Kiwi eques­trian icon Ca­tri­ona Wil­liams to be guest of hon­our

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

One of the most well-known fe­males in New Zealand eques­trian cir­cles is com­ing to the Wanaka A & P Show.

Ca­tri­ona Wil­liams, who rep­re­sented NZ on the in­ter­na­tional stages at Bad­minton in 1997-1999 and the Open Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships at Burgh­ley in 1999, will be the Wanaka Show’s 2016 guest of hon­our on March 11-12.

Af­ter a horse rid­ing ac­ci­dent left her a C6/C7 tetraplegic in 2002, Wil­liams has con­tin­ued to forge a suc­cess­ful ca­reer in sport horse breed­ing with her hus­band Sam’s fam­ily stud, Lit­tle Avon­dale, in the Wairarapa.

She is also widely known as the face be­hind the Cat­Walk Spinal Cord In­jury Trust and has earned na­tional hon­ours for her ex­ten­sive char­ity work rais­ing money and aware­ness for spinal in­juries.

Wil­liams will de­clare the Show ‘open’ on the Satur­day and will be a key­note speaker at a spon­sors’ evening at the Wanaka Show­grounds on Thurs­day, March 10, where she’ll talk about her in­volve­ment in the thor­ough­bred in­dus­try and her ef­forts with Cat­Walk.

‘‘A & P shows are re­ally im­por­tant to horse rid­ers – there’s a lot of pres­tige around do­ing well at A & P shows and peo­ple have high ex­pec­ta­tions,’’ she says.

‘‘The Wanaka Show pre­cedes it­self, and that’s why I’m so ex­cited to come down.

‘‘A lot of shows around New Zealand have lost their ap­peal but each year the Wanaka Show con­tin­ues to grow. Wanaka, be­ing a ru­ral place, still has that majesty, so it rates right up there as far as eques­trian events are con­cerned.’’

Wanaka Show co­or­di­na­tor Jane Stalker says she’s thrilled that some­one of Wil­liams’ cal­i­bre is so keen to come to the Show.

‘‘It’s an hon­our to have Ca­tri­ona here for the Wanaka Show. We know she’ll be a big draw­card for the hun­dreds of horse rid­ers com­pet­ing here, but her in­spi­ra­tional story also has wider pub­lic ap­peal,’’ she says.

The spon­sors’ evening on March 10 is to wel­come new ma­jor cor­po­rate spon­sors to the Show - Hire­pool, Plains Ir­ri­ga­tion, ANZ and Archibalds Mo­tor Group – along with Show strate­gic part­ner Farm­lands.

It will also dou­ble as a fundraiser for the Cat­Walk Spinal Cord In­jury Trust.

The 2016 Wanaka Show is the 79th an­nual event.

‘‘We’re look­ing for­ward to an­other fan­tas­tic Show with more than 500 eques­trian and live­stock en­tries com­bined and 450 trade ex­hibitors. As usual, there’s some­thing for the whole fam­ily and we look for­ward to an­nounc­ing more en­ter­tain­ment soon,’’ Stalker adds.

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