Chantelle Chapman riding her mother Victoria Oliver’s Fell pony, Greenholme Falcon took this brand-new title in the BETA arena at Your Horse Live in front of an enthusiastic audience. SEIB Insurance Brokers have set up the new Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland championship with the help of Your Horse Live to create more opportunities for amateur riders at a national championship level.
There was added anticipation for the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland final as it was the first ever championship competition to take place at Your Horse Live. The BETA arena truly provided a real feel of the big occasion for each of the Search for a Star finalists.
Amateur riders and their Mountain and Moorland ponies have travelled the length and breadth of the country since the first Search for a Star qualifier back in April in their quest to get through to this new final at Your Horse Live. Fifteen ponies qualified and fourteen went in front of judges Sandy Wooderson and Matthew Lawrence at the final. Both judges upheld the tradition at Search for a Star finals of talking into a microphone and sharing their thoughts with the audience. Their reflections provided a fascinating insight into the breeds and what is expected when showing mountain and moorlands.
The winner, Greenholme Falcon has been owned by Victoria Oliver for just eighteen months. This seven-year-old Fell pony was piloted to victory very ably by thirteen-year-old Chantelle who was the youngest rider in the final.
Matthew Lawrence said: “Our winner caught my eye upon entering the ring. He is a lovely true to type pony that was beautifully ridden.” This foot perfect performance from Greenholme Falcon who is known at home as Dan was the result of plenty of hard work from Chantelle in the run up to the show. Chantelle’s mother, Victoria said: “Chantelle hasn’t stopped smiling since the class. She is very competitive and likes everything spot on. This has been a brilliant experience for her and she is really learning that hard work pays off! We went to the Search for a Star training day in September and Chantelle got some really good tips including learning more about the importance of standing the pony up correctly.”
Chantelle is now very excited about next season and she and Dan will be aiming at qualifiers for the Royal International Horse Show and Horse of the Year Show. The pair also compete in unaffiliated show jumping and cross-country classes when they are not busy in the show ring.
Chantelle is a Manningtree High School student, she is very dedicated with her school work too and always gets her homework done as quickly as possible so she can get out riding and looking after the horses.
Chantelle said “I’m going to work hard over winter with Dan and hopefully we can make it to the Royal International and Horse of the Year Show in the junior classes. This was an amazing experience and the team at SEIB were all so nice. Anyone with an interest in showing should give it a go.”
“I am so grateful for the support I get from my mum and step dad, without them I couldn’t do any of this and It has taught me that working hard gets you amazing results.”
New Forest pony Buckland Romantic took the runner up spot in the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland final. Ridden by her owner, Emma Staton, Kara, as the mare is known at home took everything at Your Horse Live in her stride.
Emma said: “I was not expecting to do so well at Your Horse Live, we haven’t done a lot of showing, but what we have done has been generally successful. Kara went nicely in the final, she did feel a little bit tense – I am always very self-critical and wanting to do better! We had really positive comments from the judges though. Matthew Lawrence said that we should go and do some open HOYS Mountain and Moorland qualifiers.”
Emma lives near Truro which resulted in a long trip up to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
Emma continued: “We qualified for the Search for a Star final at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre in Somerset where I got chatting to one of the other riders that qualified, Kate Vickery. We have stayed in touch and Kate very kindly put me and Kara up for the night after the final to make the six hour plus journey more manageable.”
Kara was bred by the Buckland Stud in the New Forest and spent her first eighteen months or so running on the forest. Emma who is a chiropractor and runs her own business in Redruth bought Kara from the stud and has brought her on herself. Emma added: “Kara and I have done quite a bit of dressage and we have just started competing at medium level and we have also done some arena eventing.”
Taking third place was Megan White riding Suzanne White’s dun Connemara gelding, Thunderbolt Bairy Robin Bambi.
