An emotional Natasha Connolly could hardly believe it when her name was read out as the 2018 Saddle Hunter Horse of the Year at the Horse of the Year Show this evening.
Natasha, a hairdresser from Nelson, and her lovely World Edition travelled up from the South Island and captured their first ever HOY title.
“I’m over the moon, I never thought anything like this would happen to someone like me,” she said.
“I was surprised. It was a tough field, there were lots of stunning saddle hunters – you never know what to expect.”
Natasha has ridden from a young age but only seriously got into showing in the last three years.
She has owned 14-year-old Tigger, as he is known at home, for just over a year. The horse is a warmblood and was bred by Miranda Sage.
“He’s very lazy but, like any warmblood, he has a few quirks – he’s a typical ginga.”
Her goal was to come to HOY, have fun and do a safe workout. “It wasn’t to win anything, and I thought a ribbon would be a bonus.”
Not only did she win a ribbon, she got the title.
“The experience has been awesome. I would bring him up again because he was a dude, he’s been so easy.”
She wanted to thank her trainer, Rachel Thomas, and her head groom – her mum. “And all my friends who have helped me, they know who they are.”