To the victors, the spoils: The Wairarapa-Wellington Mounted Games Team – Back row: Xanthe Furkert, left, Lucy Marshall, Alex Anstis (with team mascot), Piper Marshall and Jeremy Thurston. Front: Emily Jones, team manager Mary Beckett and helpers Lou Lou McNelly, and Sam Miller. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
It was celebrations all round for the host club, Wairarapa-Wellington, when the New Zealand Pony Club Association held their Mounted Games championships at Solway Showgrounds, Masterton on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Seven teams, each of five riders, contested the event with the Wairarapa-Wellington team of Jeremy Thurston on Copper, Alex Anstis on Poppet, Piper Marshall on Birdie, Xanthe Furkert on Honey and Lucy Marshall on Tommy taking away the major spoils.
Hawke’s Bay were the beaten finalists with Franklin Thames Valley placing third and Canterbury fourth.
It was an especially noteworthy effort from Anstis who was late call-up to the squad.
The Mounted Games were the first of two national championships to be staged by the NZPCA in Wairarapa this week with their national eventing titles also up for grabs, starting on Thursday and finishing on Saturday.
Thursday was the dressage at Solway while the cross-country was at Clareville on Friday and the showjumping at Solway on Saturday.
Thurston was proud of the team. “We had a few issues with ponies just before the competition. Three of our five games ponies were vetted out, so we had to scratch and reshuffle. Our recruits were awesome, both people and ponies, they really did us proud.”
”It was a hard won piece of silverware – the skill levels were right up there, and it was a hard road to that victory gallop – but it was great to be the ones galloping at the end of the day.”