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World Equestrian Brands: Ridiculously Epic New Zealand Cross Country Race

New Zealand native Sapphire O’Connell affixed a GoPro to her helmet for her first attempt at the annual Haimona Pirini & Hone Tamati Memorial Cross-Country Race at the Pawarenga United Marae Sports Day, and the final product is pretty epic.
Screenshot via YouTube.

Screenshot via YouTube.

Sapphire O’Connell entered this year’s Pawarenga race as the only girl on the only Thoroughbred in a field full of Northern New Zealand boys who typically traverse the countryside in whatever type of tack they can find — or sometimes without tack at all!

So it was Sapphire who took a lot of flack from her fellow entrants as they anticipated the start of the race that would take horse and rider down the beach and through some pretty harrowing landscape at high speed.

But Sapphire and her 14-year-old Thoroughbred, Rusty, were right up with the quickest at the start of the race and never gave up their position.

While a couple brave souls attempted the race bareback (we see how well that worked out in the video!), most seemed to get by with a hodge podge of mismatched tack and apparel. Helmets seem to be a rare commodity in this part of the world — according to Horse and Pony Magazine, this is par for the course in this race.

Will Sapphire and her speedy Thoroughbred successfully navigate the tricky terrain and show those boys how it’s done? You’ll have to watch to find out. Hang on tight!

You go, girl. Go riding!

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