SKIPTON owner David Wallace has hailed a “dream come true” as Yorkshire continues to celebrate a highly successful 2014 Horse Of The Year Show.
Hetton-based Wallace and his wife Emma own Broadshard Simplicity, who took centre-stage at HOYS when crowned Ripon Select Foods Supreme Horse of the Year Champion.
Ridden by Maidenhead’s Jayne Ross, the pair had earlier taken the British Show Horse Association Riding Horse of the Year Championship, where horses are split into two height classes and a strong emphasis is placed on galloping, correct conformation, presence and a true straight action.
Then came the coup de grace at Birmingham’s LG Arena as the duo prevailed from 10 other 2014 HOYS Champions to land Ross her fourth HOYS Supreme title.
The Maidenhead rider was left to hail a “very special” moment, and there was no hiding the elation of Yorkshire owners David and Emma, who run Accrington-based Rosettes Direct.
“We are totally elated,” beamed David. “It is a complete dream come true for us and that horse has completely exceeded our expectations.”
Victorious rider Ross added: “It’s always special to win here, but especially with a young horse. He went about things so beautifully and gave me the most wonderful feel.
“He just knows that he is a very beautiful horse, and he’s got a certain charisma that he just allows you to work with.
“You can just press the buttons and say ‘come on, just give us everything and give us a performance’ and he does. He plays to the crowd.”
Another HOYS win for Yorkshire came from Walkington’s Sarah Birbeck, who has hailed the acquisition of her class act Flagmount Dazzler following the dashing grey’s victory at Birmingham’s NEC.
Birbeck is still celebrating after riding her seven-year-old grey gelding to victory in the Working Hunter Final in the South Essex Insurance Brokers’ Search For A Star Championship.
Birbeck and Flagmount Dazzler were one of six clear rounds after negotiating a tricky course of jumps that included a water tray and double of hedges.
But Birbeck knew she was never hedging her bets with Flagmount Dazzler, whom the East Yorkshire rider bought two years ago as a working hunter.
The grey gelding is a pure-bred Irish Draft, by the draft stallion Welcome Flagmount, and was imported from Ireland by the previous owner, who bought him as a four-year-old at Goresbridge Sales.
Three years on, Birbeck says she is quite literally woken up daily by her 2011 equine acquisition whose stable is next to the rider’s bedroom.
She knew all along that she had purchased a star.
“I just had to buy him as they are so hard to find,” said Birbeck.
“He gave me such a comfortable ride, popped all the fences and felt safe.
“He went in there and was focussed and stayed focussed.
“He is quite a character, and wakes me up when he wants his breakfast as his stable is next to my bedroom!”
Birbeck and Flagmount Dazzler have competed in show-jumping, dressage and working hunter classes as well as ridden Irish Draft classes.
The duo competed at the first Search For A Star qualifier at Osbaldeston and now Birbeck plans to venture down the open working hunter classes next season.
Birbeck, who works part-time for Patrick Wilkinson Saddlers, added: “He has grade A jumpers on both sides of his breeding so it shouldn’t be a problem but he needs to learn.”
Now in its 17th year, the Search for a Star was the brainchild of South Essex Insurance Brokers, who still run and support it today.
The competition is exclusively for amateur riders and owners and designed to give amateurs a chance to compete at the Horse of the Year Show and also to discover new equine talent.
SEIB marketing manager, Nicolina Mackenzie, said: “I am always impressed with the number of people wanting to have a go at Search for a Star, and the standard of horses and ponies coming forward just gets better each year. The atmosphere at HOYS was magical.
“It is wonderful to be able to give genuine amateur owners and riders this opportunity and I hope that many will go on to further success.”
Robert Oliver, Katie Jerram, and ride judge Clare Oliver performed the judging and conformation judge Jerram said: “Every year it gets better.
“I’ve loved all the horses and it has been an absolute honour to judge. An awful lot of time and effort has been put in to get to this level, and we have certainly seen some stars of the future.”