Skyla Bellingham and My Gemma Bear taking out the BOP & Waikato SH Groups 12 & Under Equitation Series – Photo by Michelle Clarke



  • Bay of Plenty and Waikato Show Hunter Groups 12 & Under Equitation

  • Vero Insurance Cat A High Points Series

Skyla Bellingham’s smile says it all.

It may be just first ‘proper’ season at show hunter, but she’s made it one to remember, winning both Bay of Plenty and Waikato Show Hunter Groups 12 & Under Equitation Series and the Vero Insurance Cat A High Points Series aboard her very special pony My Gemma Bear.

The 11-year-old from Northland, along with mum and dad Haylee and Roy, twin sister Amber, and younger siblings Tahan and Zane have clocked up an impressive amount of kilometres this season trapsing to shows all over the upper North Island.

But it’s all worthwhile when you ride off with not one, but two series.

This is her second season with 14-year-old Gemma who she lovingly calls “the big ginger ninja in the paddock”. The pony is a seasoned and very successful campaigner and known for her big ears.

They spent last season getting to know each other before taking a far more serious approach to things this time round.

At the beginning of the season it was all about getting out and doing it, but as they clocked up the wins – and the points – the equitation series came onto the horizon.

Skyla and her Ginger Ninja wearing the spoils from winning the Vero Insurance Cat A High Points Series for 2023-2024 – Photo by Michelle Clarke


The family didn’t even realise Skyla had also won the high points until she was announced the winner at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show. She won it by a single point ahead of Lily Kent and Ataahua Rapture. “It was a fantastic surprise,” says mum Haylee. “We were more focused on the equitation and figured whatever would happen just would in the high points.”

Skyla took the equitation by five points from runner-up Savanna Styles.

‘Skyla is very dedicated to her riding and really puts in the hours. She does like a beautiful round and is quite the perfectionist. As she has gotten to know more about it, she wants to do the best round she can.”

She and Gemma love to hack over their dairy farm, but Skyla says her beloved pony gets a little frustrated by the slow pace of the cows.

The Bellinghams love the family atmosphere of show  hunter and say the children have all gathered some lovely friends.

Skyla is trained by Jo Thomas, Sharla Cochrane-Tangney and mum. She’s off to do a little eventing now the show hunter season has ended and is keen to do more showjumping next season as well as her show hunter events.


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Diana Dobson – 19 March 2024