Eyreton Pony Club has successfully defended its Springston Trophy eventing title after three days of competition at the Mandeville Sports Ground in North Canterbury at the weekend.
Hundreds of pony clubbers descended on the event, which was also hosted by the winning club. The Springston Trophy is a three-day-event where teams of up to six riders (two juniors 14 and under; two intermediates 15-17 years; two seniors 18-24 years) are tested in three disciplines – dressage, cross-country and showjumping. It is the largest event in the South Island Pony Clubs calendar and has been going for more than 40 years.
This year there were 40 teams from pony clubs around the South Island including several composite teams, and, for the first time, two teams from the North Island.
It was the first use for the new cross-country course on the grounds. The course was developed with the support of New Zealand Community Trust and Air Rescue Services as well as fundraising and donations from Club members. It will also be used for the NZPCA National Eventing Championships in April 2016.
Eyreton Pony Club finished on 134.8 penalties, with four of its riders finishing on their dressage scores. Team captain Brodie Roberts, riding SR Livingstone, was the top overall individual, with 31 penalties.
Halswell Pony Club was runner-up, a position they filled last year. This year they scored 136.1, ahead of 2008 winners Rangiora with 139.9.
As well as Roberts and SV Livingstone, Eyreton’s team comprised Jess Hobby on My Hallucination, Maria van Kuijk on Antara Whiskey Mac, Elizabeth Wylaars on Wairoa Ruby, Charlotte Hamilton on Captain Jack, and Molly Moffatt on Pollyanne.
Eyreton Team Manager Pip Wylaars said all the effort was worth it. “We never expected to win it two years in a row, it’s a once in a lifetime result. The girls have worked very hard. There’s a party at our place tonight!”
Team captain Brodie Roberts said there had been a lot of hard work going on both into the team preparation and running the event.
“It’s overwhelming really, we couldn’t have asked for better. Perhaps it helped our horses as they were more settled here at home, and the riders were relaxed.”
She credited a great team and club culture and spirit as their secret to success.
Showjumping course builder Geoff Bryant put up a kind course that had to be ridden well and while the standard overall was very good, there were enough faults incurred for the team placings to change and for Eyreton to emerge the victors.
Rangiora Pony Club were happy to finish in third place and View Hill Black team ended up in fourth place, having dropped its lead after collecting a few too many faults in the showjumping. The View Hill Pony Club had dominated the dressage and their club will be proud of the riders’ achievements as all three of their teams finished in the top 10 out of 41 teams.
Next year’s Springston Trophy will be held in Marlborough.
Images below © Jane Thompson