Horse trials ended months ago in the North Island and that meant equestrian sports competitors from Nga Tawa School entered the Mitavite Springston Trophy cold.
Every year the action finishes in April in the North because of the wet winter conditions that bog down the terrain, which makes jumping dangerous.
Nga Tawa School director of equestrian Libby Rayner said the Springston is the largest pony club competition in the Southern Hemisphere.
"We didn't do as well as we'd hoped, the cross country course they had down there was quite influential," Rayner said.
"We went in cold, not having had a build-up to get to the championships, which is always the risk when we go and it didn't quite pay off this year."
Two teams of six from the Nga Tawa Equestrian Academy competed in dressage, cross country and show jumping at the event in Oamaru.
Last month, Nga Tawa School hosted its first ever international equestrian event, with New England Girls School from Australia coming to New Zealand and claiming the spoils.
Rayner said the trip south was a good opportunity for her to get some juniors involved that weren't able to participate in that experience.
"The juniors did okay, two were a bit green and didn't quite finish the cross country course, the intermediate riders were fantastic and one senior rider was the standout.
"That was Emma Gibb, she was consistent, she did a nice dressage test, a fast cross country and a clear show jumping run. You can't ask for more than that."
The Springston Trophy concluded equestrian team competitions for the year and was won by the red team from View Hill in Canterbury.
"The serious equestrian sports New Zealand season kicks off now and I've got a heap of girls competing every weekend all around the North Island," Rayner said.
"It will culminate at the horse of the year show in March, that tends to be the pinnacle that everyone is hoping to peak for."