Emotional Whittaker bags Pony of the Year
The only double clear of the competition secured the Pony of the Year title for South Islander Steffi Whittaker and Moonlight Glow.
An emotional Whittaker was clearly thrilled to win the class, thanking her granddad and nana for giving her the pony in front of a packed grandstand.
“I told granddad before we left, if I don’t get it this time I’m never going to get it.”
There were 24 starters in the two-round competition over the course set by German course designer Werner Deeg.
Heavy rain the previous day meant all showjumping competitions were cancelled for the day and the Pony of the Year was re-scheduled for Sunday morning.
Despite the difficult going there were three combinations with a clean slate after the first round. They were local rider, 12-year-old Phoebe Burns on Galaxy Masterpiece, Morrinsville’s Emma Watson on Fun House and Christchurch’s Steffi Whittaker on Moonlight Glow.
All those on four faults or less returned for the second round, which meant there were 11 to jump a second time.
Local rider Ruby Mason and Mr Acho was the only four-faulter to jump a clear second round, adding nothing to her first round tally, much to the delight of the crowd.
Then Whittaker came out, the first of the three riders with a clean slate. She clearly meant business and threw down the gauntlet to the two riders still to come with a super clear in 56.61.
Her plan for the second round was to be clear and quick, “but don’t go too crazy”. She knew she needed to go clear to win.
Despite the tough conditions her pony jumped well. “I thought it (the ground) might be a bit dodgy but he jumped super.”
Neither could match it, Watson had two rails for 8 faults, as did local hope Burns, leaving Whittaker as the only double clear of the competition and the winner of the Somerset Fair Cup.
Mason’s second round clear was enough to lift her up to second, Georgia Percy was third with Surprise Illusion with one rail in each round for a total of 8 faults, and Sophie Scott and Benrose Playtime were fourth, also with an 8 fault total over two rounds.
Emma Watson and Fun House had to settle for fifth and Phoebe Burns finished in sixth place.