Tears Flow at Apatu Wins Pony of Year Crown
The IRT chute erupted with shrieks of joy followed by floods of tears as Havelock North teen Olivia Apatu realised she had won the Farmlands Pony of the Year title. It’s been a season-long goal for the 14-year-old but when she ended up head-to-head in the jump-off against series leader Emma Watson on Maddox Fun House. Thirty combinations started the class with 10 coming back for the second round. Just Watson and Sophie Scott aboard Benrose Playtime had clean slates. Apatu and Alasaan Arzu carried four from their first round, along with seven other combinations. However, when Watson took the last fence, it forced a jump-off. Apatu was first out and while she rattled a few, came home clear in 43.98 seconds. All the pressure in the world was on Watson who nudged the first of the double before taking two rails to finish on eight faults in 40.13 for second. Both girls rode out of the ring in tears. “It doesn’t feel real,” said a very emotional Apatu. “I am over the moon! She’s had the pony two seasons and credits her phenomenal success to her trainers Jesse Linton and Sally Clark. The family have already turned down offers for the pony who Apatu says will never be sold. Linton describes the teen as the best student a trainer could wish for. Results – Farmlands Pony of the Year: Olivia Apatu (Waipukurau) Alasaan Arzu 1, Emma Watson (Morrinsville) Maddox Fun House 2, Sophie Scott (Wellington) Benrose Playtime 3, Grace Manera (Christchurch) Tallyho Scoundrel 4, Ella Wylie (Invercargill) MF Spot Me 5, Ally Carson (Putaruru) Tiger Tale LS 6.