Riders survive ‘carnage’ course
A group of Southland horse riders have done their team proud at a prestigious eventing competition.
The Central Southland-Lorneville Makarewa team ‘‘exceeded all expectations’’ when they finished 9th out of 39 teams in the Springston Trophy event at the weekend.
Competitor Georgia WattWright’s mum Emma Wright said the team was the highest placed Otago-Southland team at the competition. ‘‘The remarkable thing about their placing was they moved up from 23rd after dressage, to 11th after the tough cross-country phase that many a combination struggled with.’’
The cross-country course was well up to height, with lots of technical jumps to distract both the rider and horse, she said.
‘‘Throw into the mix non-stop rain and there was, as one mother described, carnage on the course.’’
The Southland riders were not put off by a bit of rain and ‘‘blitzed’’ around the course all coming home with big smiles, Wright said.
The same could not be said for the 16 teams eliminated on the cross country.
On the third and final day, the weather was not any better for the riders.
‘‘Southland’s weather has well and truly prepared them and, after clear show jumping rounds, the team moved up to 9th place, something all the riders, parents, supporters and sponsors were very proud of.’’
Manager Nicola Hamilton said, ‘‘I am very proud of the six riders we took to Springston Trophy, despite trying conditions they all rode amazingly well.
‘‘We are very humbled by all the messages of support we received ... [the competition was] a valuable experience for all of our riders.’’
Lana Meddar was 5th in the senior section, a huge effort as this section covers a wide range of very experienced riders. She added only a few cross-country time faults onto her dressage score.
Georgia Watt-Wright and her pony St Helens Dreamcatcher won best conditioned pony of the competition, judged on muscle tone, fitness, coat condition and how wellprepared they were for the event.
After getting towed out of the sodden grounds, the riders made their way back to Southland, arriving home on Monday, all the better for the experience.
Central Southland-Lorneville Makarewa eventing team Isabelle Hazlett, Lana Meddar, Georgia Watt-Wright, Kendra Bothamley, Kate Hamilton and Siobhan Hazlett.