Invercargill teenager Nicole White completed a season of success at last week's prestigious Horse of the Year Show in Hastings.
The former James Hargest High School student, who triumphed in the high profile New Zealand National Young Rider of the Year competition in February, put the icing on the cake with her success in the national Speed Class title over 1.30m jumps.
For good measure she was an unlucky fourth in the New Zealand Lady Rider of the Year contest at her first attempt.
White, who is tutored by former United States instructor Jill Arllich, won the South Island Speed Horse Title in November when she also scored the South Island Young Rider of the Year award.
"I have been going to Jill for 10 years now and I want to stress that she has played a major part in making me the rider I am now," White said.
White and her upstanding 15-year-old crossbred gelding Cricklewood Ace, who stands 16.3 hands high, were in stunning form at Hastings.
White is in her second season with her mount, which was procured from former Matamata owner Eunice Williams for which he was an experienced competitor before spelling.
"I have been riding since I was three but this has been the best year I have managed and it has been an incredible season for me, certainly one I will never forget," White enthused yesterday. "My mount is very adjustable, versatile and athletic . . . we have forged a close and effective liaison."
The future looks brighter than ever for White after her first up fourth in the New Zealand Lady Rider of the Year title last week as a raw teenager who is still eligible to compete for another year in the Young Rider (Under 21) edition.
It is a distinct possibility that she and Cricklewood Ace will be selected in the South Island team to compete in Australia later this year.
Meanwhile, she has a chance to reflect on a year like no other while she works on a deer farm and studies for a sports degree.
- The Southland Times