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Champagne is so sweet for Clark as duo qualify for Horse of the Year Show at Birmingham NEC

PUBLISHED: 17:15 28 August 2014 | UPDATED: 12:51 29 August 2014

Rebecca Clark on Champagne Perry. Picture: SMR Photos

Rebecca Clark on Champagne Perry. Picture: SMR Photos

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Fakenham's Rebecca Clark took third place in the Riding Horse Hack class at the South Essex Insurance Broker's (SEIB) Search for a Star 2014 qualifier, held at Houghton Hall Equestrian and Alpaca Centre in Cambridgeshire.

Riding her horse, Champagne Perry, Clark fought off stiff competition from other riders in the class to gain qualification for the Horse of The Year Show (HOYS).

Known as Red, the 10-year-old chestnut gelding is an ex-racehorse and now competes in show classes as a riding horse. He also does jumping and cross country and is an all-rounder.

“I was not looking for a horse, but I stumbled upon him in bad condition. He had been eventing and then turned away. I had not ridden for 18 years but I got on and had a go on him, and he looked after me. I had never jumped before, but now we do it all”, said Clark.

“Everyone can ride him. He plays riding school with the kids on Saturdays – he is like a donkey!”

The pair have done several RoR classes and they have qualified for the Hickstead finals next year.

“It has taken a long time to get some weight on him – he was so skinny when I got him. He has had lots of TLC but he’s worth it”, she added.

The pair plan to do more showing and some jumping with the aim of doing the RoR challenge and some dressage over the winter. Having got back into riding thanks to Champagne Perry, Rebecca now works as a freelance rider/groom. Her daughter has tqo ponies and they are all kept at home.

Show Judge, Richard Ramsay said: “This competition gives amateurs the chance to compete at HOYS, a dream which many riders would love to realise and the standard in Search for a Star gets better every year.”

Equine Insurance brokers, South Essex Insurance Brokers provide cover for horses, horse boxes, yards and much more.

“The Search For A Star Championship series is a way to give amateur riders the chance to achieve their dream of riding at The Horse Of The Year Show. We are delighted to give so many riders this opportunity”, said Nicolina MacKenzie, marketing manager at South Essex Insurance Brokers.

The top duo will compete at The South Essex Insurance Brokers Search for a Star Championship finals at HOYS, October 8-12, at the Birmingham NEC.

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