Country lass wins top title

16:00, Dec 09 2012

Pig-hunting country girl Ashleigh McKinstry captured one of New Zealand's premier eventing titles by winning the Puhinui International Horse Trial three-star event yesterday.

The 20-year-old from Owhango - 45 minutes from Taumarunui - and her part-Kaimanawa home-bred horse Pioneer Makokomiko headed off series leader Donna Smith from Te Kauwhata to win the three-day title.

McKinstry and her mount dropped a rail in the showjumping phase yesterday but had created enough of a lead to hold off the challenge from Smith on Just Chocolate.

Pioneer Makokomiko was bred by the Mckinstry family on their Owhango farm, with Mckinstry describing him as a real character with an attitude who was quite a handful initially.

Smith recovered superbly from a nasty spill on her other mount, Balmoral Sensation, during the cross-country on Saturday for a faultless round on Just Chocolate to finish on 63.8 points, 2.4 behind Mckinstry, with Simon Gordon on third with 69.4 points.