Grandeur wins Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship

It is always exciting to see a line-up of top-quality ex-racehorses who have swapped the track for the arena at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). This time it was an ex-racer with 10 race victories and just under £600,000 of winnings, which showed that a successful change of career is entirely achievable.

Yvonne Jacque’s 10-year-old grey gelding Grandeur came to showing producer Jo Bates just six months after finishing his racing career as a six-year-old. It was third time lucky for the pair after they claimed the title, having been placed twice before in this class at HOYS.

Yvonne has owned ‘Grandy’ since a two-year-old, and he was race trained by Jeremy Noseda. He is now thriving in his showing career with Jo, having been placed third in the Hack of the Year last year, which he will contest again this year at HOYS.

Grandeur, winner of the Racehorse to Riding Horse Championship. Photo:

“What a star!” exclaimed Jo as she left the Andrews Bowen International Arena. “He was totally with me today and relished the big occasion.”

Jo said it is Grandeur’s intelligence which has made him so successful in the show ring. She said they have “travelled a long, hard road together” but he is “a very special horse.”

In second place was Lizzie Harris riding her own Lough Inch.

Sponsors, leading equine insurance brokers, SEIB Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more. The company has a long association with the showing world and is renowned for ‘putting something back’ by supporting many grassroots equestrian events and activities.

For full details, rules and entry forms visit and click through to the RDA section. Find SEIB Search for a Star on Facebook at:

New sponsor for British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship

With just one week to go before the start of Horse of the Year Show 2019, it has been announced that Kim and Joseph McNeil will be sponsoring the British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship.

The mother and son duo are a home produced showing team that have been extremely successful in the show ring and have competed at HOYS for many years.

Now renamed the McNeil Family British Ridden Heavy Horse Championship, this class was only introduced to the HOYS programme a few years ago and has gone from strength to strength. With only 11 qualifying positions on offer, there is always strong competition between the Shires, Clydesdales, Suffolk and Percheron breeds that are eligible to compete for this prestigious championship.

The British Ridden Heavy Horse Championhip at HOYS  attracts top competitors Photo:HOYS


On behalf of the McNeil Family, Kim commented: “Joseph and I are extremely proud to sponsor the British Ridden Heavy Horse class at HOYS.

“The heavy horse is the true workman of the equine family and is a magnificent animal. As competitors in many different classes across the showing world there is no better feeling than qualifying and competing at HOYS.

“Seeing the joy that it brings to us as a family and fellow competitors is truly wonderful. Through our sponsorship we see it as a way of giving something back to the sport that we love so much and enjoy year after year.”

Event Director Emma Williams commented: “We are extremely grateful to Kim and Joseph for their support in sponsoring this incredibly competitive class.  The heavy horses are a significant part of our country’s heritage and to have them so well supported on such a large stage is great for the lifeline of these breeds. I look forward to welcoming the McNeil Family to the show next week.”

Horse of the Year Show takes place this year from October 2 – 6  at the Resorts World Arena, the NEC Birmingham for another year of breathtaking displays and unbeatable competition.

Weekday tickets are Gold Tickets, meaning that they allow you full access to the show for the full day; that’s over 16 hours of equestrian entertainment at its best with prices starting from £34.00. Visit or call the Box Office on 0844 581 8282.

AJA Giuliano wins Purebred Arab Championship

Clare Fitch barely had time to celebrate her win in the Simon Constable Equine Vets and Mr & Mrs Roberts Ridden Purebred Arab of the Year Championship, before hopping on board her Welsh section D for the next class in the TopSpec Arena on day one of Horse of the Year Show (HOYS).

But no busy schedule could hide her sheer delight – and she punched the air as her ride AJA Giuliano was called forward to take the honours.

Whilst it was a first HOYS win for Susan Robinson’s grey gelding, Clare is no stranger to the ring, having taken the same title last year with another Arab she produced, Mirv.

Supreme Champion of the purebred Arab Championship at HOYS  AJA Giuliano Photo:  1st Class Images


It’s been a great first open season for the six-year-old AJA Giuliano who also stood Supreme Champion at the British Arabian Championships and qualified for HOYS on his third attempt,  standing reserve champion twice before clinching his golden ticket – third time lucky!

“It’s amazing!” exclaimed Clare. “We’ve had him since a yearling and showed him in hand as a youngster up until he was three. He competed last year as a novice.”

