Penny Borthwick rides Rednalhgih Cowan earlier in the season –  Photo: KAMPIC / Jaimee Whittaker


Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series


Penny Borthwick heads out of ponies on a high having taken the quinella in the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series with her superstar team Rednalhgih Cowan and Foxden’s Merlot.

It is the second time on the trot the teen from Masterton has finished first and second in the prestigious pony series but last year it was Foxden’s Merlot in front with Rednalhgih Cowan in second.

“It is very sad it is my last year on ponies,” said Penny. “Both of them are so consistent and I do enjoy riding them.”

It’s been a challenging season for everyone and Penny said it was disappointing to have shows cancelled or rained out.

Chasing series is never her plan. “We don’t go to shows just for points. We just do our normal shows and what happens, happens. It’s all about looking after the horses so they aren’t over-jumped.”

Both ponies are 13, and she’s had Merlot for six years and Rednalhgih Cowan, who has been sold, for two-and-a-half years. “The Pony Grand Prix Series is always very fun and competitive. I have quite a lot of mates in it so we all enjoy it and it’s also fun for the ponies.”

It’s very special for the 16-year-old to win the series once again. “It’s pretty cool really, especially given all the time that goes into it.”

She extended a huge thanks to her parents Sarah and Paddy who supported her to follow her passion, as well as Country TV for their sponsorship of the series.

Penny has had a bit of input from trainers Jesse Linton and Wendy Jacobs but generally does her own thing. “I like walking the courses by myself – it’s just how I have always done it. Then I just make my plan and stick to it. It helps that I know both my horses so well and what they can and can’t do in the ring. It’s about making what I can do on the day happen.”

In the grand final (co-sponsored by Little Avondale Stud) seven came back for the second round where only Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) and Larabelle kept their slates all clean to take the class. Four faulters Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) aboard Te Ngaio Raggamuffin and Isla Bowley (Wellington) with EB Esperanza both went clear in the second but had to settle for second and third respectively. Molly Smith (Timaru) with Vapour Trail NZPH was fourth and series winner Penny Borthwick on Foxden’s Merlot was fifth.


Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Rednalhgih Cowan 154 points 1, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxden’s Merlot 137 2, Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) Te Ngaio Raggamuffin 125 3, Molly Smith (Timaru) Vapour Trail NZPH 123 4, Samantha-Lee Wakeling (Wellsford) BMW Sharpshooter 121 5, Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) Larabelle 117 6.


Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series Grand Final (co-sponsored by Little Avondale Stud): Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) Larabelle 1, Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) Te Ngaio Raggamuffin 2, Isla Bowley (Wellington) EB Esperanza 3, Molly Smith (Timaru) Vapour Trail NZPH 4, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxden’s Merlot 5, Sofia Williams (Masterton) Black Betty 6.


For full results, head to


Diana Dobson – 16 April 2023