognised charities to provide emergency support. UK taxpayers can sign up to Gift Aid on their donations which means the fund will receive an extra 25p in every £1 you give, at no extra cost.

Roly Owers, Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare said; “The tragedy unfolding in Ukraine is utterly heart-breaking but there has been such a desire from across Britain to help Ukraine’s horses and those who own or care for them. This fund aims to do just that and, along with the British Horse Society, we have donated to the appeal, and would encourage others to do the same.

“Without doubt there will be huge challenges to effectively target funds where they are most needed, so we will strive to work through a network of trusted local partners in what is clearly such an unsettled and rapidly evolving situation.”

The group is also working with leading equestrian brands and BETA members to co-ordinate offers of the urgently required goods and then matching them with planned haulage trips to the Polish logistics hub established by the Ukrainian and Polish Equestrian Federations. This way we can ensure lorries are leaving British shores full, with the right supplies and correct exportation documentation to expedite the goods getting into Poland and on to Ukraine.

Executive Director of BETA, Claire Williams, praised the efforts so far; “What has been achieved in such a short time shows what we are able to do by working together. Shipments of hay and bedding are already on their way, but the logistics due to Brexit are challenging. Feed companies with distributors and stock on the Continent are stepping up to assist while others who are experienced exporters are committing supplies to be sent over either through shared loads or direct with their usual hauliers. Other companies who are not in a position to send product have also pledged cash donations to the new fund.”

How the equine community can help via British Equestrians for Ukraine

· The most immediate and direct benefit will come from donations:

– Equine: British Equestrians for Ukraine Fund (worldhorsewelfare.org)

– Humanitarian: – http://www.donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitrian-appeal 

Donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal will be match funded by the UK Government up to £25 million and funds from Oxfam and the Red Cross are being channelled to the REC.

· If any companies can help with donations of reasonable quantities of the following in packs weighing less than 20kgs, please contact BETA on info@beta-uk.org who can help with the logistics of supply:

– small packaged haylage/forage

– compound/hard feed

– shavings

Any product supplied will need to be accompanied by export documentation and should not require export health certificates.

The group does not recommend that private individuals collect donations of goods or equipment and/or attempt to transport them to Europe themselves, unless they have extensive experience of exporting goods. There are significant logistical barriers and the required exportation documentation for mixed loads is extensive plus the inherent costs associated with the trip could become prohibitive.

James Hick, BHS Chief Executive added; “We have been shocked by the events unfolding in Ukraine and as a charity that is here for all horses and people who care for them, we wanted to help, and we know many of our members and supporters also want to help during this incredibly difficult time. By collectively coming together we have launched a dedicated fund and The British Horse Society will be making a donation, we would encourage anyone who feels that they can afford to donate to do so. These are unprecedented times and just these small actions we’re taking will make a difference.”

Posted on December 22nd, 2021

New post-Christmas Covid advice issued

The Prime Minister has confirmed that there will be no new Covid restrictions for England before Christmas but has not ruled out any further measures afterwards. It has also been announced that people infected with Covid in England can stop self-isolating after seven days, instead of the previous ten, if they show two negative lateral flow tests on days six and seven.


What this means for equestrian activity

As with England, any equestrian activity in both Wales and Scotland can continue with mitigating measures in place, including risk assessments, but should be reviewed to comply with the advice indicated above. Further updates from all home nations are expected over the coming days and weeks, so British Equestrian is asking stakeholders to follow the news.


“The situation is rapidly changing and with differing requirements across the nations, so I’d urge the equestrian community to exercise caution and remain vigilant,” said Chief Executive Jim Eyre. “It’s important you follow the news in your area to makes sure you’re up to date with any rules and guidance in place during the festive period and beyond. We’ll continue to monitor any updates and publish guidance to ensure activity can continue, provided it’s within any government requirements. Keep public mixing to a minimum, make sure you test before meeting others, wear a face-covering indoors and practice good hand hygiene in order to keep yourself and those around you safe.”


British Equestrian, working alongside the British Horse Society, and its member bodies, has been consulting with government on the restricted use of covered arenas and indoor schools, which had a major impact on the industry during the previous periods of lockdown. Collectively, existing research findings have been compiled, and a new study has also been commissioned, which puts forward a strong case that the application of the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 on equestrian riding facilities does not take into account their size and volume.


The submission is currently under review with Defra and we’ll keep up the momentum to try and keep our facilities open should there be another lockdown. In the meantime, any equestrian premises which use indoor or covered riding facilities, are encouraged to write to their MPs outlining their concerns for their business and the resulting impact on equine welfare, should any or all of the country come under lockdown.


