Steffi Whittaker had one last chance to win the Pony of the Year title after trying since she was just 12 years old. On Sunday in Hastings, at her fifth attempt, she finally made that happen on her super pony Moonlight Glow.
“I really can’t believe it. I was in the perfect position having to go first [of the clear rounds] in the second round. I knew I could go clear, and my coach Duncan [McFarlane] said there would be heaps of faults so stick to the plan and ride it as if the time was tight.” He was right, as Steffi did jump clear, and set a solid time of 56.61 seconds for Emma Watson on Fun House and Phoebe Burns on Galaxy Masterpiece to beat. Both gave it their best shot but while their times were definitely faster, the two rails each took ruined their chances of claiming the win.
With her 17th birthday looming on Tuesday, Steffi has made the hard decision that 17-year-old Moonlight Glow (‘Blazey’) is to be sold.
“He is for sale, but only to the most perfect of homes.”
At the show to see her win were Steffi’s grandmother and grandfather, who had bought the pony for Steffi. He had belonged to Jessica Sonne, who also competed him with success. “He’s taken us everywhere, to the bottom of the South Island to wonderful trips to the North Island” said Judith Blackmore, Steffi’s very proud grandmother. “This kid is a very hard worker. She helps Jeff and Trace, who train standardbreds, all the time. She did lots of work with the 11 yearlings for the sale, even leading them in the sale ring.”
Ruby Mason and Mr Acho finished in second place, having a clear second round, after one rail in the first.
Third place went to Georgia Percy and Surprise Illusion, the fastest of the eight-faulters, with Sophie Scott and Benrose Playtime fourth.
Last year’s winner, Tony the Pony and Ally Carson finished in ninth place.