This talented horse has been in dressage training this year and will continue with his dressage over the winter. No doubt he has a very bright future ahead of him. In the meantime, sights will first be set on the Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year Championship on Sunday!

Another six-year-old headed the final line up in this Championship; Signet, owned and bred by Judith Powell, took the runner up spot with Louisa Biles in the saddle.


Judges for HOYS chosen

With just days to go until Horse of the Year Show, the suspense has been building to find out who will be judging this year’s showing Supreme Championships ahead of the Gala Evening Finale on the Sunday evening. The Show takes place at Birmingham’s NEC Genting Arena from October 3-7.
 Throughout the week at HOYS, 30 Championships cover the most popular of British breeds and types, and then the respective champions go forward to contest the Show’s most respected Supreme of Show titles. Tens of thousands of competitors set out each year to gain a coveted finalist place for HOYS, contesting the HOYS qualifiers which are held around the country.
This year, the highly respected Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year Championship and the Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year Championship will be judged by Mr Jeff Osborne and Mr Mark Tamplin.

Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year Champion in 2017
Photo; 1st Class Images

Mark, a well-known producer of Welsh ponies and Jeff, who has been a keen supporter of the show for over 30 years both as a sponsor and as a showing and scurry competitor, will have the difficult yet honourable job of deciding who this year’s Supreme Champions will be.
Last year’s deserved recipients of the Ruckleigh School Supreme Pony of the Year Championship and the Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year Championship were Sharn Linney’s Thistledown Van Der Vaart and Diamonds Are Forever III ridden by Oliver Hood.
See first-hand who this year’s champions will be by securing your seat in the Andrews Bowen International Arena for the Sunday evening performance. 
This year there is a special platinum jubilee package which offers a discounted all day Sunday ticket so buyers can make a full day of it, including watching the Supreme preliminary judging in the TopSpec Arena in the daytime. 
For more information and to buy tickets visit or call the Box Office 0844 581 8282.

Diamonds Are For Ever- second Hickstead win

The British Horse Society Supreme Horse Championship at Hickstead went to Diamonds Are Forever for the second year in a row.

Twelve months ago, show producer Allister Hood took the title, and this year it was son Oliver who piloted Annabel Jenks’ nine-year-old gelding to take the overall honours.

Diamonds Are Forever picked up his supreme championship ticket in Friday’s Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Riding Horse Championship. He has now been crowned champion Riding Horse for three years running, as well as twice winning overall supreme.

The three judges – Badminton Horse Trials 1990 winner Nicky Coe, former show producer Jane Crofts and Adrian Charley, owner of Townfields Saddlery – awarded Diamonds Are Forever 29 out of 30 to put them top.

Oliver Hood and Diamonds Are Forever Photo copyright: Sian Hayden

“He’s a once in a lifetime horse, and we’re enjoying every minute with him,” said Oliver. “He’s really at his best when there’s a big crowd and he just goes up another gear.”

The Hoods are now hoping he will become the first horse to win the Supreme three times in a row. “He’s always an exciting horse to bring out, without question we’ll be aiming to come back and win again next year,” Oliver added.

In reserve with 28 points was Robert Walker and Jill Day’s Saracen Horse Feeds Supreme Hunter champion, View Point.

The De La Hey Family Supreme Pony Championship then followed, and this time it was Melanie Stanford’s Highland stallion Benbreac of Croila who took top spot, with Matthew Cooper riding.

Benbreac of Croila, the winner of the BSPS Heritage Mountain and Moorland victor, and Moluccas Bengal Beauty, the Leeman Family BSPS Supreme Show Pony Champion, both finished on 25 points so had to ‘ride off’ for the title.

In the end, the 11-year-old Highland’s rousing gallop got him the nod from the judges. “He’s an absolute pony of a lifetime, and we bought him unhandled straight from the hillside in Scotland,” said Gemma Stanford, who is the BHS Director of Horse Welfare and the daughter of the pony’s owner. “He’s had an incredible in-hand career and now he’s having an incredible ridden career too. He’s a working stallion and his offspring are now starting to show with great results. He’s like a Thoroughbred in a Highland’s body.”

The supreme championships brought six days of showing at the BHS Royal International Horse Show to a close. The event is the most prestigious showing competition of the outdoor season, with thousands of horses and ponies competing throughout the year with the aim of collecting a qualifying ticket to compete at Hickstead.

