The second qualifier of the 2015 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse series took place on the 10th May at Houghton Hall Equestrian Centre in Cambridgeshire. The nineteen entries were judged by Jeanetta LaFour (conformation) and Georgina Maywood (ride). Jeanetta commented, “It was a strong class with some beautiful horses and we would have liked to be able to put more forward than just the first two”. The class was divided and when the top horses came back in the ring, both Jeanetta and Georgina were unanimous in their winner.
The honours went to Paul Rackham’s thirteen year old bay gelding, Bridgham ridden by Sofia Scott. A former runner up in this class at HOYS in 2011, Bridgham has been competing in Lightweight Hunter classes with Oliver Hood for the past few seasons. Sophia who is based at Oliver’s yard in Diss, Norfolk, said, “This season Oliver and I have done a swap. I will ride Bridgham and Oliver will ride my horse. Bridgham is a wonderful horse and really loves his showing, I am delighted to be going to HOYS with him”. The pair plan to head to the racehorse class at Hickstead next month and will also compete in sidesaddle classes.
In his racing days, Bridgham who is by leading thoroughbred stallion, Fourstars Allstar, was in training with Nigel Bloom and ran in 6 point to points until he retired from the track in 2009, he was placed three times in all. Oliver Hood said “Bridgham is a lovely horse and as genuine as they come, he is fantastic to ride”.
Georgina Maywood, the ride judge at Houghton commented, “Our winner of the class looked through the bridle, loved his job and was a pleasure to ride”.
Taking the runner up spot in the Racehorse class at Houghton was another former HOYS finalist; Donna Bamonte from Devon, with her own Valentine Jak. This is the third time that Valentine Jak has qualified for HOYS. He qualified in 2012 and didn’t go to the finals and then in 2014, he and Donna took 5th place at HOYS. Donna said, “He is an absolute showman, he really knows his job now and enjoys it. It is brilliant that he has qualified for HOYS again. In addition to HOYS, we are also planning to compete in the ladies sidesaddle class at Devon County and we will also go to the Hickstead racehorse class. Jak is wonderful and he will stay with me forever”.
1st Bridgham, owned by Paul Rackham and ridden by Sofia Scott of Diss, Norfolk
2nd Valentine Jak, owned and ridden by Donna Bamonte of Cullompton, Devon