Kaleigh Kent couldn’t be prouder of her series winning horse Double J Sponge Bob Square Pants. Their efforts in the Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series grand final weren’t quite what they had hoped for, but their consistency through the season saw them take the series by nine points.
“He is like a Thelwell pony but with no bad or naughty tricks,” she says of the 15-year-old whose name endears him to many. When she got him six years ago, they clicked immediately. “He loves attention,” she says.
Both her children – 10-year-old Lily and eight-year-old Charlie love to ride him whenever they can.
As chuffed as she is with the win, Kaleigh says she just takes each round as it comes. “That’s something we will continue to do,” she says. “I was surprised at how high up the series leaderboard we were. The plan today was just to do our best – to go for the clear, just like we always do.”
While they were clear in the opener, the jump-off didn’t go their way and they finished out of the money. Jeremy Clark (Cambridge) rode Dynavyte Cancion HSH to a lovely double clear to take the win in 43.78 seconds, with Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) and Miss Vee NZPH doing themselves all sorts of favours with their second place efforts which also saw them move up to second in the series too. Shanae McKay (Levin) and ME Joy Ride II took third with their double clear in 44.17 seconds.
But Kaleigh wasn’t disappointed with the outing, adding it just made her hungrier to go out and have another go next season. “The course was lovely out there today – it was nice and flowing and the ground was good too. Clearly a lot of effort has been put into things by the show organising committee.”
She’s quite happy with where she’s at. “This height is where we are both happy and competitive, so I see no reason to move up. This season has just been excellent – every result is a good one. For me, getting to take him home sound and happy is always the main aim.”
Kaleigh works part time at Twist Trucking who she says are very accommodating and generous with their support of her equine pursuits. “I also have great support from home from my husband Ross and mum Robyn Vowels.” She thanked Dunstan Horsefeeds for their longstanding support of showjumping and for sponsoring the series.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Series: Kaleigh Kent (Otane) 108 points 1, Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) 99 points 2, Kelly Chapman (Auckland) 92 points 3, Harriet Gardner (Canterbury) 84 points 4, David Hutton (Canterbury) 80 points 5, Shelley Bridgeman (Auckland) 75 points 6.
Dunstan Horsefeeds Amateur Rider Grand Final Class: Jeremy Clark (Cambridge) Dynavyte Cancion HSH 1, Ashley Johnston (Whangarei) Miss Vee NZPH 2, Shanae McKay (Levin) ME Joy Ride II 3, Danielle Stanaway (Tauranga) The Invisible Man 4, Lara Quinn (Oakura) Outlander 5, Luce Williams (Masterton) Grassendale Enzo 6.
For full series results, head to www.nzequestrian.org.nz
For full class results, head to www.main-events.com
By Diana Dobson
11 April 2021