Posted on December 14th, 2021


Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched its latest fundraising animation, voiced once again by Stephen Fry.

Last year, the charity released a short animation narrated by the popular broadcaster telling the story of a long-term Sanctuary resident, blind Clydesdale horse Boo, which went on to be viewed by over 225,000 people online.

This year’s animation takes supporters back to the beginnings of Redwings in 1984 and how it has transformed into a national charity caring for more than 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys at its sites every day. Along the way, viewers will meet some of Redwings’ adorable residents who the Sanctuary has rescued and given a loving home to over the years.

You can view the full animation here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdpFfySMY4c

Stars of the animation include Shetland pony Sampson who was rescued in 2004 when he was just one year old, and lonely Wiggins the donkey who was sadly abandoned by his owner on a livery yard leaving the landowner to care for him.

All the rescued horses and donkeys featured in the animation are available to sponsor from as little as £2 per month, with every penny going towards their care and that of their fellow four-legged friends living at the Sanctuary.

Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive, said: “For the last 37 years we’ve worked tirelessly to help horses and donkeys in desperate need and, as a charity 100% funded by donations, we’ve only been able to do this thanks to the kind generosity of our supporters.

“We’re delighted that through this new animation we can show just what a difference their support has made to animals, like Sampson and Wiggins, whose lives would otherwise have been very bleak. We’re also thrilled that the wonderful Stephen Fry has once again helped us to tell these important stories.

“Sponsoring one of our rescued residents for yourself or as a gift for a loved one is a fantastic way to help us continue to look after the horses and donkeys in our care, ensuring they can enjoy safe and healthy lives this Christmas and into the future.”

To sponsor a Redwings rescued horse or donkey, call 01508 505246 or visit www.redwings.org.uk/adopt.

Posted on December 8th, 2021

Tabitha Morgan-Evans from Suffolk is October’s NAF Shining Star

Nine year-old Tabitha Morgan-Evans from Newmarket, Suffolk has been awarded the NAF Shining Star for October. A recent new member to the Suffolk Academy, Tabitha has shown great maturity and is always supportive of her team mates which led lead coach Mia Palles-Clark to nominate her.

“Tabitha has attended training throughout the summer and taken her novice pony to be part of the academy mini team at the academy championships in August. She has since progressed onto a new pony to finish her October half term at the English Home Pony at South View Equestrian Centre as part of the u10s team as well as being placed in the fledgling’s championship,” commented Mia.

“Showing great maturity, she is excellent to coach and is always supportive of her team mates. Tabby is a delight to have around, she is polite to officials and generally an excellent shining example of the sport of showjumping. I see her long-term commitment to showjumping developing through the fun and success she’s already enjoying. She does all of this with a smile on her face and a pat for her ponies!”

After finding out she was the winner of October’s NAF Shining Star, an excited Tabitha said “Thank you for choosing me for the award. I had great fun with my two ponies at the Home Pony show last month. I qualified to jump in the England mini team and I was so proud to be selected. I managed to jump bigger than I have ever jumped and I am very proud of my ponies. It was a big learning curve for me and my younger pony but my coach Mia has really helped me – thank you so much! This has really encouraged me and I can’t wait to do more.”

Lisa Field from NAF added “It is great to hear the progress Tabitha has made with her pony throughout the summer and to end on being part of the u10s team and placed in the fledgling championship is a fantastic achievement. Tabitha’s commitment and dedication, along with the support she provides her team mates makes her a worthy winner of this month’s NAF Shining Star, congratulations Tabitha!”

The NAF Shining Star Award was introduced when NAF became a British Showjumping Business Partner. The award is for members of a Junior Academy who have shown a great deal of commitment, progression, and outstanding behaviour along with their riding ability and much more. Riders are nominated by their lead coach, and then judged and awarded by NAF to one person each month.

Image credit landscapeandhorses.co.uk

Posted on December 1st, 2021

SEIB Search for a Star Championships back at Your Horse Live with five action packed finals

The much-anticipated SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star Championships returned to Your Horse Live at Stoneleigh Park on the 12th November in the main SEIB Arena. This time the popular showing finals kept audiences and competitors entertained all morning with five fantastic classes for amateur riders. Each championship winner was awarded a stunning trophy, sash and rosette.  Expert commentary was provided by top show producer, Katie Jerram-Hunnable and her Olympic Eventing husband, Chris Hunnable.

