Tristan Thomas rides Matai Zarite, winners of the NZPH & A1 Equine Reproduction 7 Year Old Breeders Series. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography


To some he’s just a Chemistry and Physics teacher, and the co-ordinator of learning at Rotorua Boys high school, to others he’s a Latin and Ballroom dancing star on the charity event Dancing for Hospice, but to us – aboard his pocket rocket Matai Zarite, Tristan Thomas is the well-deserved winner of the NZPH & A1 Equine Reproduction 7 Year Old Breeding Series.

The dream started when an eleven-year-old Tristan rode his cousins horse and since then, that passion has extended into a lifestyle that has become a family affair.  “Mum held the fort down at home when I was at Uni and now it’s become everyone’s passion. My sister rides, but she is currently at Uni, and my brother is my chief warmer upper! Whilst it’s still a hobby, it’s one that we all share and have a common interest in, and we have some exciting homebreds coming through”.

Whilst Tristan thinks that the age group series is really special as “you are competing against each other, but also alongside each other, and it’s really cool to see the progress and development of horses and riders over the three to four years of the age series”, the seven year old’s was the first series he contended with his special mare. “We mainly did local shows as a five and six year old as that worked best for us and we wanted to make sure Zari stepped up at the right time, it was all about producing a horse for the future. This season she was confident, and we managed to have a really successful season.”

Tristan owes his win to Zari’s consistency as while he didn’t win the most classes, this combination was placed in all eleven of their starts – including winning the National Young Horse 7 Year old title. “I’m typically known for going slow, one time fault in the first round is just me! Some shows I did push her against the clock more than I usually would have, but I don’t ride for the time, it’s more about jumping a double clear. If she’s jumping good and clear, then I’m happy!”

As some would know, Tristan is a man of many talents as he was also recruited as a dancer on ‘Dancing for Hospice’, a charity event based on Dancing with the Stars. “I got completely roped into it through teaching and was completely out of my comfort zone. I did thoroughly enjoy it and it has made me more comfortable in dancing the different latin and ballroom dances, but I think I’ve probably retired from dancing now!”.

So while we may not see Tristan on the dance floor in the near future, we are sure to see him back in the ring next season. Not only does he have some young homebred horses coming through, he aims to step his 7 year old champion mare up to Grand Prix. “I think she’s ready, I will just focus on getting her fit and confident’.

NZPH & A1 Equine Reproduction specialise in Sport Horse Breeding, Artificial Insemination – Fresh & Frozen, Scanning and Foaling Down. 


Jumping Series Results for the NZPH & A1 Equine Reproduction 7 Year Old Breeding Series 2023-2024:

1st Matai Zarite (117 points)

owned by Tristan and Claudia Thomas, ridden by Tristan Thomas

Sire Euro Sport Centavos / Dam Matai Perigree Moon by Corofino II   Breeder Carin de Groot


2nd Riverhills Legend (112)

owned and ridden by Tara Gower

Sire Euro Sport Centavos / Dam Destiny by Ranfurly   Breeder Sue Gower


3rd WSJ Cartalusa (93)     

owned and ridden by Daniel Webb

Sire Cartell GNZ / Dam Calusa by Euro Sport Centavos   Breeder Daniel Webb


4th Double J Odin  (91)

owned by Wendy Jacobs and ridden by Sam Carrington

Sire Double J Repicharge / Dam Ophelia NZPH by Barbarian   Breeder Double J Stud (Robyn Jacobs)


5th Sienna MVNZ (82)

owned and ridden by Grace Percy

Sire Leopoldo MVNZ / Dam Heidi by Cassini I   Breeder Mount View Sport Horses


6th Goldfinch GNZ (71)

owned by Deidre and Nicholas Grant and ridden by Nicholas Grant

Sire Eurocommerce Pennsylvania / Dam LS Dream On by Distelfink   Breeder Golden Grove stud


21 May 2024