Marshall family’s stallion set for HOYS again

A  10-year-old stallion, Wintersend Nimbus, bought six years ago by the Marshall family from  Washington, is continuing his outstanding run of success and continues to impress.

Owned by Paul and Katie Marshall and their daughter Abby, this season he has qualified for the Horse of the Year Show for the fourth time, and Royal International Horse Show which is held at Hickstead ,  following yet more top class performances.

Since the family bought him from breeder Diana Drake in Hampshire six years ago, he has successfully combined competing with stallion duties.

Katie said:”We saw an advert on a website and went to see him when we were staying in the New Forest on holiday. He was running with mares and we bought him from his breeder Diane Drake, who still supports him.”

She added: ” It is a real family affair. Abby produces and rides him and Paul and myself are totally involved. We will never sell him.”

Abby Marshall and  Wintersend  Nimbus competing for the Marshall family at the Royal International Horse Show
Photo: Equitational

His breeding is Springbourne Caraway x Hope Nightingale by Cascob Silver Ghost.

Wintersend Nimbus has three offspring, one of which is Wintersend Mimosa who is palomino welsh A mare , who is competing successfully on the Showing Circut doing lead rein and first ridden with her six year old jockey.

 Ridden by Abby, Wintersend Nimbus hit the headlines when he first qualified for the Horse of the Year Show Mountain & Moorland ridden finals at Morton in the Marsh Show. There he joined his half brother, Springbourne Envoy (Springbourne Caraway x Springbourne Eirian) in the final , where Wintersend Nimbus gained a well deserved 5TH.

He has qualified for the Royal International Horse Show for five years, where he was 2nd in the open and 3rd in the Pretty polly Home produced class, Nimbus  was also second at Windsor in 2012 and third there in 2015.

 He also has won the prestigious Tag la liga  Award for the most consistent Welsh Section A pony in the country,

 Next year Wintersend Nimbus will carry on his duties as a stallion , this will give the Marshall family chance to compete their novice 6 year old Welsh B , Priestwood Spartacus.

Cakeham Stables’ popular shows

Deborah Basley continues to hold highly popular showing and jumping shows at her horse riding centre at Cakeham Stables, West Wittering,  in West Sussex. These shows are a continuing magnet for competitors of all aged and abilities.

They are supported by young and old alike, as well as the experienced and inexperienced, attracting good entries both in numbers taking part and quality of riders. Competitors are a mixture of those who have lessons with Deborah, those at livery at Cakeham and riders from the surrounding area.

Cakeham show champion Grace Cutting and Winnie, with judge Alison Parsons Photo: LRG Photography

Cakeham show champion Grace Cutting and Winnie, with judge Alison Parsons Photo: LRG Photography

The very well deserved Champion of the latest show was Grace Cutting riding Winnie. Grace was only a very small child on lead rein when LRG started photographing these events.

Sally Gee, of this locally-based family firm of equine photographers said: ” It is fantastic to see these children progress with their riding. Grace Cutting is an excellent example. We have seen her progress over the years from leading rein to the point where she is now on the way to becoming a very accomplished horsewoman.

Leo Basley and Charlie- first in the Thelwell class Photo: LRG Photography

Cakeham Show Champion Grace Cutting and Winnie, with judge Alison Parsons: Photo: LRG Photography

Cakeham show champion Grace Cutting and Winnie, with judge Alison Parsons Photo: LRG Photography

“It was also lovely to see both of Deborah’s boys,  Leo (five) and Samuel (18 months)  taking part in these shows. Leo was thrilled with his first place in the Thelwell type and Samuel was able to secure a fifth place in the Handsome Gelding before a very well earned sleep!” said Sally.

Samual Basley and laced in the Handsome Gelding Class Phptp: LRG Photography

Samuel Basley and  Charlie placed in the Handsome Gelding Class Photograph: LRG Photography

Judge for the day, who did an excellent job, was Alison Parsons

 Results for the latest show were: Prettiest mare 1 Grace Cutting- Winnie; 2 Kieran Parfoot- Rosie; 3 Lila Neave- Marble. Handsome Gelding- 1 Shannon Flower – Stanley; 2 Isla Cross – Owen; 3 Sophia Burchall – Hedgehog; 4 Leo Basley – Toby: 5 Samuel Basley- Charlie; 6 Connie Gunner – Pumpkin.Thelwell- 1 Leo Basley – Charlie; 2 Sophia Burchall- Hedgehog; 3 Jimmy Rooke – Toby; 4 Isla Cross- Owen; 5 Kieran Whitfield- Indie; 6 Connie Gunner – Pumpkin.

