Blog #29, Springston Trophy & on to Equidays!

After a blogging lull post Olympics, Jane Thompson is back blogging before she heads North with the fine weather.

There was going to be a blog on “Returning from Rio” but unfortunately it didn’t happen as I dealt to the age-old case of a huge pile of work awaiting my return after being out of the country for a month. Unfortunately, equestrian journalism isn’t my only job and focus… but there’s lots of horse action coming up!

img_1716I did get to go to the Springston Trophy up in the Awatere Valley (Marlborough) and had a great time in what is a very beautiful part of the country. I have driven through Ward and Seddon countless times, and had never realised that just off the main road was some spectacular land, coastline and views (plus the beautiful Yealands vineyard and buildings where you can buy wine). Nor did I realise the extent of the vineyards planted. There’re grapevines from the coast to the main road, and continuing further inland on the other side of the main road. As far as the eye could see! The NZ wine industry is impressive, and I don’t think there is going to be any shortage in the near future of my favourite drop.

Every time I attend the Springston Trophy, I am reminded about what a great learning and fun opportunity these pony club teams events are for young riders. The kids were having a ball, and so were the parents. I can firmly predict that there are some young South Island riders who will continue the trend of rising to the top of our international equestrian scene.

The Motueka crew!
The Motueka crew!

I had the chance to talk to the team from Motueka, who were having a great time and were a lively bunch of youngsters. They were all very quick to say that “Jonelle Price is our claim to fame” – Jonelle was a very active member of the pony club in that area and competed at the Springston Trophy. Her team won the event in 1997 when it was held in Kaikoura. Her team mates were Denise Cederman, Sophie Goodey and Lisa McCarthy.

Jonelle has worked hard every step of the way (Image: Libby Law)
Jonelle in action (Image: Libby Law)

The Motueka Pony Club currently has 35 riding members; “lots of young girls” according to Emma Thomas (No 73 in the photo above). “We all do Jonelle’s courses when she comes home, we really love her.” Emma’s team mates suggested the 14 year-old might be the next one to follow in Jonelle’s footsteps, but she was far more modest about it.

Looking at some of the other names on the honours board at Springston there are plenty of familiar ones. Brent Jury was in the winning team in 1976 riding for Kaiapoi, and more recently Olivia Robertson (more than once!), Rose Alfeld and Maddy Crowe. Have a look at the honours board, there will be plenty of names you recognise, for sure.

Ben Longwell at a previous Equidays
Ben Longwell at a previous Equidays

It’s going to be a big week / weekend, with no time for anything else but equestrian (yay!). I’m heading up to the mighty Waikato for what is promising to be a very interesting weekend with so many things to cover at my first-ever Equidays. Horse & Pony is the media partner for Equidays so I will get to cover as much of the event as possible, from the clinics to the competitions and trade stand action! I’m going to be the “roving reporter” and posting on the Equidays’ Facebook page as well so make sure you like the Equidays page if you can’t be there, then you can keep up with all the action. Country TV are also there filming, so it will be all on.

I am bringing up North Canterbury’s fine weather to the Waikato, and the wet weather is going down to go to fix the drought in North Canterbury while I am away. The rain can even stay a bit longer when I get back, as I’ll need a good excuse to avoid getting back into my weedy garden and could probably do with a day or two inside to recover!

And while Equidays in going on at Mystery Creek, there’s the 4* at Pau in France where Caroline, Jock and Tim will be having a crack at winning their second big one – all of them have had one 4* win and many placings, but that second win would be sweet…

img_6234And there is a lot more equestrian activity ahead. With A & P shows, show jumping, the Adelaide 4* and the Christchurch Show and Race Week, the next month is going to fly by. Wonder if I will have time to do all the Christmas shopping at Equidays? Mum, do you need a new horse ornament or would another horsey scarf be OK?