Suzanne said: “Robin was foot-perfect at Your Horse Live. It was a brilliant end to a great season for the pair of them. We had such a lovely time at the Search for a Star finals. It was refreshing to go somewhere that was so well organised with really helpful people.”
Megan and Robin qualified for the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland finals at Osbaldeston back in April. Since then the pair have qualified for and competed at both the Royal International Horse Show and Horse of the Year Show.
Suzanne continued: “This year, all Megan’s dreams have come true! RIHS, HOYS and now Your Horse Live!” Sixteen-year-old Megan is a student at Myerscough College where she is studying agriculture. Suzanne added: “Megan loves both the horses and farming. She is keen though to pursue a career farming and keep the horses as a hobby.”
The different Mountain and Moorland breeds were well represented across the top places in the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland final. In fourth place was Welsh Section D pony, Sheir Whisky owned and ridden by Karen Badrick. This pair are also fairly new to showing.
Karen said: “I bought Sheir Whisky two and a half-years-ago unbroken to get going and sell on, but he has turned out to be an absolute superstar – he definitely has a home for life!”
Dales pony, Lowhouses Chesney, owned and ridden by Kirstie Hinton finished in fifth place in the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland final. This pair won their qualifier at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre to qualify for the finals. Kirstie has wanted to do Search for a Star for several years with Lowhouses Chesney and so was delighted about this new opportunity for Mountain and Moorlands provided by SEIB.
She said: “Boris lives to go to shows, he has no interest in hacking out!” Kirstie works in the office at Super Pro rally car parts.
In sixth place was Charlotte Marshall with her own, Pentrefelin Ladykiller. Charlotte has owned this Welsh Section D, known as Charlie for five years. The pair go out showing for a fun day out rather than to win rosettes.
Charlotte said: “She said: “Charlie isn’t always the easiest but we go and get on with it and have a great time. Charlotte has worked for Royal Mail for the past 31 years. She continued: “I have done a bit of everything in my job. It fits in well around the horses. I’ve had three section D’s over the years and they live on DIY livery. They are really fun ponies”.
Molly Broadley with her own Highland gelding, Dexter of Rocklea finished the Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland Championship in seventh place. Molly has owned Dexter for just nine months, she said:
“Dexter is just 6 and I’ve worked very hard with him in the short time I have owned him.” In eighth place was another Dales pony, Westwick Sam, ridden by Philippa Dawson-Coates and owned by Amanda Batey. Philippa said: “Amanda has owned Westwick Sam since he was a foal and she has done lots of pleasure and endurance rides on him, but doesn’t enjoy competing so I have been lucky enough to be riding him for three years now.”
The SEIB Search for a Star Mountain and Moorland Championship is open to pure-bred Mountain and Moorland ponies ridden by amateur riders.
SEIB Marketing Manager Nicolina Mackenzie said: “We are truly delighted to be able to give amateur Mountain and Moorland enthusiasts this opportunity to compete for a national showing title at Your Horse Live. Search for a Star is now in its 22nd year and we are continually looking at ways to include more riders in the series and help them achieve their dreams. We have been searching for a venue for the M & M’s for decades and we hoped the renowned Mrs Pat Campbell would be involved but unfortunately that was not possible however she was in our thoughts. Personally, I am extremely grateful to Emma Bedford at Your Horse Live for giving us this opportunity. It is extremely difficult to find the ‘big occasion’ that really gives amateur riders the truly special experience that Horse of the Year show provides and Your Horse Live definitely came up to the mark. The competitors have all said what a wonderful time they have had and how special they have been made to feel. That in my opinion is what it is all about, not everyone can win but everyone should have a good time, by the way, I don’t think the shopping hurt either!”.
Expert advice and support from the very experienced judges is on hand for all competitors at the qualifiers and during the Championship build up there is the renowned Search for a Star training day for all qualified combinations. The Championships provide a learning opportunity for both spectators and competitors as the judges will use microphones to give their thoughts and explain their decisions.
Leading equine Insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting equestrian events and activities.