Cloud Nine for Dannevirke Teen

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Horse Of The Year

By Diana Dobson

Logan Massie is on cloud nine after winning the Pony of the Year crown at the 2011 NZ Horse of the Year Show in Hastings this evening (Friday). It was the battle of the greys in a heart-stopping jump-off between Massie's (Dannevirke) Kickin the Clouds and Lily Tootill (Auckland) on Millbrook – 17-year-old Massie in his last year of ponies and 14-year-old Tootill in her first ever Pony of the Year class.

Twenty seven combinations started the class, which was whittled down to 15 for the second round for those with eight faults and less. Only Kate Allen (Morrinsville) and Pioneer Jade were clear in the first round and it was hers for the taking – if she went clear in the vital second round. But it didn't go her way when she dropped two rails, forcing a jump-off – without her in it. Ahead of her five of those carrying faults had gone clear, and with faults accumulating over the two rounds, it was a costly mistake. So it was down to two.

Massie, who has had a brilliant season winning both the Pony Grand Prix series and national title, and just yesterday Junior Rider of the Year, and Tootill whose lovely 17-year-old mare won the Pony of the Year title in 2006 in the hands of Andrea Crothers, and just last month won the Children's FEI Challenge for her new young owner. Both horses looked handfuls, with Massie keeping a tight rein on his 13-year-old mare who clearly struggled in the charged conditions, and Tootill hardly batting an eye to Millbrook's cheeky little bucks.

Massie said he wasn't about to cut his young opposition any slack. “She's always dangerous so I wanted to put the pressure on her.” And he did, going clear in 42.77 seconds. Tootill almost pulled it off, but rubbed the first of the double and paid the price, coming home with four faults in 42.84. “It's like a dream to win this,” said Massie, “and it's something I've been aiming for for the past three years – to finally get it is just awesome.”

Tootill was also ecstatic with her pony. One of her goals for the season was to qualify for the Pony of the Year – she never dared dream she would finish second in the class. Earlier in the show she won the 1.25m championship aboard her other pony Tallyho Bandit.

Results - Farmland Pony of the Year:

Logan Massie (Dannevirke) Kickin the Clouds 1, Lily Tootill (Auckland) Millbrook 2, Kalah McKay (Levin) Kabo So Far 3, Rebecca Porter (Hastings) Chobidong 4, Hayley Lockhart (Auckland) Mia Amoray, Elle Phillips (Hamilton) Guess Once More, Shaun Fannin (Hawke's Bay) Barrel 51, Morgan Percy (Masterton) Surprise Illusion, Rebekah van Tiel (Auckland) Tui Gold, Laura Hutterd (Stratford) Spot you Later and Kate Allen (Morrinsville) Pioneer Jade =5