Horse's starring role in year's mane event
WINNING a coveted place to compete at the world's most famous horse show is the dream of every owner and rider.
And that dream is about to come true for East Riding owner Barbara Beercock, whose groom Robert Shaw will be riding in the Horse of the Year Show's Search for a Star competition.
Search for a Star is designed to give amateur riders and owners the chance to compete in the prestigious annual show.
Mr Shaw will be riding Mrs Beercock's horse Oat Lane Ninja, known as Fudge, in next month's annual show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.
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Mrs Beercock, general manager at Beercock, Wiles & Wick estate agency, is thrilled.
She said: "It will be amazing.
"About 40 of my friends have bought tickets. Even those who don't like horses want to go.
"It will be quite special. Even if we come last, it won't matter, because we have qualified."
It is the first time Mrs Beercock has entered the 14-year-old in the Search for a Star competition, which aims to showcase top-class horses and ponies that may not otherwise have had the chance to compete at this level.
She said: "I have been going to the show for years.
"I think for anyone who shows at any level, even at the top level, it's your dream to compete at the Horse of the Year Show."
Mrs Beercock, who has nine horses at stables at her home in Elloughton Dale, is hoping Mr Shaw and Fudge will have a successful outing at the show.
She said: "The Horse of the Year Show can be quite daunting for any horse competing there for the first time but I think he will be as cool as a cucumber.
"He's just chilled out in everything he does.
"I think we do stand a chance but it all depends on what happens on the day."
Fudge qualified after winning the show hunter class in the Search for a Star competition qualifier at Vale View Equestrian Centre.
Mrs Beercock, who has owned Fudge for eight years, said: "At local level, he always wins his class but it is the first time he has entered Search for a Star.
"What makes him a star is he doesn't come from a special line of breeding.
"He's an all-rounder, a Jack of all trades.
"We put him in this qualifier class and it was the first time he had done it. There were 30 in the class and he won it outright."
Mrs Beercock's husband, estate agent Bob Beercock, is also delighted.
He said: "We have nine horses and we have had this one for eight or nine years.
"He was as green as grass when we got him.
"We are delighted he has qualified for the Search for a Star competition. We have competed in some of the county shows, such as the Yorkshire Show, but this is quite an achievement.
"There will be quite a contingent going to support him."
The dozens of supporters from East Yorkshire will be among a crowd of thousands at the eagerly anticipated event on Thursday, October 4.
Also competing from the East Riding will be Claire Cryer, of Preston.
Claire qualified with Harvey Nicholls, owned by Michaela Pollitt, after taking second place in the cob class at the qualifier.
Harvey had previously been shown as a show hunter pony and has also done working hunter pony classes and cross country.
He came fourth in a Search for a Star qualifier in 2006.
The five-day Horse of the Year Show runs from Wednesday, October 3, to Sunday, October 7.