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1st, Dotty’s Brother, owned and ridden by Nick Crook of Bolton
2nd, Double Brandy, owned and ridden by Louise Marden of Worcester


The 2012 South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship saw another hotly contended qualifier at Vale View, Lincolnshire, on Saturday 28th July where a large entry competed for the chance to attend The Horse of the Year Show finals, held at the NEC Birmingham in October.
The racehorse class proved to be very popular and was split into three groups for judging by Liz Morley, Jane Hubbard and David Ingle. “There were some lovely horses and one or two of the more experienced were a bit naughty, so it was not their day today”, said Liz. “They have got to have manners. I had some very nice rides and the horses were well schooled and nicely produced” added Jane, “Nothing rides quite like a thoroughbred. Just the movement and type, you can’t beat them. Each year people are upping their game, and the amateurs are doing well”.

First place went to Dotty’s Brother, known as Bailey, owned and ridden by Nick Crook, 21, from Bolton. Nick bought the six year old chestnut gelding two years ago from Liz Cross. Liz had bought Bailey out of racing and started retraining him. “He is my first horse. When I got him he was quite difficult and staying on was a challenge. I had many trips to hospital, including a broken collar bone”, said Nick, who has only been riding for 3 years. He took up riding when his partner, Saman Sheibani, a dressage rider, put him on a horse and challenged him to stay on. He kept practicing and when he heard that Bailey was for sale he wanted him “because he was local and cheap! He has taught me everything, not just how to stay on but also how to retrain him. I learned how to walk, trot and canter and the rest I have figured out for myself”, says the 21 year old who works as a groom in a show jumping yard. “There have been more downs than ups, but it has been worth it”. Their achievement is all the more remarkable as Nick was unable to ride Bailey for the first 6 months of this year. “I work for a show jumper and we went out to Germany for a show, and from there I had to go straight on to the tour in Spain. Bailey has only been back in work for 2 months”, he explained. Making the most of this time they have been to some local shows, but Vale View was only Baileys 4th show this year. “We missed the qualifier at Osbaldeston, so this was our one chance to pull it off and we did not blow it!”. The pair will now do a few more shows and have some lessons in preparation for HOYS.

Second place went to Louise Marden from Worcester, riding her own Double Brandy, known as Flo. Louise works in racing doing freelance clipping and has known the eight year old grey mare since she was a three year old. When she got the opportunity to buy her she jumped at the chance. “We do show jumping and dressage as well as fun rides. She does everything and is just easy to do”, says Louise. The pair qualified for the Horse of the Year Show Racehorse to Riding Horse Final in 2010 but last year they were 3rd at the qualifier and did not get through. They were also 3rd in the final of the Retraining of Racehorses class at Hickstead this year. The pair have started doing Open hack classes and qualified for the Royal International Horse Show. “It is another class to go on to. I still keep in touch with the trainer and they have a picture of Flo in the tack room”, said Louise. “Flo has a holiday over the winter and I work really hard so that we can both have a bit of fun in the summertime.”

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.

Nick Crook and Dotty’s Brother

Spillers gave prizes to the first and second in this class.

Absorbine grooming products have long been associated with impeccable turnout, particularly in the show ring, and they were pleased to give a bottle of ShowSheen 2-in-1 Shampoo or ShowSheen Stain Remover and Whitener to the first and second place in this class. Their ShowSheen hair polish and detangler is renowned and this brand has recently been expanded to include the shampoo and stain remover.

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, 3rd – 7th October 2012, at NEC, Birmingham. The winner of the Championship will go forward to the Supreme Horse of the Year judging on Sunday evening at HOYS for the first time this year.