Ka pai is a Maori expression you hear around New Zealand that translates to “OK” or “all right,” as in “everything is ka pai.” So there couldn’t be a more fitting name for Jordan Shrimpton’s patient mount than Ka Pai Kiwi.
Shrimpton and Ka Pai Kiwi were competing at the Rakaia Mitavite Springston Trophy, a major team eventing competition for New Zealand’s South Island Pony Clubbers, when she ran into a bit of trouble.
“ ‘Tui’ is a little sticky jumping into water sometimes; she’d never stop, but she can give a funny jump in,” said Shrimpton, who is a B-rated Pony Clubber. “I was happy when she popped in beautifully, and I didn’t think anything of the next jump in the water [after which these photos were taken]. To be perfectly honest I have no idea how it happened, or how I ended up on her neck.
“The funny thing is all I was thinking about was staying on, and it happened so quickly that I didn’t realize that it was even impressive until the finish line, where a crowd of people, even people I did not know, ran up and congratulated and hugged me,” she continued. “My coach Becci Thomas received a text instantly, saying ‘What brand of glue do you use on your riders, and where do I get some?’ ”
All Photos by Jane Thompson
Shrimpton, 16, was especially proud of how calm Tui, an off-the-track Thoroughbred with a “need for speed,” was.
“Whilst falling, I just patted her and said, ‘Woah, Tui’ a few times to bring her back,” said Shrimpton. “This, combined with the colorful wall of pony clubbers screaming at me to get up, made her stop in shock of it all. Even once she stopped, I thought to myself, ‘I don’t actually know if I can get up from here. I am so far gone!’ but having all eyes on me and being captain of the View Hill White team, I used everything left to drag myself up. The second I hit the saddle I was off at the gallop, and she jumped the last five fences and the last water beautifully.”
Shrimpton finished cross-country clean, without even a time penalty, to help View Hill White team finish sixth out of 39 teams. She credits her stickability to coaches Becci and Liz Thomas—and to Tui.
“What Thoroughbred would stop, facing the truck park where 17 of her friends were tied, while her rider clambered all over her after galloping a whole cross-country course?” Shrimpton said.
This Finish Line article appears in the Chronicle’s Nov. 13 & 20 print edition, which also includes a compelling round table discussion with cross-country course designers Michael Etherington-Smith, Derek di Grazia and Eric Winter on how they balance difficulty with safety in designing tracks, in-depth coverage of the Washington International Horse Show, Virginia CCI*, Pau CCI****, and more. What are you missing if you don’t subscribe?