Keira Page is bowing out from ponies on a high, after securing the Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series aboard the very talented Redcliffs Colour Me In.
But it didn’t all go their way in the grand final. The Mystery Creek combination were eliminated in the first round after the pony landed in a hole, lost her confidence and did not want a bar of the second of the double.
However, she has a theory. Her father Tony has never seen Keira and Redcliffs Colour Me in win . . . and there have been many opportunities especially when you consider the horse has been placed in all but two shows – the first and the last of the season.
“Usually it is just me and mum,” says 17-year-old Keira. “Dad thinks he is the jinx.”
It just so happened Tony was standing right at the double today too. “I told them I shouldn’t have come,” said Tony, “but they made me!”
Keira has had the mare for five years. “She’s very particular and likes things just how she likes things. There’s no standing still or holidays either . . . she just loves to jump.”
Before today, they had never been eliminated either and have had just four rails from 14 grand prix starts this season.
The pony has never been competed by anyone else and Keira has brought her up from just 80-90cm classes to Grand Prix level where she has an enviable record. This is their first-ever series win and they led from the get-go.
The horse draws plenty of attention in the ring as she competes in a western bosal but at home her preference is just a rope on her neck or a halter.
“She really is a pony of a lifetime,” said 17-year-old Keira. “It kind of sucks to end like that (with an elimination).”
Both mum and daughter admit for a while they did wonder whether it would be the next rider who got the very best out of the mare, but then she found her stride. Together they have been on the winning Saba Sam team, placed second at National Championships, won the 1.2m championship at HOY and more, but Keira says the series win is most certainly the highlight.
Today’s grand final was not without drama. Eighteen started the class with those on 12 faults or less coming back for the second round. There were just three clear rounds in the opener, coming from Ella Rae-Wood (Greymouth) aboard Tallyho Primrose, local hope Penny Borthwick (Masterton) on Foxdens Merlot and Emma Gillies (Oamaru) and Benrose Playtime – each of whom kept their slates clean with double clears. Also going clear in the second round were Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) aboard Te Ngaio Raggamuffin, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) aboard Tony the Pony, and Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) and Wembleybrook Tiffany but all were carrying penalties from the opener.
The class was also the swansong of former Pony of the Year winner Tony the Pony who has now retired after a hugely successful career. Today he and Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) rode a brilliant super speedy clear as their last round in a competition arena.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series: Keira Page (Mystery Creek) Redcliffs Colour Me In 141 points 1, Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Benrose Playtime 136 points 2, Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) Wembleybrook Tiffany 132 points 3, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 123 points 4, Georgie Wilson (Taupo) Showtym Boss 110 points 5, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxdens Merlot 94 points 6.
Country TV Pony Grand Prix Series Grand Final: Emma Gillies (Oamaru) Benrose Playtime 1, Ella Rae-Wood (Greymouth) Tallyho Primrose 2, Penny Borthwick (Masterton) Foxdens Merlot 3, Johanna Wylaars (Christchurch) Wembleybrook Tiffany 4, Rylee Sheehan (Te Aroha) Tony the Pony 5, Molly Moffatt (Christchurch) Te Ngaio Raggamuffin 6.
For full series results, head to www.nzequestrian.org.nz
For full class results, head to www.main-events.com
By Diana Dobson
11 April 2021