Day At The Track

Pixie the sacked pacer turns to showjumping

04:58 PM 31 Oct 2013 NZDT
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Georgia Calder and Pixie.png
PROUD OWNER: Georgia Calder and her horse Pixie

When Georgia Calder first rode Pixie, the horse didn't even know how to step over a pole on the ground.

Now the pacer, who was sacked from racing for being too slow and was given to Calder, is hoofing it with some of the best on the South Island show jumping circuit.

But Calder, 16, has her sights set on a new goal - competing Pixie against the best showjumping combinations in the country at the prestigious Horse of the Year (HOY) Show in Hastings in March.

To help fund her venture, the North Canterbury teen has turned to social media.

Last week, the Rangiora High School student set up a Facebook page, A Standardbred's Journey to Horse of the Year. The page already has more than 1000 followers.

"I would really love to take her up to HOY but we aren't the richest and it's really expensive, so the only way I could do it would be with sponsorship. So this is my journey of trying to get sponsorship and getting to HOY with my standy (standardbred).

"Yes, she sometimes paces and leaps over jumps but she isn't bred for this and she tries her absolute heart out every single time," Calder says on the page.

Encouragement, advice and offers are pouring in.

Leanne Clarke commented: "Good on ya! Best of luck, I'm a true believer that a horse is a horse, no matter what their breeding is."

"Amazing you have shaken up the horse world ... keep on going and don't let any one put you down cause of the breed of your horse," Alaina Lumsden said.

Calder, a member of the Belfast Pony Club, was overwhelmed by the support she had received. But it has not always been that way.

"It's really exciting. I wasn't expecting it. I was expecting maybe 20 likes," she said.

Calder said she had faced a bit of flak for showjumping and eventing a pacer.

Some said Pixie was "not worth the time and effort", she said.

Calder was determined to prove everyone wrong - and has succeeded.

"She [Pixie] has proved every stereotype about standardbreds wrong."

Calder has formed a special bond with Pixie, who was likely "destined for the meat works" if Calder had not taken her on as a project.

"I ended up loving her too much and couldn't sell her," she said.

"She would do anything for me. She gives 110 per cent every time.

"She wouldn't even walk over a pole the first day [I rode her] and I look at her now and she makes me so proud."

*Attatched is a video of Calder and Pixie in action

By Carolne King (Courtesy of © Fairfax NZ News)

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