It’s probably no surprise at just 11 years old, Zara Main has the grit and determination of a far more seasoned competitor. The youngster from Waitoki, North Auckland comes from a strong sporting background. She grew up around the elite sailing world thanks to dad Chris’ involvement in events like the America’s Cup’, Volvo Ocean Racing and Sydney to Hobart while mum Hannah was a competitive eventer in her younger days.

But these days it’s all about young Zara who with her 22-year-old “superstar” Acclaim has won the Burger King Cat B Pony Series and the ESNZ Pony Equitation Series. “It is just awesome,” says Zara of their first series crowns. “Especially when I am doing well up against 17 year olds (in the equitation classes) who have been training for far longer than me. My dad’s competitiveness always keeps me on my toes and he encourages me to do more.”

She has nothing but praise for the pony she has had for two years. “He is an absolute star and taught me everything about show hunter. He can be a little tricky, but I have had a few naughty ponies before so I know how to stick on.”

Her love of horses was borne out of an unfortunate accident at just two years of age, which resulted in her losing part of her foot.

A friend turned up with a little 12HH pony called Christy and everything has grown from there. “She was a little lead rein pony and just amazing,” remembers mum Hannah who towed the aspiring young combination around the farm behind her own horse. Zara’s introduction to show hunter came when she got Benrose Obbi on whom she won the Cat A North Island Show HunterChampionships.

Acclaim has won the Cat B crown with his previous rider Anna Nalder and also did very well in the hands of Sophie Scott.

This is Zara’s last season on Acclaim – or Spud as he’s known at home – and she will now move on to showjumping aboard the well-performed Hopeful Illusion.

The final Cat B class at HOY was this afternoon won by Hannah McConnell (Tauranga) and Billy Blunt who placed fourth in the series, with Michaelee Head (Cambridge) and Chantilly Lace III taking the Pony Equitation final class.


Results –

Burger King Cat B Pony Series: Zara Main (Waitoki) Acclaim 72 points 1, Molly Smith (Hamilton) Bexley Lodge Tinkerbella 62 points 2, Vienna Wilson (Taupo) Ashbury Robin Hood 45 points 3, Hannah McConnell (Tauranga) Billy Blunt 43 points 4, Libby Wilson (Taupo) Waimeha Tayza 43 points 5, Ella Von Dadelzen (Waipukurau) Matai SB 42 points 6.

Final class: Hannah McConnell (Tauranga) Billy Blunt 1, Isobel Macdonald (Cambridge) Snikkers 2, Vienna Wilson (Taupo) Ashbury Robin Hood 3, Isa Luxton-Symes (New Plymouth) Mr Mika Choo 4, Jordan Blakeley (Otaki) Wind Spirit 5, Riley Richardson-Mould (Auckland) Blowing Bubbles 6.

ESNZ Pony Equitation Series: Zara Main (Waitoki) Acclaim 53 points 1, Molly Coutts (Palmerston North) Apsley Woody’s Image 51 points 2, Victoria Mitchell (Kumeu) Nickelodeon and Winged Foot 49 points 3, Kaitlin Brown (Feilding) Tawa 46 points 4, Quinn Coutts (Mosgiel) Tui’s Morning Star and Buckle UP 39 points 5, Ella Von Dadelzen (Waipukurau) Star Waka and Matai SB 39 points 6.

Final class: Michaelee Head (Cambridge) Chantilly Lace III 1, Greer Graham (Kumeu) Dun n Dusted 2, Hollie Falloon (Masterton) Farleigh Catterick 3, Minnie Davies (Tauranga) My Banjo 4, Libby Wilson (Taupo) Waimeha Tayza 5, Kaitlin Brown (Feilding) Tawa 6.


By Diana Dobson, 13th March 2019