LECHLADE'S Ali Butler has booked her place at the Horse of the Year show after winning the Working Hunter class at the South Essex Insurance Broker’s (SEIB) Search for a Star 2014 qualifier in Cambridgeshire.

Ali's mount Pebbly Ptarmigan, known as 'Gus', is an eight-year-old by the Belgian warmblood stallion Porche and was bred in Ireland by Anne Marie Kelly.

Gus was bought by Ali’s friend Jane Beswick, for her son to hunt and event. Sadly Jane died and her son was not interested in keeping the horse, so Ali bought the chestnut gelding two years ago and this was their first attempt at showing.

The pair have also qualified for the grass roots pre-novice regional finals in eventing this autumn with the aim of competing at the grassroots section of the Badminton Horse Trials next year.

“Gus hunts all winter with the Warwickshire," said Ali, who works part time as an equine vet in Hook Norton and runs a horse ambulance business attending equestrian events.

"He is a mega hunter and people had suggested that we have a go at working hunter classes.

"Jane would be so happy, we did it for her as well. It is very exciting, we love hunting and eventing but it would be nice to do some more showing and we need to do some more to practice now before HOYS at the NEC in Birmingham which starts on October 8.”

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.”