Chance of a lifetime for young showies

What a wonderful opportunity for these six young showing enthusiasts!

The wonderful Hickstead showgrounds
The wonderful Hickstead showgrounds

Six New Zealand youngsters are about to have the opportunity and trip of their lives when in July they travel to England to participate in the Equestrian Challenge. The riders, aged between 14-19 years, will participate in the annual Equestrian Challenge, a showing competition between New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. The team is:

  • Denby-Rose Tait
  • Lily Moss
  • Maia Waretini-Anderson
  • Chloe Roach
  • Tyler Porteous
  • Amy Sage

The team fly to London via Singapore where they have a stopover for a couple of days. Once in the UK, they will travel to Wales for the Royal Welsh Show. Run over four days, July 18-21, this is the biggest agricultural show in Europe, and is held in the village of Llanelwedd near Builth Wells.

With a 12-hour programme each day, the show is packed full of exciting entertainment, and last year’s attendance was a whopping 242,726 people. It’s a celebration of all things Welsh, and features horse riding, carriage driving, livestock, domestic animals, food, drink, horticulture, forestry, crafts, live music, games and sports.
While there will be plenty of Welsh ponies at the show, there will also be Shetlands, riding ponies, palominos, thoroughbreds, mountain and moorland breeds, cobs, shires, working hunter, coloured horses and side-saddle classes, both in-hand and ridden.

After the Welsh show the team head to the Longines Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead, which offers everything from the thrills of international show jumping to the elegance and glamour of champion showing horses and ponies. For showing riders, it is exclusively a championship show, and the culmination of many months of qualifications throughout the winter, with a host of prestigious classes for many types and breeds. Each year the very best of these battle it out for the British Horse Society Supreme Horse and the Underwood Supreme Pony championships.

The team will return home after this, stopping for two days in Los Angeles.

They have provided profiles of themselves on the RAS Equestrian Youth Squad Equestrian Team Facebook page.  You will be able to follow some of their progress on that page too.

Denby Rose Tait on Oaklanes Up the Tempo in 2015. Photo Annie Studholme
Denby Rose Tait on Oaklanes Up the Tempo in 2015. (Image: Annie Studholme)

Denby-Rose Tait: I am 15 years old and live in Puketitiri, Hawke’s Bay. I am currently a year 11 boarder at Iona College, Havelock North. I live with my parents Lynette and Rob along with my older brother Lochie and younger sister Brenna. Along with riding I am a Hawke’s Bay representative hockey player and have recently been selected in the Hawke’s Bay Under 18 Woman’s Team. I enjoy participating in school sport and teams including Cross-Country, Athletics and have been a member of the 1stX1 since year 9. I have ridden since before I could walk and was lucky enough to be born into a very equestrian orientated family. I first began competing in showing when I was four on my 11hh Welsh mountain pony Hill View Camellia and have never since looked back. At 10 I became lucky enough to purchase my ‘One in a Million Pony’ Oaklanes Up the Tempo (Ginge) who skyrocketed my riding career to heights I never imagined achievable. The highlights of my career would be winning the 138cm and Under Saddle Hunter title at the 2015 New Zealand Nationals, Winning the 13.2 Saddle Hunter Pony of the year 2015, the Supreme Saddle Hunter Pony of the Year 2015 and being privileged enough to compete at the EA Championships in Werribee, Melbourne, representing New Zealand all the while aboard my gorgeous Ginge. Early this year I said goodbye to my best friend in order to pursue a show jumping career for my last season aboard ponies. However, I couldn’t possibly be parted from showing forever and will continue to be privileged enough to ride and compete on the stunning Nala ponies. The season ahead holds many exciting things with the stud, continuing on with those who I was lucky enough to ride last season and bringing out future stars under the incredibly helpful and knowledgeable eye of Alan Windle, who has been such an great influence on my riding career. I’m so beyond excited to be travelling to England to compete, it’s a dream of mine that I am lucky enough to be able to make into a reality! 

