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Showing World Now Takes Search For A Star Seriously!

New selection venues in Surrey and Yorkshire

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Search for a Star competition starts its eighth year with a frank statement from one of its judges - "at last the professionals are taking us seriously."

Anne Pritchard, who with Robert Oliver has judged every final since the search began, said: "We have found some wonderful horses, but because the competition is for amateurs and because we give a running commentary and explain our decisions, many of the top people in the showing world refused to take us seriously.

"Now I look around the audience at the Horse of the Year Show final and recognise so many faces; then I listen to Search for a Star owners talking about the offers they are refusing for their horses and realise that this competition really has been accepted into the showing calendar."

Search for a Star is designed to give amateur owners and riders the opportunity to compete at a major, national show. Selection days are held around the country and chosen horses are invited to the prestigious Horse of the Year Show, to be held for the second time at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham. Last year's launch at the NEC was a resounding success and this year it is scheduled for September 17-21.

"South Essex showed a great deal of courage in even suggesting that amateurs might have horses up to the high level found at this show," said Mrs Pritchard. "But many of the horses that reach the final - not just the supreme champion - are often good enough to go through and compete in the open classes."

New venues in Surrey and Yorkshire have been added to this year's competition, and for the first time there will be championship rosettes for both riding horses and hacks. "The standard has risen so much that we really feel they have graduated from competing against each other and deserve their own recognition," said organiser Nicolina MacKenzie, the South Essex equestrian marketing manager.

Horses selected for the final will again be offered the opportunity for guidance in schooling and producing their animals for a major show from selection judges Richard and Marjorie Ramsay.

Selection days this year will be held at:

June 7 Osbaldeston Equestrian Centre, Lancs
June 28 West Wilts Equestrian Centre
July 19 Merrist Wood College, Surrey
July 20 College Equestrian Centre, Bedford
August 10 Richmond Equestrian Centre, Yorkshire

Categories for the 2003 season will be:

Working Hunter
Riding Club Show Horse
Show Ponies and Show Hunter Ponies
Show Hunter
Riding Horse/Hack

Entry fee is £30, with reductions for British Horse Society members and anyone insuring through South Essex Insurance Brokers.Entry forms and more information is available by sending a self addressed envelope to The Secretary, Search for a Star, 5 Magpie Drive, Totton, Southampton, SO40 8TE



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