Tony the Pony of the Year

5 Mar

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Ally Carson’s season just keeps on getting better.

The 15-year-old from Putaruru and Tony the Pony won a hotly-contested Farmlands Pony of the Year class heading home some of the season’s smartest combinations. Last month, the classy combo also won the national pony championship title.

Twenty-four started the class with 10 coming back for the second round, with just three leaving their slates clean.

First out was Carson who looked on track to post a speedy clear round until the troublesome last fence, and the Bostock planks came tumbling down leaving her with four faults in 43.59 seconds.

Next out was former Pony of the Year winner Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) aboard the grey she has recently sold, Kabo Silver. When the first fence dropped, she hit the gas, knowing she needed a super time to take the win. It wasn’t to be, and she finished with eight faults in 45.1.

Last to go was Olivia Dalton (Auckland) aboard Simply Samantha HH who took the second of the double and also stepped up a gear to try and better the time. However, two rails and a time of 48.05 saw her finish in third place.

Carson, who is coached by Duncan McFarlane and Helen McNaught-McFarlane, was ecstatic.

“It feels amazing,” she said. “Just amazing! He (course designer Werner Deeg) made us think.”

Ally Carson rides Tony the Pony to win Pony of the Year, Horse of the Year 2016, Hastings Show Grounds, Hastings, Saturday, March 5,  2016. Credit: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

Ally Carson rides Tony the Pony to win Pony of the Year, Horse of the Year 2016, Hastings Show Grounds, Hastings, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Credit: KAMPIC / Sarah Lord

She was pleased to be first out in the jump-off as it kept a bit of a lid on her nerves.

“I just had to put the pressure on those following me,” she said. “I was just lucky they both had rails too. Everyone had high hopes for us because we have been going so well this season.”

Carson comes from a very non-horsey family – her parents Kris and Vance are dairy farmers – but she and elder sister Drew have quickly made a name for themselves in showjumping circles.

“Our neighbours down the road got us started and I did a bit of Pony Club, eventing, show hunter and now showjumping,” she said.

She and Tony are also leading the Country TV Pony Grand Prix series.

She’s had the 14-year-old bay pony, who was bred in Australia for polo, a season-and-a-half. He’s a popular pony and much-loved by many. He was bought for $200 as a two-year-old by Atlanta Olympics silver medallist Sally Clark.

He was then broken in by Maurice Beatson and did a little competing with Hannah Burnett-Grant and Rebecca Dalrymple before landing in the hands of Emily Fraser. It was a very successful partnership and together they won the pony grand prix series back to back as well as placing at national championships and in Pony of the Year.

Carson was also fourth equal in the Pony of the Year aboard Tiger Tale LS and on the Waikato team to finish second in the prestigious Saba Sam Shield.

Mum Kris said there had been plenty of tears accompanying the win.

“We are a very emotional family,” she said. “We go to any show with no expectations . . . to win this is just unbelievable.”

She put much of the success down to them surrounding themselves with good people.


Results –


Farmlands Pony of the Year: Ally Carson (Putaruru) Tony the Pony 1, Briar Burnett-Grant (Taupo) Kabo Silver 2, Olivia Dalton (Auckland) Simply Samantha HH 3, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Fun House, Steffi Whittaker (Canterbury) Moonlight Glow, Ally Carson (Putaruru) Tiger Tale LS and Olivia Ahlborn (Napier) Aorangi Ragtime =4.

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