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1st, Barbers Shop, owned by H M. The Queen and ridden by Katie Jerram of Aythorpe Roding, Essex

2nd, New Team, owned and ridden by Claire Blackham of Kingsbridge, Devon



The 2013 South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse series got off to a damp and chilly start at Osbaldeston Equestrian Centre in Lancashire on 28 April, but the standard was superb and a good entry competed for the chance to attend The Horse Of The Year Show finals, to be held at the NEC Birmingham in October. There was a brilliant atmosphere that even the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of competitors. The judges, Jean Wright (conformation) and Nicky Gill (ride) had their work cut out.

With 28 entries coming forward the class was split into two groups for the preliminary judging and the quality and behaviour of the horses was excellent. When the final results were called, first place went to Katie Jerram with HM The Queen’s Barbers Shop, who put in an exemplary performance and had manners to burn, giving Nicky Gill a super ride. Barber’s Shop was sent to Katie 6 months ago, after a successful career on the flat, hurdles and over fences with trainer Nicky Henderson. “He is a big horse with a large frame and I did not know if would be ready to come out in the show ring this season, but he absolutely loves it, he is a true showman”, said Katie. “Looking forward, I hope he will go on to do Ladies side saddle classes, but this season our focus in on the ROR and Racehorse to Riding Horse classes. The Queen was informed of his win as soon as we came out and she is delighted. She is such a supporter and this horse means a lot to her as he was bred by the Queen Mother and was born the year she died”, Katie explained, adding, “I am the luckiest person in the world to be asked to retrain him!”. Barbers Shop will parade at Ascot as part of the ROR parade, and is aimed at Royal Welsh, the Tattersalls ROR Championship at Hickstead and the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse class at Burghley Horse Trials before heading to HOYS.

Second place went to New Team, owned and ridden by Claire Blackman. Claire was given the 12 year old chestnut gelding as a 30th birthday present. She had previously won the SFAS Hack class with her other ex-racehorse, Barella, who is now retired, so New Team is her new project. This was only his 4th show having previously been to two local shows and Ponies UK West Midlands at Malvern where he won the ROR Hickstead qualifier and the amateur Riding Horse. “We were pulled in top in the RIHS Riding Horse qualifier but the snow got the better of him and we dropped down”, said Claire. New Team came from France where he raced 5 times and won before coming to the UK where he was in training with Tina Porter and raced in NH races and had two wins out of 14 runs. Claire got him to show and he is a sweetheart at home. “Mum can bring him in from the field, he is really good. He was good today – he seems to prefer indoor shows”. The pair will go to Hickstead ROR final, and keep trying for a RIHS Riding Horse ticket. Claire also has a youngster that won BSH in hand championship last year and will come out as small hack this year. Her partner, Duncan Langman, is a farrier and Claire is a Clinical Teaching Fellow at the University of Bristol, and they fit in looking after the horses together around work. “Mum and dad are fantastic and help at home and often we are riding at 8 or 9 at night under lights”, said Claire. They are both clearly dedicated to their horses having travelled for 6.5 hours from South Devon to compete at Osbaldeston. “It was worth it,” said Claire. She plans to do the ROR class at Windsor and the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse at Burghley, as well as Devon County and Royal Cornwall before heading to HOYS.

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 standard of the Racehorse to Riding Horse classes is just getting better and better and it is wonderful to see how, with time and patience, these horses can be retrained to go on into another career after racing”, said SEIB Marketing Manager, Nicolina MacKenzie.

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship and Search For A Star Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, 9th – 13th October 2013, at NEC, Birmingham. The winner of the Championship will go forward to the Supreme Horse of the Year judging on Sunday evening at HOYS.