Top-20 finish for trophy team

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The Eastern Southland South Otago Springston Trophy team came 16th out of 39 teams in the weekend.

Gemma Johnson (14), Kayley Johnson (16) and Aimee Johnson (11), all of South Otago, Susan Whyte (16), of Tapanui, Brylea Eaves (13), of Gore, and Danielle Roberts (15), of Riversdale, are from different pony clubs but combined to make a team for the Springston Trophy in Rakaia last weekend.

The began on the Thursday for helmet safety inspections and ended on Sunday.

Riders completed three sectors of the competition – dressage, cross-country and showjumping – during the four days.

To finish as a live team, four out of the six riders had to dodge disqualification.

Rider Brylea Eaves said she enjoyed the showjumping the most.

“It was raining on showjumping day. Luckily, I was first up, so the ground was not so mushy,” she said.

Brylea’s mother, Philippa Eaves, attended the event with the team and said they did incredibly well.

“A top-20 finish is really good, considering that is the whole of the South Island and, in comparison to the other teams, we were a very young team; like, our two seniors were 17 and 18 and the age limit was 24,” Eaves said.

“When you break it down, we were the third-placed Otago Southland team.”

The cross-country course was the most difficult for most teams, Mrs Eaves said.

“The cross-country was very technical and the jumps were big .. when you’re competing with an animal, you can only do what you can do on the day.

“One of our riders had a claim to fame when they were the first rider to dismount in the water.

“Thirty-nine teams started on cross-country day and only 23 finished live. That shows how much carnage there was, and that was across junior and senior levels.”

Brylea said the event was being held in Oamaru next year and she planned to take the mistakes she made this year and “learn from the things that went wrong”.

“I will make sure my horse is more prepared next year. My horse had a few hiccups because he does not have as much experience,” she said.

“I have ridden at Oamaru before and knowing your course and how it feels makes it easier, so that will help.”