Rider Stephanie, 17, is living the dream

Stephanie Hill, Calver rider
Stephanie Hill, Calver rider

A DALES amateur rider has won the chance to compete alongside seasoned professionals at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show 2012.

Stephanie Hill (17), of Calver, won the Working Hunter class at the South Essex Insurance Broker’s (SEIB) Search For A Star 2012 qualifier, held at Osbaldeston Riding Centre.

Riding Elaine Hill’s horse Diamond Cavalier Royale, Stephanie fought off stiff competition from other riders in the class to gain qualification for the Horse of The Year Show.

Diamond Cavalier Royale is known as Piggles at home and the Hills have owned him since last August.

He was bought for showjumping and was nearly grade B level but the pair have done a bit of everything since then and are active members of the High Peak Pony Club.

They were chosen as one of eight partnerships to be part of the Musical Ride team, doing a routine to Mamma Mia and would have performed at Chatsworth Horse Trials had they not been cancelled due to the wet weather last month.

They will perform the ride as part of the celebrations when the Olympic Torch arrives at Bakewell later this month, where Stephanie will have a busy day as she will also be playing the flute in a band at the event.

Elaine Hill said: “Piggles is a real confidence giver.

“He is Stephanie’s first horse after riding ponies and he is so versatile”.

The pair have done very little showing, but at the local Beaver Hall Show recently, they won the Working Hunter and the ridden hunter and stood champion.

“It is our dream to go to Horse of the Year Show.

“We have the HOYS music on in the car all the time but we never dreamed he would be good enough to go”, said Stephanie, who is in the sixth form at Lady Manners School in Bakewell.

“She has just finished her chemistry exams this week, so this is a real treat”, said Elaine, who rides Piggles in the week to help Stephanie out.

The pair train with Lianne Smith, an accredited showjumping coach, and at Pony Club and they have competed in team show jumping and dressage with the High Peak Pony Club.

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 at Osbaldeston gets better every year.”

The South Essex Insurance Brokers Search For A Star Championship finals will be held at the Horse Of The Year Show, running from October 3-7, at the Birmingham NEC.