Local event rider Sam Penn recently received a prestigious National Award. Sam was presented with the South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) and Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) Elite Performance Award for Eventing with Sophie Bunch’s ex-racehorse, Seven O Seven.
Sam, based at the Golden Cross Equestrian Centre, collected the Award at the Breeders Dinner and Award Ceremony organised by the British Horse Foundation at the Grange City Hotel, London, on January 14.
Leading equine insurance brokers SEIB are sponsors of these awards. The Elite Performance Award for Eventing offers a valuable prize fund of £2,500 to the winner, donated by RoR.
The awards provide a focus for ex-racehorses competing in the disciplines of eventing, dressage, show jumping, endurance and showing and have encouraged more riders to recognise the talents and versatility of the thoroughbred and their potential for success in another sphere. Sam and Seven O Seven took the runner-up spot for the award in 2011 and this year have gone one better.
Sam said: “We were thrilled to be runner-up last year and this is just unbelievable.”
The pair did particularly well at Bramham three day event in 2012, where Seven O Seven won the prize for the highest placed ex-racehorse which really set them up for taking this award. Sophie Bunch has owned Seven O Seven for 12 years now, she competed him herself up to Intermediate level and then owing to a lack of time, handed the reins over to Sam.
She said: “I am thrilled Seven O Seven has won this award and so impressed that at 20 years old he is still going strong.
“If they are looked after correctly it makes a huge difference to the span of their competitive life.” 2012 was also an exciting year for Seven O Seven and Sam as they contested their first four star three day event – The Landrover Burghley Horse Trials.
Sam said: “We went for it at Burghley as you never know when you might get another chance, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be and we had a fall three quarters of the way round the course.
“We ended the season on a high though with a double clear in the 2* class at South of England Horse Trials”. Seven O Seven is now 20 years old and neither Sam nor Sophie want to push him so he will come back into work and they will see how he gets on.
Sam went on to say: “We really want to just all have a bit of fun next year and hope to go out and do some Open Intermediate classes and maybe a few 2* ones.”
Sam has several youngsters to compete next season.