Introducing Martha Hall & KBIS Starburst

Martha Hall is the current rider of KBIS Starburst (known at home as ‘Rich’). Rich was previously successfully evented at what is now 4* level when he was owned by Guy Prest (KBIS Managing Director) and Liz Prest (KBIS Director). Rich’s career highlight was winning the Grantham Cup at Belton in 2017 with Izzy Taylor, storming around the XC in the fastest time of the day. A few niggling injuries prevented him from progressing further up the levels, but as he has always loved the sport and subsequently suited a partnership just like this one. After a period at home with the Prests in 2020, Rich moved to be based with KBIS rider Georgie Campbell and Martha kindly fills us in from here…

Tell us a bit about you, Martha, and your riding background…

I have been riding for as long as I can remember, both of my parents have always been into horses and used to race ride around point to points (amateur jump racing). My first pony was a Shetland called Cara, who I shared with my sister and my cousins. I had some amazing ponies and have been part of the Eridge Hunt Pony Club since I was 4. Between the ages of 7-10 years old I used to love hunting, jumping and going fast. It wasn’t until my 13.2hh pony Whiskers, who was owned by my grandmother, that I got into eventing. I started with a few pony club events and then started my British Eventing affiliated career on him at the age of 12. I have been eventing my 14.2hh pony Kilconly Richie (Woody) ever since and now am competing KBIS Starburst (Rich) alongside him.

When did you get the ride on KBIS Starburst and how did it come about?

I got the ride on Rich and the very end of January 2022, so we are still a fairly new partnership but I already feel like we get on and work really well together. At the time, we were looking for another horse to run alongside my current pony for my last year or so on him. Initially, we were looking for a young horse and whilst looking we went to KBIS rider Georgie Campbell, who thought she may have a few possibilities. We have already had 3 lovely horses from the Campbell’s. Rich was coming back into work faster than the other horse Georgie has in mind so I went and hacked him out a couple of times while he was regaining his fitness. The 3rd time I went to ride him I had a jump on him and completely fell in love, he was incredible in every single way. Then the next weekend we picked him up and here we are now.

What is Rich like at home?

Rich is a very funny and amusing character at home. First things first he will do anything for food, although we do have to watch his weight from time to time!! He is very messy in the stable and loves to put his hay everywhere. He pretends to be very grumpy and as you approach him his ears will be back but as soon as you give him a cuddle and some attention, he loves it really. When riding him at home he can be quite lazy and spooky especially when in the school which he has now been in 50+ times but every time he finds something that scares him or to spook at, even if 1 thing has moved an inch!

What’s your favourite thing about KBIS Starburst?

My favourite thing about Rich has probably got to be the feel he gives you when you ride him, especially over a fence. I remember going to my first event on him at South of England and being in the showjumping warm-up, as I was going over my final few jumps before I went in the ring, I just thought to myself how insane he was jumping and how he had never really given me a feel like that until now, it was truly astonishing. I also love how lit up and excited he gets at a competition and how he really knows what he is there to do.

Does Rich have any quirks?

He definitely does have his own quirks but that is what makes his character so amusing, and what I love about him. Like I have mentioned previously he is super spooky, and will even have a good spook at his own shadows. Also, if he doesn’t want to work hard he won’t and he will find every excuse you could come up with to get away with not doing it. On the ground, he can also be a bit quirky. Firstly, he also knows that every time he is bathed that he is going to a competition, as when I plait him after his bath, he always shakes with excitement. Finally, when he is bored in the stable, he will stand at his door with his mouth wide open as he moves his nose around, it’s quite a hard one to explain.

What goals do you have with Rich?

I would just like to enjoy him and let him teach me what it is like to go higher up the levels in BE. At the moment, we have been competing at BE100 and successfully completed our first Novice recently at BCA with a top 10 finish in the ON. My main aim for this season is to do our best at each event and see if we get selected to represent the South East at Bishop Burton for the u18 Youth Championships. This is 3 days of competition with 2 trot ups, dressage over 2 days and XC before SJ which would be the next day. Saying this there are so many great combinations out there so it is a tough competitive thing.

Tell us more about Kilconly Richie (Woody) who you run alongside Rich…

I have a 14.2 bay Connemara pony called Kilconly Richie (Woody) who I am currently competing at BE100 with. I have had him for around 4 years now but he has been in the family since he was a 5-year-old (he is now 11). He has been the most amazing pony for me and with us both properly starting our eventing careers with each other it has sure been a successful one, some of our highlights include: The 2022 Badminton 90 grassroots where we came 16th out of around 105 people finishing on our dressage score, we also represented the South East at the BE90 u18 youth championships where we finished top out of our region and 13th overall. Finally, we won the Pony Club 90 Eventing Championships with a dressage score of 21 and 2 super jumping rounds. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season goes with both of my fantastic horses.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made me being able to ride rich possible, firstly to Guy and Liz Prest for letting me have him in the first place I really cannot thank you enough, secondly Georgie Campbell for thinking of me for him because without you I would not have this amazing horse. And finally, my parents for making it possible and my mum for being a great stand-in jockey when I am busy at school.

Thanks, Martha, it’s been great chatting with you. We wish you, Rich and Woody the best of luck for the remainder of this season and beyond!