VIDEO: Hope Valley rider saddles up for Big Brother-style TV show

Hope Valley rider Stephanie Hill is starring in a new national television series. Photo: Jon Stroud.
Hope Valley rider Stephanie Hill is starring in a new national television series. Photo: Jon Stroud.

A Hope Valley rider is starring in a new national television series, billed as ‘The Apprentice meets Big Brother meets Pony Club camp’.

Stephanie Hill is one of eight riders who took part in the Blue Chip All Star Academy, a five-part series which premieres on Horse & Country TV (Sky 253) this Sunday (June 12) at 9pm.

Viewers will see the group take part in a series of challenges designed to test their equestrian talents, their horse care knowledge, and their media and creativity skills.

Out of 130 video auditions, eight finalists were selected and invited to attend a training camp at Talland School of Equitation in Gloucestershire, which is one of the premier riding establishments in the country.

Every moment of the camp was filmed, including lessons and tasks, while contestants also revealed their thoughts and feelings to a special camera set up in the ‘Blue Room’.

The contestants were in competition throughout the camp, with each hoping to win the top prize – the chance to co-host an episode of H&C’s magazine show Rudall’s Round-Up, a year’s sponsorship from Blue Chip Feed and the chance to become video bloggers for the channel’s website.

The eight riders taking part in the Blue Chip All Star Academy.

The eight riders taking part in the Blue Chip All Star Academy.

The show was not just a riding competition, although the finalists got to have lessons with some of the leading names in the sport, including Pammy Hutton, Charlie Hutton, Olympic event rider Ludwig Svennerstål, top show producer Jayne Ross, event and dressage star Daisy Coakley and Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester. The candidates also took part in a number of challenges designed to test their horsemanship knowledge and media skills, proving their worth as future video blogging stars.

Stephanie, who is the reigning ‘Miss South Yorkshire’, splits her time between studying for a degree in radiology and competing her horse. The 21-year-old was over the moon to be selected to take part in the new show.

“When I got the call through I’m still surprised I managed to somewhat keep my cool, but as soon as I put the phone down the shrieking began” explained Stephanie.

The Derbyshire contestant regularly takes part in showing classes, arena eventing and dressage to music with her horse Piggles. Stephanie believes they have both hugely benefited from the All Star Academy experience.

“The experience was so wonderful I can’t really single out any one moment, but highlights certainly included the showing and turnout demonstration from Jayne Ross.

“Just being surrounded by people who are so passionate about the sport and seeing them grow and develop in the short time we had together was so rewarding.”

Becoming the new face of the channel can be a daunting prospect for some, but for one lucky rider their dream is about to become a reality.

“I am just so grateful for the experience, and I think Piggles was too! I just wish I could do it all again” said Stephanie.

You can watch how Stephanie and the other seven contestants get to grips with the challenging academy on Horse & Country TV, Sky Channel 253. The channel can also be watched online and on smartphones and tablets via apps with H&C Play, horseandcountry.tv/play