Blair and Hood seal their places at famous Horse of the Year Show

SHOW QUALIFIER: Charlotte Blair
SHOW QUALIFIER: Charlotte Blair

Riders Charlotte Blair and Oliver Hood have both qualified for the prestigious Horse of the Year Show later this year.

Stradbroke’s Blair will compete in the SEIB Insurance Brokers Search for a Star Championship finals, while Diss-based Hood has qualified for the finals of the Racehorse to Riding Horse and Search for a Star Championship.

Riding her own Equador, Blair fought off stiff competition from other riders at a recent qualifier to book her place at the Birmingham NEC in October.

“I quite liked the idea of showing,” the 23-year-old said. “So we did some Sport Horse classes last year.

“He is kept on DIY livery and mum (Elaine) and I do him between us.

“Mum does him in the week and does flatwork and hacks out with friends, and I ride first thing in the morning or after work.

“I love sharing him with mum, and it makes it very special when we go to shows.”

Hood also booked his place at the HOYS after taking top spot in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class held at Houghton Hall Equestrian Centre last month.

Riding Yvonne and Peter Botham’s Royal Rock, he saw off tough opposition from other riders to bag a spot at the prestigious finals.

Royal Rock amassed 10 wins from 44 starts and over £180,000 during his successful racing career, with Newmarket-based trainer Chris Wall delighted with the thoroughbred gelding’s triumph.

“I am really pleased to see him doing so well,” Wall said. “He was always a character when he was in training and liked showing off.

“But he never liked cold weather and was always the first and last with his winter coat. If the weather was bad it was as much as you could do to get him out of his stable!” Royal Rock was a finalist in the Racehorse to Riding Horse class last year, and won the Novice section at the Retraining of Racehorses championship show at Aintree, but has qualified for the Open section this year.