• Hawke’s Bay Area Pony Club gallops to national victory

Hawke’s Bay Area Pony Club gallops to national victory

The Hawke’s Bay Area Pony Club Eventing Team has won the New Zealand Pony Club Association Eventing Championship for the first time in 51 years, and after a challenging start to the year.

The annual eventing championship event, now in its 66th year, saw 15 teams from around the country compete in dressage, cross country (XC) and show jumping (SJ) at the National Equestrian Centre in Taupo over the weekend.

The HBAPC team consisted of six girls across three levels: Carys McCrory (Captain) and Emily Marett in A1, Madison Fitness and Carmen Mitchell in DC and Anna Devescovi and Lucy Robinson with Charlotte Harding (Reserve) in MT.

Not only did the HBAPC win the Perpetual Challenge Cup, but Emily also won the New Zealand Horse Society A1 Challenge Cup and Madison won the Dorothy Campbell Trophy.

Managers Lysbeth McCrory and Shona McCloud were also recognised with the Team Management Award.

Lysbeth says it was very special for the team to win on the back of what the region has gone through.

“Honestly, I think everyone was so happy that Hawke’s Bay won. It was just amazing.

“All girls rode beautifully in dressage and the top four riders were all clear in Cross Country (XC) and Show Jumping which meant we won by a clear margin after a nail-biting few days of competition.

“The girls handled the pressure of being overnight leaders after Cross Country and supported each other so well.”

While none of the girls were personally affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, Carys, also a member of the Equestrian Sports New Zealand Talent ID Squad, said they have many friends who have lost everything, including their horses and ponies.

“Everything from a supportive message to the donations and fundraising to help with the recovery is so appreciated. The outpouring of love and support from the equestrian community has been nothing short of outstanding.”

Emily competed with her pony Nigella in her first championship.

“It was absolutely incredible; the atmosphere and everything,” the 19-year-old said.

“I had no idea going into it that we were going to come out on top. It was surreal and hasn’t really sunk in yet.”

Madison competed with her 12-year-old bush pony, Damarlie, and says she is proud of how things went. 

"Finishing my showjumping and realising that I had won my class was definitely the highlight." 

She competed last year but did not place. "The amount of hard work I put into training him really helped us get to this point."

The 16-year-old student at Karamu High School has been riding for 14 years. "The competitions and being able to travel around is what makes it fun."