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Team spirit . . . North Otago riders (from left) Alex de Geest, Jayda Loper, Paige Hardwick, Maddy Neal, Nelle Loper and Zaria Kira show off their winnings. PHOTO: BRODIE BOTICA

It is a huge year for the North Otago Pony Club – and it has got off to a promising start.

A six-strong team recently finished sixth out of 25 teams at the South Island show jumping championships in Mosgiel.

Riders competed in two different jumping phases each day, and competitors and horses had to cope with extreme temperatures, testing both their patience and their endurance.

North Otago not only performed well over the jumps but also claimed the horsemanship title.

Up and over . . . Maddy Neal and Diva clear a hurdle at the South Island show jumping championships in Mosgiel. PHOTO: BRODIE BOTICA

The team consisted of senior riders Paige Hardwick (on Ivan) and Maddy Neal (Diva), intermediate riders Jayda Loper (Garnet) and Nelle Loper (Mel), and junior riders Zaria Kira (Shorty) and Alex de Geest (Rodger), accompanied by coach Chris Johnson and manager Andrea Dixon.

The big event on the calendar has special significance this year.

The North Otago Pony Club, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, hosts the massive Springston Trophy competition in October.