By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk
It wasn’t just winning the Kidz Kartz New Zealand Cup at Addington that made Caitlin Schneider happy. It was the fact she won with Mr Darcy, a pony she took on as a “project”.
Three years ago the Auckland teenager bought the purebred Welsh pony off Trade Me for $1500.
“I saved up and saved up. He was an unbroken two-year-old and I did all the work with him. It’s very satisfying to win it – I was very proud.”
Named after Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the now five-year-old had an all-the-way win in the New Zealand Cup in front of a big Show day crowd though he was very nearly run down by the fast finishing Chaos and Kate Coppins and Seth Hill and Gizmo.
“I was pretty nervous because in the parade he galloped and I thought ‘oh no’ – but he flew. Sometimes when he races at the front he looks around and waits for the other horses.”
But she quickly adds , “he’s improving all the time”.
After starting out in Kidz Kartz as a six-year-old, this was Caitlin’s first New Zealand Cup win after finishing second in her only other appearance in 2018. It will also be her last as she’s reached the 16 year age limit.
The year 11 student at Rosehill College is now en route to Auckland with her first exams on Friday. She’s hoping the return won’t be as eventful as the jouney south, which was fraught by delayed ferry crossings because of bad weather, and then their truck running out of diesel near Kaikoura.
A career as a lawyer is part of her longer term plan though Caitlin says she’ll always be around horses.
“I’ve grown up with them, and while I ride horses too, I click more with driving.”
Already the holder of a stablehand license, Caitlin says in the years ahead training and driving winners is very much on the radar.
Her next big race will be the Kidz Kartz Auckland Cup on December 31 – and then at the end of the season in April she’ll say farewell to a sport that’s been a big part of her life for a decade.