Two talented Queenstowners have been picked for a trip of a lifetime amid a stellar equestrian season.
Grace Mannerswood and Anna Nesbit will this year head to the United Kingdom for an inaugural six-week jaunt that culminates in the prestigious Pony Club National Championships in Derbyshire.
They’ve been chosen as part of a six-strong Otago-Southland team who’ll compete on borrowed horses against some of Britain’s best riders aged 21-and-under during the three-day event in August.
The selection follows two other season highlights for the teenagers.
Grace, 19, and Anna, 18, recently became the only riders in the South Island this year to achieve the highest level in New Zealand Pony Club – the A certificate – after an intense four-and-a-half hour ridden exam.
The University of Otago students have also been involved in trialling for the New Zealand-hosted Inter-Pacific Exchange, a three-day event against riding teams from Australia, Japan, Hong Kong, the United States and
Canada in May. Anna subsequently made the five-strong Kiwi team.
Two weekends ago, Anna also won the final Otago-Southland area trial in Tapanui, securing a place on the Otago-Southland Pony Club team which will attend the national champs in Taupo in April.
Grace’s mum Shane Mannerswood says the girls have had an “amazing” season.
“They’re very excited with their trip to the UK.”
Grace, in her second year towards a finance degree in Dunedin, and Anna, in her first year, will forgo their second semester for the overseas excursion, which also involves visiting stables, stud farms and polo yards. They’re also seeking funding to help pay for the trip.
“It’s something for the local riders to aspire to,” Mannerswood adds.
“We’ve got a very strong pony club in the Wakatipu, and this helps build the momentum.”