Dannevirke's Logan Massie had a day to remember at the 2012 New Zealand Horse of the Year Show in Hastings on Friday.
The 18-year-old won the Young Rider of the Year aboard Kiwi Ludo (owned by Annette Scott and Massie) and was fourth in the Junior Rider of the Year aboard Double J Cloud Nine, after pulling a rail in the jump-off.
"I always back myself but this was a big step up for Ludo," he said.
Massie, who last year won both the Junior Rider and Pony of the Year crowns, headed off a 26-strong talent-stacked class.
"There were a lot of good combinations in there, and lots of good mates too."
The first round saw plenty of rails fall, with just four going clear and inside time. Massie, Tegan Fitzsimon (Christchurch) on Alacazam MH, Tim Myers (Taranaki) on Pick Me NZPH and Jake Lambert (Cambridge) on Quality NZPH all came back for a second round.
From that, Fitzsimon, Massie and Myers were all still tied on zero faults.
The jump-off was a superb display of the depth of New Zealand's rising talent. Fitzsimon was first out on Alcazam and despite a little heart-stopping moment at the second-to-last, they finished clear in 34.96 seconds.
Next was Massie who also had a hair-raising moment at the same fence but everything stayed up and they stopped the clock at 33.68.
Myers took a couple of rails and finished with eight faults and a time fault, but was by far the fastest time of the round.
"Tim was always going to be the danger man," said Massie, who is trained by Oliver Edgecombe and Lisa Coupe.
"Everything just went to plan for us today ... well, except when I dropped the reins coming into the second to last and even though we lost all momentum, Ludo saved me.
"Leopoldo [Palacios] built a very technical course out there that really gave the spectators something to watch."
Massie, who rides and works on the 1200ha family farm east of Dannevirke, is heading to Ireland in the winter, where he will compete in showjumping.