Shearwater Insurance are thrilled to announce the winner of their Search for a Star competition as young event rider Sophie Hall.
The competition was launched back in December 2017 as a chance to offer one rider the opportunity of a variety of support from Shearwater, including a £500 training bursary. After a huge amount of entries were received from riders across all disciplines, the competitors were whittled down to just five semi-finalists – Garry Russell, Natasha Green, Katie Lawrence, Daniel Bates and eventual winner Sophie Hall.
Described by selector Richard Waygood MBE as “hard working, committed, self motivated and someone who is prepared to think outside of the box” Sophie impressed throughout the selection process with her can do attitude and enthusiastic personality.
Sophie competes in a variety of disciplines although eventing is where her true passion lies. In 2016 she won the Shearwater EHOA Award at the Badminton Grassroots Championships on her horse Gus, who she is aiming for novice classes this season. Alongside Gus, Sophie has also ‘borrowed’ her dads veteran show horse, George, who she has been retraining for Dressage as well as competing in the odd show class.
Sophie works full time in London to fund her horsey ambitions and alongside this is also the Chairman and a rider for the Great British Student Riders squad. Upon being announced as the winner she said “I am absolutely thrilled and still in total disbelief to have won the Shearwater Search for a Star 2018! The final five were so strong and we were all so different I truly had no idea who would be successful. I cannot wait to work with such a prestigious company that truly understands the hard work and love that goes into producing our horses. I am so grateful thank you.”
Alongside the winner Para Dressage rider Daniel Bates was also crowned as runner up in the competition, earning himself a training bursary and branded clothing. Daniel is 18 years old and found his dressage passion whilst watching the London Olympics in 2012. He never lets his disability get in the way of his dreams, and he is aiming high this season and beyond with his ex racehorse Captain Wilson.
Managing Director of Shearwater Jeremy Lawton commented “We are thrilled to welcome both Sophie and Daniel to the Shearwater team. They both have what we look for in team members at Shearwater, ambition, dedication and of course a passion for all things equestrian. We look forward to following them on their journey, wherever it takes them over the next year.”