LEETON Mini Trotting Club hit the track for the first time for the new season at the Leeton Show with seven ponies competing in three races.
Some of the drivers were nervous about how their ponies might react to the colour, movement and noise of nearby sideshow alley and the freestyle motocross display on the inside of the track.
Fortunately all of the ponies got around without incident. Damascus did give onlookers a rodeo-style demonstration, but driver Dylan Smith handled the situation well and returned to the marshalling yard unscathed.
The club welcomed a new member, Olivia Gadd, who had her first taste of competitive driving at the show and left with a ribbon aboard Nanna Smoke.
The handicappers had their work cut out for them with all classes of ponies racing together, but as always they did a tremendous job ensuring all competitors left with a ribbon.
WINNERS from the Leeton Show mini trotting were (back from left) Olivia Gadd , Hannah Pitt , Dylan Smith, (front) Ryan Pitt, Keira Boots, Nikkita Smith and Siarne Deeves.
The first race was a battle of the fastest ponies with line honours going to Hannah Pitt aboard Little Secret. She was closely followed across the line by Willy Wagtail (Siarne Deeves) and Goldstar (Ryan Pitt), and these three were moved well back for the next race.
In race two, Olivia picked up her first blue ribbon with Nanna Smoke first to cross the line.
After coming from well behind, Goldstar had a great run and finished second for Ryan ahead of the youngest driver Kiera Boots and Mickey Lightning Bolt.
The final pony trot for the evening saw Kiera improve on her previous result and cross the line first on Little Mickey.
Nikeeta Smith successfully drove Seven to second place and brother Dylan managed to steer Damascus into third.
At the completion, president Barry Pitt took charge of the formalities and presented Leeton Show Society ribbons to all of the evenings placegetters.
The 2013 Leeton Show champion mini trotter was Willy Wagtail and it would have been hard to find a more excited recipient than his new driver, Siarne Deeves.
Siarne has just retired her faithful pony Cinderella and taken the reigns of Willy, moving from the smallest, slowest, most consistent and predictable pony in the club to one of the biggest, fastest and newest, making for a happy ending to a stressful week.
Leeton Mini Trotters' next outing will see them return to Lin Gordon Paceway on November 30 at the next scheduled meeting of the Leeton Harness Racing Club, hitting the track before the first race on the card.