Lily Moss: I am 18 years old and have grown up and completed my schooling in sunny Gisborne along with my younger brother Oliver who is 15. While at Gisborne Girls’ High School I was a member of the equestrian team and a prefect in my last year. Over the summer months I have been working at KS Show Horses in Havelock North.
I grew up surrounded by horses as Mum rides dressage and Dad’s sisters are involved in racing and show jumping. My riding career started in the dressage arena and at pony club before we purchased Dragonwyck Peeping Tom from the Booth Family. He was a fantastic schoolmaster and I adored him. From there I went on to a six-year partnership with Te Peka Gabbana. Together we successfully competed in the Saddle Hunter ring and Dressage up to Level 3 (Elementary). Highlights included multiple champions and supremes in paced & mannered classes, third in Saddle Hunter Pony of the Year, Runner-Up in the Elementary FEI Children’s Challenge and Level 1 Dressage Pony of the Year.
Phoenician Night Girl has been my horse of a lifetime and together we have gone places I could only dream of – winning at the NZ Nationals in Large Pony, In-hand Pony and Galloways. She has taught me so much and really shown me both the highs and lows of the show ring!
I was lucky enough to ride Mum’s horse in the Park Hack ring over the 14/15 season. She was the best horse for me to transition into the hack ring and together at HOY we were third in Park Hack of the Year and Runner-Up in the Gee Wizz Memorial. It was a huge buzz to place in such a historical class.
I have learnt so much this season handling youngstock and schooling novice ponies at KS Show Horses and I’m really looking forward to going back next season. Sarah Bostock and Michele Stowe have been so supportive and helpful since we met four years ago when I purchased KS Rose D’Or (Posh) off the stud. Posh is the coolest pony and I love watching her in the ring with her new family.
I have realised that the show ring is my true passion and in years to come I plan to produce and eventually breed riding ponies and Galloways. Showing is such a unique sport and I have made some amazing friends and travelled almost the length of NZ from Auckland to Ashburton. I have not yet competed outside NZ and I am so excited to be heading offshore. 

Maia with the garland donated by Sarah Cronin
Maia with the garland donated by Sarah Cronin at his fundraising show

Maia Waretini-Anderson: I am a 17-year-old male from Christchurch. I have been riding horses since I was eight and haven’t stopped. I love everything equestrian. I am the youngest in my whanau, and am an uncle to three beautiful nieces. I have recently left school, having completed year 12 and NCEA level 2 to pursue equine opportunities before concentrating on career options. I’m currently in Auckland riding track work and schooling green horses and ponies. During my school years I have played many sports, including football, volleyball and badminton.

A few highlights of my riding adventures would be winning the Shetland Grand National Steeplechase on both nights of the Extravaganza at the 2010 Horse Of The Year, on Beech Croft Storm Cloud. Stormy and I went on to achieve Reserve Champion In-hand Shetland and Reserve Champion Ridden Shetland. Another HOY highlight for me was coming runner-up in in the ridden Welsh title class on my pony Glendale Eve, the same year. Then Eve and I went on to compete in every pony club individual and team event except Springston Trophy. 2014 was also a great year for me and my team, winning supreme ridden Welsh at the South Island All Welsh Show, as well as winning Supreme Performance Exhibit at the Canterbury All Welsh Show on our Welsh cob Arawa Roscoe. In the following years I hope to produce a few more horses of my own, and am still on the look-out for a talented young project horse that will also accommodate my height.

