Emily Mcmaster And Onetai Covergirl (cat C)
Emily McMaster wins the Cat C Show Hunter Pony of the Year with Onetai Cover Girl at the 2024 Land Rover Horse of the Year. Copyright: Michelle Clarke Photography

Emily McMaster figures her LRHOY debut could just be her best week ever.

The 17-year-old from Greytown won the Cat C Show Hunter Pony of the Year with her extremely consistent Onetai Cover Girl, taking it by 13 points. “It was nerve-wracking but honestly it was just the best,” she says. 

Emily was determined her last year on ponies was going to be her best, and she did it in spades, also winning two series. “She has been super consistent throughout the season and is just a real star.”

She’s had the 18-year-old mare for three years and while they have dabbled across the disciplines, show hunter has been their focus. Emily, who is trained by Rebecca Conole and Ginny Thurston, loves riding to “perfection”, so it’s a good fit for her and the mare.

“With her being so consistent all season we did think we had a chance at the title but really any of us have a chance on the day. This has been a goal of mine for a very long time.”

Tully – as she is known at home – is “super kind and with a lovely nature”. “She only wants to please and always gives 110%. She really is a real live unicorn.”

Making the most of their LRHOY experience, they also placed second equal in the Pony Club showjumping teams’ event for the Wairarapa/Wellington Pony Club, and were second in the Showjumping Equitation and Reserve Champion Hunter Jumping Pony of the Year too. “It was quite a busy show!”

While their results in the ring have been impressive, the season did have a bit of a hiccup when Emily broke her arm riding someone else’s horse at the start of the year and was side-lined for six weeks. “I ended up walking Tully around the arena and had a good friend who came and rode her for me to keep her fitness up.”

Tully has now been sold to her “forever” home. “It is just what we wanted – a good loving home over price. She’s going to a lovely home in Marton with a little girl who will carry on in Show Hunter with her.”

Emily is off to university next year so is looking to lease a horse for the season. “I am super stoked to be going out on a high but sad to sell Tully as it was her who introduced me to show hunter and the best pony anyone could ask for.”  

For full results, head to https://www.evoevents.co.nz/resultClass/2135886027/145/9