Darfield rider leads Kiwi success

by Kent Caddick

Darfield teenager Leah Zydenbos has helped the New Zealand Mounted Games U17 Team to a world title.

The Rangi Ruru Girls’ School Year 11 boarder and her teammates were named World Champions at Equitana event in Auckland over the weekend.

The riders compete in a variety of mounted games with New Zealand coming out on top with teams from Australia, Ireland, and England holding the next top spots in the U17 competition.

Rangi Ruru’s equestrian director Pippa Young said it was a tough competition with Leah, riding her borrowed mount Cheeky, and her team going up against some of the best equestrians in the world in a very close competition.

“It was very tense in the final particularly, with two eliminations and a tie-breaker in the very last game of the competition,” she said.

“Leah and her team mates worked so hard to triumph over the riders from all the other countries, with Australia, Ireland and England being particularly strong.”

Ms Young said Leah was the first rider out for many of the crucial games in the final.

Leah was also a key part of the school’s success at the South Island Schools’ Mounted Games held at the Ellesmere Showgrounds in April.