Chloe Roach: I am 19 years old and live in Cambridge. I am currently working at Kendayla Park and in the process of studying business management looking to major in agri-business at Waikato University. I am one of three children, having an older brother Taylor and a younger sister Billie.
Riding is something I have always done. I was lucky enough to have horsey parents, it really is something I never could give up. I love attending the shows throughout the season, it is so much fun when it’s something my whole family enjoys doing together. I began showing nine years ago on my 12.2hh saddle hunter pony. I have learnt a lot since then with the assistance of my trainer Amanda Berridge and also support from Anne Hjorth. I was lucky enough to have had the exceptionally well-bred Sentinel of Rathowen (AUS) to learn the ropes on; he was a super schoolmaster for myself and my sister, and is now happily retired at home. I have been very lucky to have ridden some top ponies and horses during the time I have been showing. Some highlights of my showing career are Supreme Champion Medium Show Pony at the NZ Nationals 2012 on the ever-beautiful Sentinel of Rathowen, Supreme Hunter Pony of the Year 2011, New Zealand-Bred Pony of the Year 2013, Runner-Up Intermediate Show Rider of the Year 2014 on the very handsome hunter pony Tirohanga Kiwi Cocktail and Rising Star Small Show Pony of the Year 2016 on the simply stunning Linden Fine Art.
I have competed at the Equestrian Australia Show Horse & Rider Championships in Melbourne twice, once in the Hunter Galloway class & once in the Intermediate Rider class. It is such an amazing show, I love attending.
This coming season I will be bringing out my novice park hack that I have recently broken in, Brookfields Von Strauss. I will also continue assisting Billie with her team of show ponies, and we will be bringing on more young novice ponies for Linden Riding Pony Stud to show. 

Tyler Porteous on Willowcroft Distinction back in 2014. Photo Annie Studholme
Tyler Porteous on Willowcroft Distinction back in 2014 (Inage: Annie Studholme)

Tyler Porteous: I am 16 years old and in live in Kaiwaka, Northland. I live with my parents Ainsley and Neville on a dairy farm, along with siblings Blake, Lexi and Leroy. I am year 12 at Otamatea High School and enjoy participating in school sports which includes athletics, cross-country, Interschool equestrian and badminton. Along with my equestrian results these have helped me receive best all-round sportswoman for the past two years.
started riding at the age of three in lead rein with my first pony Aranui Ice Maiden and have continued to compete in showing. My highlight would be winning Supreme Pony of the Year 2012 on Willowcroft Distinction and having the opportunity to compete at the EA Championships in Werribee, Melbourne, representing New Zealand. I was also proud to have produced Ashton DB Signature in the last season as my first hack as well as his first season under saddle, with results including Top 10 Novice Horse at NI Premiers and many champions from A&P shows. He also qualified for Level 1 Dressage Horse of the Year.
For the next season I will be helping my sister Lexi transition on to Willowcroft Distinction as well as bringing on our young pony KS Beekeeper. I will also continue to bring on my OTTB, competing in a variety of disciplines. 

Ataahua Allure & Amy Sage in 2015. Image Annie Studholme
Ataahua Allure & Amy Sage in 2015 (Image Annie Studholme)

Amy Sage: I am 17 years old and in year 13 at Saint Kentigern College in Auckland. I play in the 1st XI girls’ hockey team which I am vice captain of, and the team recently travelled to Melbourne to play. I also enjoy going to Queenstown and skiing. I have two older brothers, David and Richard, who are currently at Canterbury University studying engineering. When I leave school at the end of this year I am thinking of studying business, but I know for sure that my future will involve horses! 

I have been riding since before I could walk and began showing when I was 10 on my Welsh pony Greenlee Sungold. My real passion for showing developed when I was lucky enough to get Mansfield Park Magnolia when I was 12. Our highlight was definitely winning Show Pony of the Year in 2013. Another pony who was very special to me was Ataahua Allure and together we took out the Wonder Memorial Turnout at HOY in 2015. In the 2015/16 season I competed Maxwellton Tuesday Treasure and Woodrow Delta, both young ponies I have produced myself, and the highlight of the season being taking out Intermediate Rider of the Year. This win qualified me to compete at EA Nationals in Werribee in December which I am hoping to attend. As my days in the pony ring have come to an end, I am moving on to hacks next season. I have already had a start in the park hack ring on Mum’s horse Christopher Robin and I am hoping to do riding horse and rider classes on my seven-year-old Hanoverian mare RM All About Me. Along with showing I will also be aiming to compete her at Level 5 dressage next season.

Travelling with the team will be the manager Megan Hawkins. Kevin Cholmondeley-Smith is hoping to go too, but it will depend on his health.

As riders are responsible for their own costs, every little cent will count, so if you can, please support these riders.

Maia has started a fundraising page which can be found on this link.  His family have also been having garage sales, running raffles and a fun show day which has been covered in our separate article on this link.  You can catch up on what else is happening on his Facebook page