Riding pony/horse- 1 Isobel Oliver- Bumble; 2 Connie Gunner – Pumpkin; 3 Rosie Rooke – Maz; 4 Madeleine Bacon – Winnie; 5 Kieran Whitfield-Rosie; 6 Constance Stockman- Monty. Family Pony 1 Pumpkin- Connie Gunner and Shannon Flower; 2 Winnie and Grace Cutting and Madeleine Bacon; 3 Marble- Lila Neave and Rosie Rooke; 4 Bumble- Isobel Oliver and Sophia Burchall.

Miniature horse breeding success

CHICHESTER area amateur breeders of miniature horses, Alison and Roger Parsons, enjoyed prestigious success at the recent Horse of the Year Show. Their stallion Spotlight Bo Diddly culminated an excellent season by finishing second and competed in the championship event in the famous International arena in the evening performance.

This event was a well-deserved accolade for Spotlight Bo Diddly. He had competed in six of the 11 HOYS qualifiers and never finished worse than fourth place. He was second at Royal Windsor, third at Royal Bath and West, fourth at Royal Three Counties, third at Kent County.

Spotlights Bo Diddly Photo:

Spotlight Bo Diddly
Photo:Roger Parsons

He won and was Champion at The Showing Register and second and Reserve Champion at New Forest and Hampshire County Show.This latest performance meant he was the winner of the prestigious Tag La Ligga Award for consistency for all Miniature Horse Stallions.

“He also took the coveted Champion of Champions crown at the British Miniature Horse Society Breed Championships. This class is only open to horses who have won a championship at any affiliated show this season so the competition was very high,” said Alison.

She added: “He is a lovely boy who just loves his job, a real professional, who pricks his ears and demands you look at him as he enters the ring. He is nine years old so at his prime. He is now roughed off and in the field for a well earned winter rest. He will come back into work in mid February in preparation to do it all again next year. ”

Alison with miniatures Buttercup and Bambi Photo: Roger Parsons

Alison with miniatures Alamos Buttercup and Alamos Violet, known as Bambi
Photo: Roger Parsons

The move into miniature breeding came when Alison and Roger celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in 2007 and decided to do something different to celebrate- they aimed to become involved with miniature horses and to show them at top level.

They approached the chairman of the British Miniature Horse Society who was extremely helpful and they found their first filly, Alamos Buttercup, who became their foundation mare for breeding.

Buttercup went on to reach HOYS in 2009 and their first foal arrived in 2014, and is now a yearling. They have six miniatures altogether, with three mares, Bo Diddly, Bo’s little yearling daughter, a gelding and Seamist Starlight, who is developing nicely and they hope will follow in her father’s footsteps.

“The filly foal will be really good next year. She is by Spotlight Bo Diddly, and has a good attitude with all the assets of her sire, so we are hopeful for her future showing success. Another mare, Bubbles (nine) and officially known as Apollo’s Carolina Moon,is away at stud and hopefully in foal. We also aim to put Buttercup in foal next year,” said Alison, adding: ” We have six at the moment- they are very collectable!”

Golden Inca Cross at HOYS

WEST- Sussex-based Irish sport horse, Golden Inca Cross, exceeded all hopes of owner Julie Cooper when he finished in prestigious seventh place in the TopSpec Heavyweight Hunter of the Year final at HOYS on Saturday ridden by by Karl Standing.

During the judging he received an outstanding conformation mark, with only two points between him and the eventual winner, Rockefeller, owned by Joanne Singfield and ridden by Robert Walker.

Julie, of Slinfold, had returned to the equestrian world this season after a 20-year break, with the aim of finding a hunter that she could produce to win a Championship. She found Golden Inca Cross in Ireland and bought him.

Goldeb Inca and Karl Standing competing at HOYS

Golden Inca Cross and Karl Standing competing at HOYS


Partnered by Karl Standing, this impressive 17.2hh seven-year-old won the Alltech Hunters Class at the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead during the summer, qualifying for the Horse of the Year Show with that victory.  After that win,  Karl said: “Despite being a big horse, Inca is incredibly light on his feet and has a lot of talent and potential.”

