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Racehorse to Riding Horse

1st Valentine Jack, owned by Mrs Gill Bolt and ridden by Jo-Ann Sharp of Bampton, Devon

2nd Perfect Choice, owned and ridden by Angela Lance of Lewes, Sussex


The 2012 South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship saw another hotly contended qualifier at Badgworth Arena, Somerset, on Sunday 1st July, where a large entry competed for the chance to attend The Horse of the Year Show finals, held at the NEC Birmingham in October.

The Racehorse class proved to be extremely popular with 31 entrants having to be split into two groups for judge David Ingle and ride judge, Matthew Lawrence.

First place went to the aptly named, Valentine Jack, ridden by Jo-Anne Sharp and owned by Gill Bolt. Jack has a perfect heart shaped star on his forehead. Gill bought the 9 year old bay from trainer Rod Milman who she was working for at the time, as a project for her daughter Kirsty. She re-backed him as a 3 year old and then went away to university so Gill took over riding him as a 4 year old for hacking and riding club activities and last year they competed in Le Trec. “Jo-Ann is my son Nick’s girlfriend, and when she saw the horse she said you have to show her” said Gill. Jo-Ann, who runs a yard producing show horses, took over the ride at Easter and this is his 4th show. Jack has previously finished 3rd at Shropshire County Show, won at Bath and West and went to the ROR final at the Hickstead Derby meeting” said Gill. This was the pair’s first time at an indoor show. “He is very stressy and we have to deal with his nerves, he is a typical racehorse. He gets lots of attention but the more you do with him the more buzzy he gets, so it is a fine balance” explained Jo-Anne. “He was going home to Gill to hack around – now I’m not sure that is allowed! But he will go home for a month or so for a holiday and to chill out. Then we might do some HOYS hack classes to see how we get on and get ready for HOYS”, says Jo-Ann.

Second place went to Perfect Choice, owned and ridden by Angela Lance. Angela got the 8 year old grey gelding from Grace Muir at Heros, and has had him for 3 years. Last year they won at Windsor, Kent and the New Forest and were 5th at HOYS. He was in training with Brian Meehan and he won 1 race but then they gave up racing. “I got him to show and hoped to do more than ROR classes, but now the ROR classes are so competitive that you need a really good horse” said Angela. The pair will compete at Kent County and the New Forest shows again this year. “We will do some more shows and then to HOYS” said Angela, who runs a yard of 28 horses, producing show horses of all types. “We were delayed on the M4 on the way here but it was well worth the 5 hour trip!” she added.

The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship qualifiers are open to any owner, rider and producer. The Racehorse to Riding Horse Show Championship, which is supported by the charity, Retraining of Racehorses, was initiated by South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) to help ex racehorses when they come out of training and help to recognise their abilities in the show ring. Horses need to have been in training with a recognised trainer and have raced to be eligible for these classes, which provide an opportunity to qualify for the prestigious HOYS finals.


The Spillers Weighbridge was kept busy all day with enquiries and Spillers also gave prizes to the first and second in this class.


Absorbine grooming products have long been associated with impeccable turnout, particularly in the show ring, and they were pleased to give a bottle of ShowSheen 2-in-1 Shampoo or ShowSheen Stain Remover and Whitener to the first and second place in this class. Their ShowSheen hair polish and detangler is renowned and this brand has recently been expanded to include the shampoo and stain remover.

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, 3rd – 7th October 2012, at NEC, Birmingham. The winner of the Championship will go forward to the Supreme Horse of the Year judging on Sunday evening at HOYS for the first time this year.

1st racehorse web

Valentine Jack, ridden by Jo-Anne Sharp