Nga Tawa’s southern experience

What made a North Island school want to travel to the South Island to compete against the Pony Clubs there?

The girls from Nga Tawa at the prize giving (Image: Jane Thompson)
The girls from Nga Tawa at the prize giving (Image: Jane Thompson)

For the second year in a row, Nga Tawa School competed in the South Island’s Springston Trophy – the only North Island team to have done so. Fifteen horses, 17 girls, eight parents and the coach made the trek down from Marton to Marlborough to take part.

Libby Rayner watching Laura Hare on Yandina showjump
Libby Rayner watching Laura Hare and Yandina in the show jumping (Image: Jane Thompson) 

Libby Rayner is the action woman behind this great adventure for the girls. “I competed in seven Springston Trophies. It was such a great experience I wanted to share it with my students,” she says. Libby is originally from the Marlborough area and represented the Marlborough, Nelson, West Coast team.

Maddy Meier on Master Cruise (Image: Jane Thompson)
Maddy Meier on Master Cruise (Image: Jane Thompson)

Having a North Island team compete at what has always been a South Island exclusive event originally raised a few eyebrows, but the Guardians of the Springston Trophy originally agreed to this. The rules were not clear on whether it was just for South Island pony clubs, so to gain clarity, the Guardians recently took the question of whether North Island clubs could compete to the other participants, and it was a definite “yes”.

Libby was delighted with this news. “The hospitality here for the teams is so welcoming. Everyone has been amazing, and we are extremely grateful to be allowed to come.”

Katrina Vagg on My Oliver, part of the Nga Tawa Navy team (Image: Jane Thompson)
Katrina Vagg on My Oliver, part of the Nga Tawa Navy team (Image: Jane Thompson)

Libby acknowledges that there is the Timberlands teams event for North Island pony clubbers, but it was the inclusion of the 105 class in the Springston Trophy that made it especially attractive for the school to travel to the South Island. The girls also get to learn a lot about travelling horses and competing away  – and enjoy the legendary southern hospitality.

Ocean Bay ridden by Christy Lo (Image: Jane Thompson)
Ocean Bay ridden by Christy Lo (Image: Jane Thompson)

The Nga Tawa Gold team finished a very creditable fifth, with two of the riders (Rebecca Anthony on Otairi Sarge, and Christy Lo on Ocean Bay) finishing on their dressage score.

Rebecca Anthony on Otairi Sarge (Image: Jane Thompson)
Rebecca Anthony on Otairi Sarge (Image: Jane Thompson)

Based on the outskirts of Marton, Manawatu, the girls’ school boasts a proud equestrian history. The students benefit from having their own pony club, a branch of the Rangitikei Area. Many boarders have their own horses and ponies at the school, which has an on-site equestrian centre. There are also equestrian qualifications that can be gained at the school.

Eloise King on Shevchenko (Image: Jane Thompson)
Eloise King on Shevchenko (Image: Jane Thompson)

Nga Tawa is planning on making the trip again next year when the Springston Trophy will be held in Rakaia.

Isla Cottrill on Fun Times (Image: Jane Thompson)
Isla Cottrill on Fun Times (Image: Jane Thompson)
A Touch of Blue ridden by Rebecca Christensen Robertson (Image: Jane Thompson)
A Touch of Blue ridden by Rebecca Christensen Robertson (Image: Jane Thompson)