It rained rosettes and ribbons - and chocolate - for a promising young Levin horse rider who cleaned up at her first competition earlier this month.

And at just six, there will be plenty more ribbons for Kendall Hamilton, who took her two ponies to the National U25 Dressage Championships in Taupō for the first time.

Her success was reward for hard work, as every day she woke early and "mucked out" before heading off to Fairfield School.

Later in the day she attends to her horses with grooming, feeding and watering, and makes sure they are rugged appropriately for the weather.


Kendall has special names for her horses other than their proper titles. Pied Piper Top Shelf and Pied Piper Ben 10 are just Ouzo and Ben.

She rode both horses in the Led Rein section for riders aged under nine. She had entered two ponies, meaning she had to ride eight dressage tests over the two days of competition.

The Taupō event had officials from New Zealand and overseas judging riders from North and South Islands and as a national competition, the standard was high.

Kendall won all four of her tests on either pony, and also won the overall Led Rein Under 25 Dressage Championship on Pied Piper Ben 10.

She was awarded the title, medal, a dress rug and sash. Kendall won eight rosettes, as she placed on both ponies in all her tests.

The Led Rein section was a new one, and this year organisers decided to make prizes more fun and child-orientated. There was prize money for all other events, but in the Led Rein section Kendall won sweets and chocolates.

Kendall's great aunt Cindy Pender helped her with her horses and said dressage was a test of how obedient a horse could be under instruction from a rider, and how accurate and athletic a horse could perform set movements.

Dressage is often said to be like watching a horse dance, especially to music. Dressage tests are ridden in an enclosed rectangle arena and the test must be learnt and remembered.