Bridgham Takes 2015 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Title
The International Arena at Horse of the Year Show played host to the cream of the country’s former racehorses that have been retrained for the show ring for the 2015 SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship. The 12 finalists behaved impeccably with manners to burn as they vied for the coveted title, which was clinched by the elegant bay, Bridgham, owned by Paul Rackham and ridden by Sofia Scott, with reserve going to Helen Newbold with Tycoons Reflection.
Bridgham gave judge, David Froggatt, a super ride and showed outstanding manners and quality to take the top spot in fine style. Trained by Nigel Bloom, he ran in 6 point to points and was placed 3 times before he retired from the track in 2009. A former runner up in this class in 2011, Bridgham has been competing in Lightweight hunter classes with Oliver Hood for the past few seasons. Sofia is based at the Hood family’s yard in Norfolk and was looking for a horse to do Ladies classes. “I worked in Bridgham for Oliver at a show last year and really liked him. Alastair suggested we have a go at Ladies classes with him, so we have really been focussing on that”, said Sofia, who has swapped rides this year with Oliver and he is now riding Sofia’s former RIHS amateur winning LW hunter, Patrician. “Bridgham is my absolute favourite, he is such a sweetheart and tries to give 100% all the time”, she said. The pair won the Ladies at Edenbridge this year and plan to do more Ladies classes next season. “He loves it, and has such a super temperament”, added Sofia.
Helen Newbold produced Tycoons Reflection beautifully to take the runner up spot. By Definite Article, Tycoon is a half brother to Helen’s former SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse Champion, Deep Reflection, and were both bred by Mrs C Bailey out of Tudor Thyne. “When the breeder emailed to ask if I would like him, I could not say no”, explained Helen. “We have spent some time allowing him to get stronger but he is an absolute gentleman”. The 10 year old bay gelding ran 7 times during his racing career, trained by Henrietta Knight and latterly by Mick Channon, but Helen says “he was too polite”. He has tasted success since turning to the show ring, taking the Champion Hunter title at his first show at Aintree last season. He also qualified for the Royal International Horse Show as a light weight hunter, and for the Retraining of Racehorses final at Hickstead. “He is so similar to Chunky (Deep Reflection). They stand next to each other in the yard and he is just a bit bigger. And they look very similar – they are both dark bay and don’t have a white hair between them. Chunky is such a hard act to follow but he is just amazing”, said Helen.
The twelve finalists came before judges, David Froggatt (ride) and Jayne Hall (conformation), who agreed that the standard was very high. “It was hard to choose, they were all so well behaved. Not one of them did anything wrong, they were really nice”, said David. “In this class you have horses of different stamps, which makes it harder to categorize them. The riding horses have to ride like riding horses, or hunters or hacks, which makes it a lot to take in. But the hunter types really did ride like hunters, and the hack gave a lovely ride – beautifully behaved and very mannerly”, he added. Jayne agreed, “They were all so beautifully behaved and well retrained, it was a real joy to judge. The top horses would not disgrace any open class, and when the lights went down and we watched our winner move so beautifully on the lap of honour we agreed we had got it right!”
The SEIB Racehorse to Riding Horse series was instigated by SEIB to support the retraining of racehorses and to provide a platform to show how a correctly re-schooled racehorse can become a top class show horse. All the horses in this class must have raced, and may be produced for the show ring by amateur or professional riders.
SEIB Insurance Brokers have been providing equestrian insurance for over five decades and are major players in equestrian insurance. With over 50 years of experience in specialist equestrian insurance services, SEIB offer a full range of insurance cover for the equestrian world, including horses and ponies, horseboxes and trailers, vehicles, premises and personal insurance.
For more information on SEIB Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse, visit www.racehorse2ridinghorse.co.uk or www.seib.co.uk and register in the SEIB Horse Hive to be among the first to receive details of qualifying dates and venues for 2016. Follow us on facebook at www.facebook.com/SEIB.R2R
1st Bridgham, owned by Paul Rackham and ridden by Sofia Scott from Norfolk
2nd Tycoons Reflection, owned and ridden by Helen Newbold from Buckinghamshire
3rd Barbers Shop, owned by HM The Queen and ridden by Katie Jerram from Essex
4th Valentine Jak, owned and ridden by Donna Bamonte from Devon
5th Just Blue, owned by William Stroud and ridden by Annie Rimell from Oxfordshire
6th Wild West, owned and ridden by Lizzie Harris from Leicestershire
7th Clonard Lad, owned by Rebecca O’Neil and ridden by Paul Langrick from North Yorkshire
8th Buckingham Boys, owned and ridden by Clare Poole
9th Beware Chalk Pit, owned by Ann Leaftley and ridden by Justine Armstrong-Small from Essex