Robyn North may be the ‘new’ president and event director of the BNZ Kihikihi International Horse Trial committee, but that could be seen as stretching the truth a little.

The horsewoman from Cambridge has been involved with the event since its inception in 1997 and her latest stint is the third time she has returned to the fold.

North was actually involved when it was the Waikato Horse Trials Group. The Crossing closed and Heather Nicholson (John’s mother) came to a meeting and suggested building a course at the Kihikihi Domain.
Back then there was a lot to be done – and that was before a single hammer or nail was picked up to even build a single jump.

“We had to get approval from all the other clubs involved at the domain,” remembers North. “That included rugby, polo, rugby league, cricket and speedway – it was a mammoth task in that alone with so many sporting groups to work around.”

But history tells they did it right. “We got stuck into Kihikihi and jumped through a lot of hoops . . . but it worked. It has been a great learning curve for the lot of us I think. It’s funny too, as we were always told we couldn’t run an event there.”

She credits the Houlbrooke family – Cathy, Murray and Bevan – and the Nicholsons for doing so much behind the scenes. “It was a small committee and everyone worked very hard.” And now she is back again, heading a committee of 12, and once again, there is plenty of graft going on behind the scenes.

In her ‘spare’ time, North is a keen rider and coach, and is working her way through the ESNZ Coaching Programme. “I am a serial organiser I guess!”

She competes in showjumping at amateur level and is planning to ride in the pre-novice at Kihikihi. “I guess you could say I am an amateur fun rider who would always like to do better.” But before that happens, there is a lot to be done to ensure another top event.

“Every event presents new challenges and we are always looking at ways to do things better . . . it’s just like riding.” She loves being involved with it all. “This is great bunch of hugely talented people,” she says. “There are such characters involved at Kihikihi, it’s a great event to be part of.”

Date Added: Wednesday, 5th February 2014