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1st, Chivola, owned and ridden by Victoria Smart of Thirsk, N Yorkshire

2nd, King of Barbury, owned by Miss J M Bodycote and ridden by Claire Herrington of Burford, Oxon


28 entries were split into 2 groups for the preliminary judging, before judges David Puttock (conformation) and David Ingle (ride) made their final decision.

First place went to Chivola, owned and ridden by Victoria Smart. Chivola, who is by Invincible Spirit (IRE) and out of Boudica (IRE), was trained by Vicky’s husband, Bryan Smart, having been bought as a 2 year old at the breeze up sales for £65,000. He had 11 starts on the flat and all-weather and won one race before being gifted by his owners to Brian and Victoria’s daughter, Beth. Vicky took on his retraining from racehorse to show horse but he still lives on the yard where he was trained at Hambledon House near Thirsk. Chivola is no stranger to HOYS, having finished 6th in the 2011 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship with Vicky. He was Champion at the Tattersalls RoR Championship at the RIHS in 2010 and took 3rd place there in 2011. He also won the ex-racehorse class at the Great Yorkshire show for the second year running in 2011. “He had a quiet year last year after he had a virus in March, and we concentrated on Roger’s Revenge [winner of the 2012 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse HOYS Championship] and our daughter Beth’s ponies”, said Vicky. “He goes out in the field every night and he is really chilled. Beth is now old enough to ride him in intermediates and won on him in the Intermediate show riding type at Ingleston in Scotland. She will be able to ride him in open hacks and racehorse classes next year”, said Vicky. “He is also learning to jump – he seems to like jumping and I would like to have a go at Working Show Horse classes to give him some variety. At home I have to avoid the racehorses so he doesn’t get wound up, and he is turned out with a Connemara pony which is really good for him. I am over the moon that we have qualified, he is such a diva, it is what makes him so special and I am really looking forward to HOYS”.

Second place went to King of Barbury, known as “Barby”, ridden by Claire Herrington of Burford, glos. He is owned by Miss Bodycote, who had owned him since he was a 4 year old and while he was in training with Alan King. He won over hurdles and was placed in a bumper before retiring from racing as an 8 year old. “He then went eventing and competed up to novice level, before coming to me when he was 13 years old”, said Claire. “We did 1 class last year but did not qualify, but we have done team chasing and ex-racehorse challenge classes. He can do anything and his favourite thing is to go on the gallops”, she said. Claire has ridden all her life and has had 2 other ex-racehorse that have competed in the ex-racehorse challenge competitions. As well as competing her own horses she runs a livery yard and does some pre-race training, has trained point to point and hunter chase racehorses. “It was the ex-racehorses that got me back into showing”, explained Claire, who had previously worked for show producers including David Tatlow and ridden out for various racehorse trainers before starting her own yard. Claire and Barby will do more shows, including Herts County, 3 counties and the ROR final at Hickstead before heading to HOYS.

Ride judge, David Ingle, said, “The standard just keeps getting better and the amateurs are really strong in this class. I was really impressed with the condition, these horses all looked really well which is not easy with thoroughbreds after the winter we have had. There were some stunning looking horses and their condition is something to be proud of”.