Ashleigh McKinstry’s victory in the Taupo Veterinary Centre CCN105-L Open was made all the more special because it was on a homebred horse she has brought all the way through the grades.

“To win means all the hard work is paying off,” said the Taupo-based rider. “I am very proud.”

Eight-year-old Pioneer Ice Monkey is ¾ thoroughbred with a little bit of Trakehner. He is by Constance Maranello and out of Pioneer Supersonic, who the McKinstry family also bred. “I have ridden him from the year dot.” This is his first season competing.

The combination led from the start, with a 27.7 penalty point dressage effort, and adding nothing through the cross country or showjumping tests.

The top five all finished on their dressage scores, with Kirsity Bale (Whangarei) and Kelaray Gifted second on 30 and Carys McCrory (Hastings) aboard Nemesis third on 31.4. Fourth placed Kate Potter (Hamilton) and Decoy Dee won the ESNZ Eventing board chair and deputy chair award for the best-performed first-time competitor in the class.

“You always hope to finish on your dressage score, but we were early to go, making for a long way to the end,” said Ashleigh.

She knew he was more than ready for the showjumping today when he was super cheeky in the yard this morning. He trotted up and warmed up well too.

“I do get a little stressed before I get on but in the end you just appreciate what they do for you and hope for the best.” She took the showjumping one part at a time but says the Pip Howells-designed course was good for her.

Today was his first win at 105 level and Ashleigh is confident he has the talent to go all the way. On hand to watch her win was her mum Carmen, with dad Chris opting to stay away. “He thinks he is bad luck!”

Results –

Ashleigh McKinstry (Taupo) Pioneer Ice Monkey 27.7 1, Kirsity Bale (Whangarei) Kelaray Gifted 30 2, Carys McCrory (Hastings) Nemesis 31.4 3, Kate Potter (Hamilton) Decoy Dee 32.2 4, Abbey Thompson (Te Kauwhata) Cadbury KSNZ 32.5 5.

For full results, head to