BARNSLEY rider Stacey Bennett says she will fulfil her dreams by competing at the 2015 Horse Of The Year Show.
Bennett, 34, qualified for HOYS by taking second place in the Hunter class at the SEIB Insurance Brokers’ Search for a Star 2015 qualifier at Osbaldeston Riding Centre in Lancashire.
It was the fulfilment of a long-term project for Bennett, who was riding her own nine-year-old grey mare Newport Gypsy, known as Kerry at home, who the Yorkshire star has been riding since she was three years old.
Backing and bringing her on herself, the pair have mainly focused on riding club activities but were seventh in the finals at the Irish Draft Breed show at Lincoln two years ago.
Bennett did not compete last year after giving birth but the rider always intended to return this time and went in March to a talent-spotting clinic with Sarah Chapman, who suggested that Bennett and Kerry should do SEIB Search for a Star.
Now the duo are heading to Birmingham’s NEC for October’s HOYS as Bennett prepares to fulfil a lifelong ambition.
“I have always dreamed of riding at HOYS,” said Bennett.
“I go every year just to watch and dream, never thinking I would ever actually get to ride there.
“We have done a bit more showing over the last couple of years, mainly in Irish Draft and show hunter classes.
“Kerry is so easy to do, she just gets on with it.
“She is so good, especially with children around – when I was bathing her ready for the show one of the children ran right under her holding on to the shovel.
“She just looked down as if to say ‘young person coming under’ and did not move, when so many horses would have jumped.”
Bennett’s mount was also wearing her new show bridle which had been specially made by a friend, Jess Clancy.
Needless to say, that is here to stay, Bennettt admitting: “It is now my lucky bridle!”
On the eventing front, there are just two weeks until the county’s yearly crown jewel – the Equi-Trek Bramham International Horse Trials which begin on Thursday, June 11.
Last weekend saw the first instalment of the 2015 Bishop Burton Horse Trials take place where Middlestown’s double Badminton grassroots champion Alexandra Farrar-Fry continued her successful year with a first, a second and a fourth.
Rising star Farrar-Fry bagged a BE100 class on her 2015 Badminton hero Grey Finnsky while Santiago S was also second at BE90 level.
Farrar-Fry was also fourth on Cruisings Slainte Mhath in the Novice Regional Final won by Lizzie Braugh on Quarry Man.
Grafton’s James Sommerville was second behind Braugh on Captain Levade whilst also second on Talent at Open Intermediate level behind Tyler Cassells on Grandslam in an event in which Harrogate’s rising star Hazel Towers was third on Simply Smart.
Houghton International offers this coming weekend’s high level action in Norfolk.
Entries also open today for the Aske Horse Trials which take place on Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5.