Peanut making a meal of rivals

GOOD FRIENDS: Allie Harper and Dream Girl MH, aka Peanut.
GOOD FRIENDS: Allie Harper and Dream Girl MH, aka Peanut.

She's a cheeky diva with the nickname Peanut, and has a penchant for peppermints, preening and picking up titles.

Dream Girl MH has won pretty much everything going around in South Island dressage over the past two years, and is on the end of a particularly good six weeks of competition.

"She's a once in a generation horse," owner Allie Harper said of the 2011 New Zealand champion Hanoverian show horse.

Since the end of October the pair have claimed the champion level three title at the Southland dressage championships in Gore, before a superb outing at the 150th Canterbury A&P Show where they won the Bethell Salver supreme champion paced and mannered horse title, the Diana Rainey memorial equestrienne trophy and the Ataahua Stud trophy for supreme champion saddle horse.

Third overall in level three at the Canterbury dressage championships, Dream Girl MH was the champion level three and champion Hanoverian at the South Island dressage championships in Gore this month.

Harper has owned Dream Girl MH since she was weanling and the pair have developed a strong bond over the past six years, a bond made stronger after Harper nursed the champion Hanoverian back to health from a near-fatal condition when she was four.

The nickname Peanut came about because her sister was a much larger horse which went by the name Donut.

Like many involved with horses, Harper's devotion to her sport is consuming and she travels between 10,000km and 12,000km a year to compete.

Harper travels to Dunedin once a month to work with renowned German trainer Baerbel Foerster.

Foerster is now Auckland-based, but has had success with several southern riders, including Harper, Southland level two champion Kerrie Morrison, Southland reserve champion level one Marlene Parkinson and Otago level four champion Gillian Edgar.

Five of the top riders and prize winners at the South Island championships in Gore were trained by Foerster.