Riding is a way of life for 11-year-old Ellie Templeton who with Benrose Comet has ridden off with the Cartown Cat A Pony High Points Series.
She’s had the Sophie Scott-owned pony for two years and with a fifth place in the series last year, focused on going all out in her final season on the 15-year-old. She came into HOY unable to be beaten in the series and made sure she finished the season on a high with victory in the final class.
“Comet can be a bit cheeky at times, but he is just awesome,” says Ellie, who lives on a 7000-acre station in Middlemarch, an hour north of Dunedin. Together they have won the Cat A crown at nationals and back to back wins in the Otago Southland Cat A series, but this is something special. “I am pretty excited about it. I never thought I would win the series.”
Ellie with mum Lenore and dad Andrew use horses for mustering at The Rocks where they run fine wool sheep and cattle. She is one of just 43 at her school where her principal Emma Barker is also her trainer and head coach at the local Pony Club. It’s a long drive to anywhere which can mean the odd day off school here and there, but Emma makes sure Ellie always has her homework on hand. Ellie is also trained by Jill Ullrich.
She will be too big for Benrose Comet next season but with two showjumpers already in the paddock at home and the search underway for a third, there’s no doubt Ellie will continue to star in the competition arena. “I am competing at about 1m level at the moment and have won a few ribbons in showjumping . . . hopefully show hunter will be a part of all that in the future too,” she says.
Cartown Cat A Pony High Points Series: Ellie Templeton (Middlemarch) Benrose Comet 81 points 1, Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Pinewood RocknRoll 56 points 2, Logan Nation (Pauatahanui) Amberfield Golden Charm 56 points 3, Emma Bates (Rotorua) My Gemma Bear 44 points 4, Jamie Botha (Waimauku) Minks 41 points 5, Zara Gordon (Napier) Shadow Moonshine 28 points 6.
Final class: Ellie Templeton (Middlemarch) Benrose Comet 1, Brooke Scrivener (Auckland) Fordlands Moonmist 2, Zara Gordon (Waipu) Shadow Moonshine 3, Jaimie Botha (Waimauku) Minks 4, Zoe Atkins (Taupo) Vanese Jazzup 5, Francesca Bishell (Auckland) Apatchy of Kitford 6.
Diana Dobson, 13th March 2019