Arrowtown teen Krista Officer (right) aimed to get to the national endurance riding champs – but she never thought she’d place third in her event.
The 15-year-old raced around a one-star 107km course near Masterton in 6hr 43min 59sec, just 15 minutes behind the winner.
Endurance riding is a test of a rider’s ability to make their horse go a range of distances and speeds while keeping the animal’s health in check and heart rate low.
Krista appeared in Mountain Scene in February needing sponsors to get to the Easter nationals with her Arab mare Sunny Brae Antonia (above) – after winning the South Island 100km endurance champs.
Local businesses and residents came to the party, offering cash and support. Krista’s sister Holly, based on Great Barrier Island, also raised $1000 selling raffle tickets.
Just weeks out from the big event, her horse Antonia “tied up” – becoming too stiff to compete – so Krista was forced to find a replacement mount.
To the rescue came Malton Lydia, owned by her coach and mentor Kevin Brosnahan.
“I didn’t expect to get third,” Krista says.
“Without [the publicity and sponsorship] I pretty much wouldn’t have made it up there.”