Your Horse Live Event Director, Emma Bedford said: “We were thrilled to welcome and host more SEIB Search for a Star championship classes than ever before. This year we had five championships adding part-bred traditional and in-hand along with some amazing amateur and open veteran finalists. The Search for a Star schedule was packed and ran back-to-back all morning on the opening Friday of the show and even more special was seeing it run in the newly sponsored SEIB 3,000 seater arena! It was a huge success for all and it was lovely to see everybody having such a great competition after such a long break.”

The day kicked off with the first ever Search for a Star part-bred traditional championship which saw four excellent examples come forward. The title went to the 15-year-old cob, Branston Pickle, owned by Lee Uttridge and ridden by Rosie Wrest. The pairing from Surrey qualified at Brook Farm and were delighted with their win, Rosie met Lee when she went to the family livery yard near Gatwick. “I started riding Branston nearly six years ago, we started with dressage and then decided to try showing. Lee and I always said if we got just one rosette, we would be happy. I feel very emotional, to have won this championship is just the best feeling.”

The SEIB Search for a Star Part Bred Traditional class was judged by Sarah Chapman and Andrea Betteridge. Andrea heads up the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association and said: “We had a lovely class here today with some fantastic animals. It was truly great to see the support from the crowd and to be able to give these part-breds a chance to shine in the ring. It is so important to us to promote the breed and show people what these horses are capable of.”

The in-hand championship was next in the ring and did not disappoint. It was judged by Sarah Chapman and Search for a Star first time judge, Jack Moore. All competitors qualified for the championship in a special virtual Search for a Star photo competition hosted by Your Horse Live during the lockdown period where showing competitions weren’t an option. The championship judges were presented with a wide range of breeds and types to select their winner from with people travelling from all corners of the country for the chance to be crowned champion.

The coveted trophy and sash were awarded to Millie Bowles and the 24-year-old, Welsh Section B, Cottrell Riverdance. Known as Ronnie at home, Cottrell Riverdance is owned by Millie’s mother Selina. The pairing are no strangers to the podium positions having recently won the Veteran Horse Society veteran supreme overall final where they competed in-hand.

The SEIB Search for a Star amateur veteran horse championship trophy was presented to Louise Chamberlain and her own 18-year-old Mystical Clover from Wiltshire. The pair previously qualified for and competed in the Search for a Star riding club show horse finals at Horse of the Year Show in 2016. Louise and Clover have previously evented together but decided on a change of career when Clover fell out of love with the sport.

Now in its third year at Your Horse Live, the SEIB Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship did not disappoint. SEIB Insurance Brokers set up the Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship to create more opportunities for amateur riders at a national championship level. The SEIB arena at Your Horse Live truly provides a real feel for the big occasion for each of the Search for a Star finalists and previous competitors have given some lovely feedback from this prestigious event ensuring tough competition for qualifying places this year!

Amateur riders and their mountain and moorland ponies have travelled the length and breadth of the country to the Your Horse Live finals. A total of nine ponies came before judges Sarah Chapman and Paul Cook. The trophy was presented to Simone Harrison and her own Welsh Section D, Wishaw Red Admiral. Winning the 2021 championship has topped a good year for the fashion Talent Acquisition Lead and Red, the pair are no strangers to the show ring having taken 6th place at the Royal International earlier this season.

The SEIB Search for a Star mountain and moorland championship is open to pure-bred mountain and moorland ponies ridden by amateur riders.

The final championship of the morning was the open veteran horse and pony. This was a new and exciting format for the class where competitors were asked to perform a show of their choice in front of four judges. The championship was judged by Sarah Chapman, Jack Moore, Paul Cook and special VIP guest judge, Marcus Capel, CEO of the Pony Club. Judges were asked to score the show in live time with marks being revealed to the audience. It was a fantastic way of engaging the crowd and received lots of positive feedback from spectators and competitors alike.

Marcus Capel commented: “It was a privilege to join this experienced judging panel for the open veteran championship. There was a great atmosphere and the use of public scoring cards made it very easy for the audience to see what we all thought as individual judges with no conferring, including our differences of opinion! All of the horses were a credit to their owners and riders, looking very fit and active.”

The title went to a pairing that are no stranger to the showing circuit, Abigail Sole and her own 18-year-old ex-racehorse, Hero Worship (pictured above). Stowmarket’s Abigail and Hero Worship have been firm supporters of the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse classes and last month took second place in the R2R championship at HOYS. Following their win, an emotional Abigail made an announcement: “This has topped off what has been a great season for the both of us. I feel so happy, but also sad as this is our last outing in the show ring, Hero is now going to be retired from showing. I feel like we have left at the top and I cannot ask for more from him. It was a great class and we have really enjoyed taking part in this first one. I really liked the live scoring element.”


Photo:  Credit SMR Photos