A horse rider has qualified for this year’s Horse of the Year Show on a pony owned by her Helston-based brother-in-law to-be.

Alicia Brassett, aged 17, from Falmouth took second place in the ponies’ class at the Search for a Star 2014 qualifier, held at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre in Gloucestershire.

Riding Porkellis farmer Ross Durkin’s horse, The Grey Prince, Alicia fought off stiff competition from otherriders in the class to gain qualification for the Horse of The Year Show (HOYS).

Ross has owned the ten-year-old grey gelding for two years, having bought him as a “scraggly” |looking horse that had just been brought over from Ireland by a dealer. Ross’s son, Joe, show jumps and Joe’s fiancée, Natasha Brassett, took to Prince and started working on him.

Natasha, who works for Domino’s Pizza in Falmouth, during the evening to help pay for the |horses, said: “We had no intention to show, but |we had worked really hard on him all winter |and he looked a completely different horse.

“Randomly we decided to show him last year as a 15hh show hunter pony and he took two supreme |championships.”

At 21 years of age she is too old to ride him in the class, so got her sister Alicia to show him. She will be fulfilling a dream by appearing at HOYS.

The pair started to compete in British Show Pony Society (BSPS) classes this year and have qualified for the Royal International Horse Show, standing champion novice and reserve champion open show hunter pony at the BSPS Area 13A show in Cornwall.

Natasha and Joe have eight horses, including show jumpers, two show horses and a miniature.

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.”

Alicia and The Grey Prince will compete at Search for a Star Championship finals at the Horse of the Year Show on August 8 to 12 at the Birmingham NEC.