Heartbreak for rider

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
Horse For SAle

RELUCTANT SALE: Much-appreciated donated equipment can’t replace a stolen competition saddle for Sophia Newth so her horse Tonto is being sold.

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A young rider is likely to give up showjumping after losing vital gear in a theft.

Greenhithe Pony Clubbers Sophia Newth and her sister Ella had more than $7000 worth of equipment stolen.

Showjumping is unsafe without a suitable competition saddle, mum Fiona Newth says.

Sophia's competition horse Tonto has been put up for sale.

The break-in happened at the pony club just before Christmas.

The thieves got away with more than $10,000 worth of gear, including Sophia and Ella's equipment, and they injured an already hurt horse.

But club president Carrie Walker says members have been buoyed by a range of public donations.

An open day and a raffle sponsored by businesses, raised more than $1500 while Birkenhead's Abraccia School of Dance hosted a theme night raising another $500. Equestrian suppliers have jumped in and donated gear to the hard-hit Newth sisters.

Dairy Flat couple Mark and Ronelle Trumper heard about the girl's plight and supplied $500 worth of gear.

"How would we feel if it happened to us? It was great to be able to help out," Mr Trumper says.

An anonymous donor and retailer Saddlery Warehouse gave another $700 of gear between them.

But it's unlikely to be enough to keep Sophia's showjumping career alive.

However her mum Fiona Newth is amazed by the response to their plight.

"It's been wonderful, it's tied us over, it's such a positive thing," she says.

But a modified stand-in saddle isn't suitable, despite hundreds being spent on it, Ms Newth says.

"It's not like getting a pair of shoes."

The Newths remain grateful for the help, saying thank you with cards and home-baking.

Chelsea Thorowgood, brand manager for the Saddlery Warehouse, says she really appreciated their gesture.

"It was such a good feeling, they came in and they were so happy," she says.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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