Two horse riders from Doncaster will take on the cream of the crop at the 2015 Horse of the Year competition in Birmingham this weekend.
Rachael Franks, of Norton, rode to victory at the SEIB Insurance Broker’s Search for a Star 2015 qualifier, fighting off stiff competition from other riders in the Cob class.
Jay Kozaczek, of Campsmount Academy, is also due to take part in the Mounted Games event at the Birmingham NEC tomorrow.
The 15-year-old, who is from Dunscroft, was the winner at the Zone Finals in Warwickshire as he made it into the last 16 in the country.
Franks, 32, who works as a dog groomer, rides The Traveling Man, or Mulligan as he is known at home, for her best friend Joanne Mitchell.
And the mother of two says that her qualification for the event is the sum of years of hard work and competitions.
“I was born into a horsey family and tried all equine disciplines but my heart was in showing horses,” said Franks.
“I’ve showed horses for 15 years and always tried to qualify for Horse of the Year show which is the world’s most famous horse show and very very hard to qualify for, but we’ve finally done it.
“Words can’t describe the excitement I feel.”
Meanwhile, since qualifying for the finals, Kozaczek and his team - Badsworth Hunt Pony Club, who last qualified in 2010 - have had to raise £6,000 through bag packing, fun runs and auctions in order to fund the finals.
And Kozaczek’s grandmother Mabel Goodson says the excitement surrounding the event makes it extra special for competitors.
“There were over 300 teams trying to qualify, and only six in the country made it,” said Goodson.
“The Prince Phillip Cup is a Mounted Games Team Event that is often described as ‘war on horseback’ and the audience love it.
“We don’t know what to expect in terms of a result, there’s some big teams there who take it all very seriously, so it’s a big competition.
“But it’s all on the day, whatever happens, happens.”
The Horse of the Year Show started this week and runs until Sunday.
For more information about Search for a Star visit www.search4astar.org.uk.