Equestrian roll of honour for riderSave
Paraparaumu College student Meg Dempster, 17, followed in the footsteps of several equestrian Olympians claiming the New Zealand Pony Club Eventing Championships Dorothy Campbell Trophy.
Her name will appear on a roll of honour that reads like a New Zealand equestrian who's who.
The title has been won by five Olympic riders, and while Sir Mark Todd has never claimed it, his illustrious mount Charisma took the award twice with Sharon Deardon in the saddle.
Competing for Manawatu-West Coast at the Whangarei event was only Meg's fifth competition aboard her seven-year-old thoroughbred mare Pixie Caramel.
She had planned to seek selection riding her sister Anna's former mount, Bombay Sapphire with which she won a national accumulator series. Shortly before selection trials began the pony suffered an injury forcing her to find a replacement mount.
"We looked all over the country and then found Pixie virtually on our doorstep," Meg said.
"We got her in December from local eventer Tayla Mason."
The partnership "just worked" from day one, with Tayla mentoring the young rider in cross country and showjumping and Equestrian Sport New Zealand coach Frankie Webb working on the dressage.
The family moved to Waikanae after father Alan was tragically killed in a farming accident on their Pauahatanui farm.
Since she was seven years old, riding has been in Meg's blood.
Mum Alex is a keen rider and president of Waikanae Pony Club, sister Anna is an accomplished event rider and provided the initial inspiration for Meg to take to the saddle, while cousin Margaret Harris has represented New Zealand in dressage and was founder of the Ferndale Equestrian Centre which operated in Waikanae for decades.
Being selected to ride at the NZPCA champs was a huge thrill, but not surprising asMeg won or placed in all four of the qualifying trials.