Size no issue for small horses at Hawera Kidz Kartz cup
Racing harness horses runs in the family for Jordyn Bublitz.
"I've been with harness racing since I was a baby and then I've been doing Kidz Kartz for seven years," the 15-year-old said.
"It's just family blood, third generation. It's pretty big, my whole family's in it."
While her brother spent the Easter weekend racing in Australia, Jordyn travelled down from Cambridge to race in Hawera where she took home the 2017 Hawera Cup.
The competition was run by the Taranaki Kidz Kartz club in between the races of the Hawera Harness Racing Club's Easter meeting.
The ponies must be smaller than 15 hands high, around five feet, to compete, with the smallest barely reaching knee height at around five hands.
Some of the riders, who range in age from 10 to 16, weren't much bigger themselves.
Jordyn said it was the first time since 2014 that she had raced in Hawera, and it was also her horse Chaos' first racing season.
"If he wins this it'll be his first cup," she said before the final race.
It turned out to be tight, with Jordyn coming out on top after six races on 49 points while Brianna Thomas came in second on 48 points and Shania Thomas came in third with 45 points.
Another driver, Tayla Collins, 16, said she had been interested in horses ever since she was five, but had become interested in harness racing when her partner introduced her to the sport about three years ago.
"It's just the the adrenaline rush running down the straight, it's great," she said.
"It's the wind blowing through your hair, it's good."
While her weekend racing Turbo hadn't gone to plan, she was looking forward to next weekend when she would be heading up to Cambridge and Auckland for the Lizzie of Rosslands meeting.
"Yea, it could have been better but yea, it's fine. He'll get there," she said.
"I've driven him every race this season."
Taranaki Kidz Kartz president Kelvin Ellis said while there was a range of sizes among the horses competing, they all had a staggered start to give them all a chance.
Even Phoebe, the smallest horse at the meeting, had won a race on Saturday.
"We run 300 metres and the bigger ones would be closer to 400," he said.
Children started off in the club at eight, when they learned how to harness and care for the pony and the gear.
Once they turned 10, they had to pass a three day course before they were allowed to race.
"That's the same with the ponies, if you've got a new pony they have to pass a three day course as well," Ellis said.