More successes followed en route to HOYS, where Julie  said Karl was very calm and rode her horse superbly in the ring. She also praised judge Chris Gordon for his ride on her horse saying:” He just let him go, taking him at a slow pace and it was one of the best rides from a judge that I’ve seen all year. We had an absolute ball and the aim is to reach HOYS again next year and do even better. ”

 and Karl Standing with Golden Inca Cross

Julie Cooper and Karl Standing with Golden Inca Cross    Photo: Jeannie Knight

She added that Inca behaved impeccably throughout and that her group met a lot of his fans, as well as his former owner Judy Pearson, with whom they shared champagne and talked about Inca and another of Judy’s horses, Loughkeen Dancing Lord.

“We have had hundreds and good luck and congratulation messages and a few in the crowd were cheering him on, having met us at other horse shows. There were also a couple of people who had wanted to buy him- but I got there first when my husband, Royston, went to Ireland and bought him for me after I had seen a video of the horse,” she added.

Inca has accumulated a group of supporters, including Julie’s father, Charles Frankham, now 84, who had been involved with horses before here. He is a keen member of the team which travels with the horse wherever he competes- and HOYS had been the main target of the season. Julie’s husband, son, two daughter and granddaughter always go to see Inca perform.

Talking about her support team for Inca, Julie said:” I am sure Karl’s dressage training plays a valuable part in settling Inca in the ring. Also another key member of the team is James Robertson, Karl’s partner, who is groom at main shows and also drives the lorry.

“He always seems to have a calming effect on horse, rider and owner, and is usually best-turned out groom in the ring and is an accomplished  rider himself, having qualified for and ridden at HOYS.”

Julie added: ” Top HOYS competitor Katie Jerram, who has had prolific showing wins, was an enormous help before HOYS, when we needed another saddle because Inca had outgrown his. Katie had many placings in the Lightweight and Middle classes at the show.  We really appreciated her help.”

Looking ahead to 2016, Inca has already qualified for the 2016 Championship at Alexanders Horsebox National Supreme Hunter Championship at Stafford but HOYS will again be his main target.


RDA regional Warnham event

Carriage drivers from the Riding for the Disabled’s South East Region braved the torrential rain at Sands Farm, Warnham on Tuesday in the annual qualifying competition for the RDA National Championship in 2016.

Drivers from across Surrey, Sussex and Kent went head-to-head in the three combined disciplines of dressage, cones and obstacles. Only the top two places in the Open, Intermediate and Novice qualified.

The Carriage Driving Groups represented included East Sussex’s Heron’s Ghyll (Whitesmith) and Kipling County (Chalvington), Happy Landings from Horsham, West Sussex and Stella Hancock’s group from Worplesdon, Surrey.

In an exciting finish through the obstacle course, Amanda Hardy from Happy Landings drove a swift Serenade to a decisive win in the Novice class against her ‘stablemate’ Sally Jones driving Misty. In the Bertie Bassett Intermediate, only a handful of points separated winner Lee Chivers and Dennis of Kipling County from Sarah Pain driving Eddie from Stella Hancock’s Group .

Sarah Pain with Eddie of Stella Hancock RDA tackles the cones Photo: Joanna Sale

Sarah Pain with Eddie of Stella Hancock RDA tackles the cones Photo: Joanna Sale

The Open was won by last year’s intermediate winner, Joanne McNicoll of Kipling County driving Dennis, comfortably leading all the way in each discipline while Tracey Spencer recovered from fifth after the dressage to finish in second place.

In the Assisted Whips Class points were close again between Chris Collins in first place and Lorraine Mercer in second, both of whom were driving Bertie Bassett and both from Heron’s Ghyll.

Sarah Goad from Regional Sponsors, Cowan Architects, presented the awards. She was impressed by the speed and agility needed from the carriage drivers in the three disciplines. “This has been really inspirational to see the skill and dexterity required from these incredible drivers. I’ve been amazed today” she commented at the end of the day.

Chairman of the RDA South East Region, Lindsay Correa gave thanks to the hard work of the team behind the scenes in putting the event together saying\: “I take a lot of pride in the events that we offer to our regional members and the team work hard to make them happen. We’re also very grateful to our wonderful judges led by Sara Howe, who herself has just returned from the World Championships in Holland with a bronze medal for Team GB. Congratulations, Sara”.