I was born at Huntly and grew up in the Railway settlements of Whangamarino, Te Awamutu and Frankton as my dad was a shunter on the NZ Railways.
I have always loved horses and as a child, my horses were my dad’s tomato stakes that I used to gallop around on.
I taught myself to ride at age 12 by reading a book on “How to ride a Horse” and I used to go once a week up to a local farm to ride their farm horses.
I purchased my first horse at age 18. I used to ride him out at my school friend’s place at Whatawhata Research Station as he was used by the shepherds to ride out into the hill country to muster the sheep. He was named Bill and I called him Billy Boy, a lovely chestnut gelding with flaxen mane and tail.
I have three children, five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter aged 6 who is crazy about horses. My daughter Paula Stuart competes very successfully on her Grand Prix Dressage horse Aztec Lad and I usually go with her when competing.
I own a grey Registered Dutch Warm Blood mare named Heidee and bred two lovely foals from her.
I sponsored two Kaimanawas from the 2014 muster and they were named Trooper and Sarj after I ran a competition on Facebook for their names. Jo Baird did an amazing job in training them and I used to visit them on the odd occasion. They are both sold now and Trooper is now playing polo.
For the past four years, I have been involved in the War Horse Memorial Project as President of the Waikato Combined Equestrian Group Inc. Now that the Unveiling has been completed and the war horse statue gifted to the Hamilton City Council for the people of Hamilton and the nation, I have turned my attention on assisting with the Kaimanawa Horses.
This is my second year on the committee and I hope I can be of assistance to help out in whatever capacity I can.