Show hunter pony takes GB’s equine star-search title

 SEIB Search For A Star champion Mathemadam Royal Ensign, owned by Janine Milner and ridden by Morgan Milner.
SEIB Search For A Star champion Mathemadam Royal Ensign, owned by Janine Milner and ridden by Morgan Milner. © Real Time Imaging

It turned out a day for the boys as the champions of the South Essex Insurance Brokers 2013 Search For A Star series were announced at the Horse of the Year show.

The series reached a thrilling climax in the International Arena at the show in Birmingham earlier this month when 12-year-old Morgan Milner from North Lincolnshire rode the lovely show hunter pony, Mathemadam Royal Ensign to take the title. And in reserve spot was 16-year-old William Morton from Derbyshire riding the cob, Woodfield Choice.

The SEIB Search For A Star Finals have become one of the most popular attractions at HOYS and represents a dream come true for those who have qualified for the six classes. The Championship is the culmination of the week’s Search For A Star finals and the atmosphere was electric as the winners entered the International Arena to find out who would reign supreme.

Morgan and Mathemadam Royal Ensign, owned by his mother, Janine Milner, rose to the occasion and rode an immaculate show before the judges, Robert and Clare Oliver and Katie Jerram.

“This is a lovely pony with good paces, a proper hunter type,” Robert Oliver said.

Morgan and his pony, known as “Flag”, had trained hard for the championship after Morgan had a fall at Equifest when the pony disliked the applause.

“He really did not like the clapping and we had to do something about it, so we hired the school at Bishop Burton College and got all our friends and family to come along and we did lots of clapping training,” Janine said.

“He is really laid back most of the time but the atmosphere can get to him and he was really on his toes for the first exercise session. This really is the most brilliant series and we have gained so much from it.”

Morgan was delighted with their win. “It is amazing, I was so surprised. He is just really good now”, said Morgan, a pupil at the Oasis Academy at Immingham, NE Lincolnshire.

Reserve spot went to the impressive cob, Woodfield Choice, ridden by 16 year old William Morton and owned by his mother, Alison Morton. First to do their individual show, they showed good paces and did not put a foot wrong. Known as Cobba, the 7 year old gelding was bought three years ago as Alison’s hunter. He is a proper family horse has attended adult camp with Alison, does dressage with William’s sister, Lucy, and regularly hunts with the Barlow, often helping up front with William. The family are beef farmers on a hill farm in Derbyshire and “Cobba” does most of his schooling while out hacking or in one of the very few flat fields on the farm.

He was notorious for a different reason at the Newark and Notts show three years ago when he was stolen off the back of the lorry, causing the showground to be put on lockdown until he was found in one of the old stables.

The pair enjoy doing workers and were the highest placed cob in the working show horse class at BSHA show at Addington this year, but they have done very few show classes. William confesses that all he ever wanted was to ride at HOYS. “It was more wild than I expected, a great atmosphere, but I knew he would cope with it,” said William, who is studying and wants to become an equine dentist.

Judge Katie Jerram said of Woodfield Choice: “I really like him. He looked small in his class, but there were a number of maxi cobs and when you stand into him he is not that small at all, and he is oozing quality.”

Other sections

The Riding Horse/Hack final on Thursday produced two lovely winners. Julie Devey of Alcester, Warwickshire, took the Riding Horse title with her own dun gelding, Bally Dun Again. Known as Oliver at home, the lovely 10 year old is by the Connemara stallion, Templebreedy Fea Bui, out of an ID x TB mare.

The winning Hack was Touch Ov Hawkesbury, owned and ridden by Melissa Barnett, 22, from Manchester. Micky, as he is known, was bred by Sue Chappell, by Comberton Cadet out of a thoroughbred cross mare. Melissa has owned the 5 year old for 2 years, and bought him from the breeder.

Amy Dixon took the Riding Club Show Horse title with her lovely grey, Tuesday Cruising. Amy, 29, from Kendal, Cumbria, bought the 8 year old mare 2 years ago to replace her event horse on which she won the 2009 SEIB Riding Club Horse Trials at Offchurch and the inaugural Badminton Grassroots in 2010 and is now doing dressage.

