By Rebecca Harper

An ultra-consistent season for Morrinsville’s Emma Watson and Maddox Fun House meant the pair had an unassailable lead in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series before finals.

Emma, 14, had both this and the Junior Rider series in the bag coming into series finals.

While the Pony of the Year title at HOY was her main goal with Pink, as the pony is known, the series win was special, given the pony is for sale. “It’s pretty special, pretty cool.”

It depends on if the pony sells or not as to whether she will get another crack at the HOY title, mum Melissa Watson explains. “Emma has two more years on ponies but we’re keen to move just to the horses. Just thinking about it is heart breaking, but it’s part of the process.”

Emma says she’s been fortunate having Kiwi Silverkee to make the transition from ponies to horses. “I’m lucky to have quite a forgiving horse and he helps me get used to the differences between ponies and horses.”

Pink is 12 and Emma say she has a big attitude. “The world revolves around Pink. I’ve done three full seasons on her and she’s taught me everything. We have a really good partnership, I wouldn’t be doing what I am without her.”

“She means everything. At home she stays in the front paddock all winter, she’s really precious to our family,” Emma says.

“She’s given Emma five silver ferns and three trips overseas – that’s what Pink has done for you,” Melissa adds.

The sale is clearly an emotional one, and you get the impression Emma won’t be too sad if the pony doesn’t sell and she gets one more season.

They also paid tribute to coach Jeff McVean, who helped Emma throughout the season and went with them to Beijing when Emma competed in FEI Children’s International Classic.

In the series finals class, the day belonged to Sophie Scott and Benrose Playtime, one of only two combinations to jump clear in the first round, the other being Ally Carson with Tiger Tale LS.

Ally threw down the gauntlet, jumping clear and stopping the clock in 50.11. Last to go, Sophie blitzed that time, leaving the rails up in a time of 44.74 to win the class. The win elevated the combination to second equal, tied with Olivia Dalton and Simply Samantha, in the overall series standings.


Country TV Pony Grand Prix Grand Final: Sophie Scott (Wellington) Benrose Playtime 1, Ally Carson (Putaruru) Tiger Tale LS 2, Sophie Scott (Wellington) Benrose Eclipse 3, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 4, Holly Crean (Canterbury) Ellen Vanin Untouchable 5, Sarah West (Matamata) Miss Mae West 6.

Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Fun House 186 points 1, Sophie Scott (Wellington) Benrose Playtime 137 points 2=, Olivia Dalton (Auckland) Simply Samantha 137 points 2=, Rosa Buist-Brown (Christchurch) Junior Disco 125 points 4, Grace Manera (Christchurch) Rednaligh Cowboy 112 points 5, Tyla Hackett (Waiuku) The Dreamer 109 points 6.