Fittingly the Farmlands Pony of the Year crown was decided by a thrilling head-to-head jump-off between eventual winner Samantha Carrington aboard her rather special Colours of Lansing and Emma Gillies on Benrose Playtime.
The initial 32-strong field was fault-ridden with not a single clear and whittled to nine for the second round which ended with Samantha and Emma tied on four faults apiece and called for a jump-off. First out was 13-year-old Emma and her grey Benrose Playtime who rode some good lines but finished on 12 faults from the three rounds for second. Samantha rode a proficient clear to take the win. She was a hugely popular champ and while she and Colours of Lansing have found recent form with a win in the Takapoto Estate Show Jumping pony grand prix, they would have been running at good odds.
In her last year of ponies, it was a flurry of feelings for 16-year-old Samantha. It is her fifth season with Lacey – as the pony is known at home. The family bought her from the Feast family in 2015 and had a rather tough start with Samantha breaking both arms in a fall at their first away show.
“It was a bit of a slow start which was not a huge confidence boost but we now trust each other so much. She is my best friend and I am so sad to be finishing ponies,” said Samantha. “If we had all the money in the world we’d keep her as a brood mare but she is going to be sold.”
Samantha trains mostly with her mother Wendy with help from her Aunt Robyn and Sally Clark.
The class today wasn’t without its drama – Lily Moore and former Pony of the Year winner Fun House parted company after entering the ring for the first round but before they had crossed the start flags and were eliminated. In the second round Molly Moffatt (Napier) was on track to score a stunning clear when she and Te Ngaio Raggamuffin missed a fence and were also eliminated.
The Pony of the Year class is also part of the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series.
FMG Pony of the Year (part of the County TV Pony Grand Prix Series): Samantha Carrington (Takapau) Colours of Lansing 1, Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Benrose Playtime 2, Samantha Gillies (Oamaru) Junior Disco 3, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 4, Isabelle Jameson (Whangarei) Pacific Dream 5, Aimee Collinson (Auckland) Moonlight Glow 6.
By Diana Dobson
14 March 2020