An immaculate jumping performance saw the mannerly Tintio A, owned and ridden by Richard Nichol, take the working hunter title. The course caused three horses to fault but produced seven clears for the judges to sort out. Richard, from Carlisle, Cumbria, bought Tintio A as a project from Lydia Scott in January and the pair have done mainly show jumping.

There was drama in the Cob class when Rebecca Williams’ coloured cob, Smudge, blotted his copy book when he played up after being pulled in second and had to be demoted, promoting Melanie Pritchard and Athones Champion up into second place, behind Woodfield Choice. “It is so disappointing to lose a horse during the prize giving and I felt very sorry for the rider, but we have to remember that manners are paramount in showing. We have all had it happen and I hope it doesn’t put them off – they should learn from it, work hard and it will be worth all the time and effort to bring them back again”, said Katie Jerram.

The winning Show Pony was Brookwater Tomboy, owned by Naomi and Yana Jackman and ridden by Yana. They have owned the pony for 4 years and Thomas, as he is known, can turn his hoof to hacking and jumping as well as showing.

The Show Hunter title went to the impressive Magic Moments, bred, owned and ridden by Louise Jones.  The 6 year old chestnut is by Cameos Reflection out of Louise’s own mare is known as Ed.



Mathemadam Royal Ensign, owned by Janine Milner and ridden by Morgan Milner

Reserve Champion:
Woodfield Choice, owned by Alison Morton and ridden by William Morton

1st, Bally Dun Again (Riding Horse), owned and ridden by Julie Devey
1st, Touch Ov Hawkesbury (Hack), owned and ridden by Melissa Barnett
2nd, Poppy, owned and ridden by Rebecca Jones
3rd, Pebbly Editor, owned and ridden by Emma Jones
4th, Sporting Dickens, owned and ridden by Molly Tucker
5th, Morandi, owned by Mrs Ann Noble and ridden by Hazel Noble


1st, Tuesday Cruising, owned and ridden by Amy Dixon
2nd, Sportfield Suir Thing, owned and ridden by Maureen Aspinall
3rd, Sambuca B, owned and ridden by Natalie Barlow
4th, Briardale Solidarity, owned by Avril Russell and ridden by Beth Russell
5th, Irish Lola Rose, owned by Donna Studholme and ridden by Yasmin Studholme


1st, Tintio A, owned and ridden by Richard Nichol
2nd, La Chica De Rosa, owned and ridden by Tracey Sharp
3rd, Hen Efail Rico, owned and ridden by Jacqueline Clayton
4th, Vasco, owned and ridden by Emma McPhail
5th, Dream Breaker, owned and ridden by Cindie Bunce


1st, Woodfield Choice, owned by Alison Morton and ridden by William Morton
2nd, Athlones Champion, owned by Dr John Outhwaite and ridden by Mrs Melanie Pritchard
3rd, Cowboy Magic, owned and ridden by Tricia Cole
4th, Fosters Boy, owned and ridden by Melanie Lawless
5th, Heatherdale Saraid, owned and ridden by Kay Ainsworth


1st Show Pony, Brookwater Tomboy, owned and ridden by Yana Jackman
1st Show Hunter Pony, Mathemadam Royal Ensign, owned by Janine Milner and ridden by Morgan Milner
2nd, Fairley Katrina, owned by Mr & Mrs Wilkinson and ridden by Jazzmin Wilkinson
3rd, Jolaikes Diamond Cluster, owned by Kim Taylor and ridden by Amy Taylor
4th, Fielden Rumba, owned by Maria Hancox and ridden by Sammi Hancox
5th, Stanley Grange Regal Request, owned by Monique Drabble and ridden by eve Duggan


1st, Magic Moments, owned and ridden by Louise Jones
2nd, Brookpark Sovereign, owned and ridden by Tanya Norlander
3rd, Palindromic, owned and ridden by Lucy Penrose
4th, Knighthood, owned and ridden by Anne Hebron
5th, Top O’ The Morning, owned and ridden by James Robertson

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