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Saddle up . . . North Otago Pony Club teams gather at the Springston Trophy. From left: Andrea Dixon (manager), Jane Simpson (manager), Alex de Geest, Emma Gillies, Nelle Loper, Paige Hardwick, Jayda Loper, Samantha Gillies, Brooke Fodie, Zaria Kira, Maddy Neal, Tylar Ward and Janelle Gibson (coach). Absent: Debbie Nelson (coach). PHOTO: SUPPLIED

North Otago riders produced some good performances at the Springston Trophy recently.

The even better news? They will get to ride on home soil at the prestigious event next year.

Thirty-two North Otago people, including 11 riders, and horses headed to Rakaia for the annual gathering of South Island pony clubs.

Manager Andrea Dixon said the club was excited to be able to field two teams for the event, which features the eventing disciplines of dressage, cross-country and showjumping.

That was “the result of lots of travel to events leading up to the competition and training in order to be selected for the teams”, she said.

“We started our training programme back in April with the establishment of a squad. The idea behind this was to get as many people as possible exposed to the training opportunities to help with meeting the selection criteria for the teams.”

The club was “immensely proud” of the North Otago riders’ performances, Dixon said.

North Otago Red was one of 23 teams (out of 39) to finish with a “live score”, finishing 20th overall, while North Otago Navy claimed the Wooden Spoon Trophy, effectively for best of the rest.

That trophy is for teams who have dipped out on the cross-country stage, leaving them without a “live score”. They still get to compete in showjumping and add that score to their dressage score.

“We were fortunate to have two fantastic coaches, Janelle Gibson and Debbie Nelson,” Dixon said.

“These coaches bought a wealth of experience and knowledge, having both competed at Springston themselves over the years.

“As a club, we are looking forward to hosting Springston Trophy in Oamaru next year. This will coincide with our 70th reunion for North Otago Pony Club.”