The Blue Chip All Star Academy – Meet the Stars

horse rider weight limitations an image of horse and rider at a show
A group of eight riders will star in a brand new national television series to be shown on Horse & Country TV (Sky 253 and online via H&C Play) this June.

The riders were all chosen to be part in the Blue Chip All Star Academy, a show that could be described as a mix between The Apprentice and Pony Club camp.

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 Rudall’s Round-Up on Horse & Country TV, a year’s sponsorship from Blue Chip Feed and the chance to become video bloggers for the channel’s website.

The Blue Chip All Star Academy 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 Svennerstal, 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.


The Blue Chip All Star Academy, five-part series will premiere on the channel at 9pm on Sunday 12th June. It will be shown in the UK and Ireland, as well as in Germany, Sweden, Australia and The Netherlands.


The showjumping starlet

Phoebe Ashenheim, 22, from Sedlescombe in East Sussex

Former international gymnast Phoebe now runs a livery yard in East Sussex, and is also studying for a BSc in Equine Sports Performance. She competes her six-year-old Warmblood mare Ghost in showjumping up to Discovery level.

The dressage diva

Issy Nami, 20, from Harwood, Greater Manchester

Our youngest contestant, Issy competes in dressage up to affiliated novice level, and hopes to move up to elementary level this season. She dreams of becoming a professional dressage rider in the future. She brought Gucci, her 13-year-old mare, to the Academy.

The beauty queen

Stephanie Hill, 21, from Hope Valley, Derbyshire

Stephanie is currently studying for a degree in radiography and oncology, and is also the reigning Miss South Yorkshire 2015. Stephanie brought with her ‘Piggles’, a former showjumper who has gone on to compete in working hunter classes with much success. Together they have also competed in cross-country, arena eventing and dressage to music.

The comeback kid

Rhianydd Lee-Jones, 27, from Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan

Rhi has ridden all her life and competed internationally in the sport of polocrosse. When a hip injury ended her polocrosse career three years ago, it left her doubting whether she would continue riding at all – but then she discovered eventing and found she loved it. When her top horse picked up a foot abscess the day before filming began, Rhi chose to bring her new horse Bob, a former racehorse who had only finished his racing career two weeks previously!

The late convert

David Morris, 38, from blyth Northumberland

David works as a barber and lives in Northumberland with his wife and their two children. He came to riding later in life, and started competing a couple of years ago with his gelding Bam Bam. They do lots of unaffiliated dressage together, and have recently started competing in British Dressage competitions.

The viral sensation

Kelly Jewell, 36, from Weston Super Mare, Somerset

Kelly competed in affiliated eventing, dressage showjumping, until the birth of her son four years ago. She specialises in retraining ex-racehorses, and brought her 10-year-old ex-racer Dave to the camp. Kelly shot to fame earlier this year when she released an equestrian parody video set to Adele’s song Hello.

The ambitious event rider

Josh Noakes, 22, from Rugeley in Staffordshire

Josh combines his eventing career with a degree in architecture – although he hopes to make a living from working with horses full-time in the future. He has several horses, from young horses that he is producing for eventing up to his top horse, ‘Betty’, who has competed up to two-star level.

The model rider

Lucy Robinson, 24, from Maidenhead in Berkshire

Lucy is a graduate of the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, and does some modelling for top rural brands. She brought her horse ‘Bagel’ to camp – they are competing at BE100 level and hope to move up to Novice this season.

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