A bright but blustery day greeted competitors at Stretcholt Equestrian Centre on Sunday 21st June for the SEIB Search for a Star and SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse HOYS qualifiers. This is the first time the venue has hosted these qualifiers and the facilities were excellent, as were the number of entries and quality of horses coming forward.
The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse judges, Jonathan Geake, conformation, and David Bartram, ride, had a superb entry of 32 horses before them. They were split into three sections for preliminary judging, with the top horses in each section coming back for the final placings. First place went to Clare Poole, with the lovely Buckingham Boys, a 13 year old bay gelding, by Terimon out of No Bloomers. Buckingham Boys was in training with Paul Webber under rules, and then went to Claudia and Mark Wilesmith who trained him for point to points. He won his last race, the Open Maiden Point to Point at Maisemore, Gloucestershire in April 2010. He went to Clare in May of that year and they started showing, qualifying for HOYS in SEIB Search for a Star as a hunter. In 2012 Buckingham Boys stood Reserve Champion at the TARA final held at Equifest. The pair have competed at Windsor in the ROR showing class and the ROR Challenge classes, and qualified for the finals at Hickstead. In 2014 they qualified for the SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse HOYS Championship and finished 3rd in the finals at HOYS. They also qualified in the Ladies Hunter at the New Forest show and did the Ladies championship at HOYS. “I really enjoyed doing the ladies class for the first time, it is so elegant and felt really fab!” said Clare. “I borrowed a side saddle to start with and the lady brought out about 13 saddles for me to try. We put one on that fitted ok and she just said off you go, walk trot and canter and see what you think. I had never sat on one before but she said you’ll be fine just get going!” Clare also organises a number of ex-racehorse activities in her area, including a showing clinic with Jo Bates. “Jo has helped me a lot, we really clicked”, said Clare. She plans to do more Ladies classes, and will also do the ROR Challenge again this year with Buckingham Boys, who is appropriately named “Lovely” at home. Clare also has another ex-racehorse, Word of Warning, known as “Smokey”, and plans to take them both to the Aintree National Showing Show. “It suits Lovely not to do too much early on, so now that he has qualified, I will bring Smokey to the next Racehorse to Riding Horse qualifier”, she said.
Jo bates took second place on her exciting new ex-racehorse, Sinnbad, a 10 year old by Sinndar (IRE) out of Funny Girl, owned by Serena Leckie. He was in training with Mark Johnston and did not shine in his one start on the flat. Since then he has evented and competed in dressage with Serena and is now embarking on a showing career. Jo said “He arrived with us in April and we have been schooling him to get him ready for the show ring”. His first outing was the BSHA Southern spring show where he won the novice ROR and then went on to win the open ROR and qualified for Hickstead out of a field of 16. He then took 2nd at Royal Windsor Horse Show in the retrained flat racehorse class. “I am absolutely thrilled that he has now qualified for HOYS at only his third ever show. It is very exciting to have an ex-racehorse to contend these classes and he will hopefully go on to do open hack classes”, said a delighted Jo.
1st Buckingham Boys, owned and ridden by Clare Poole
2nd Sinnbad, owned by Serena Leckie and ridden by Jo Bates