Maia Waretini and his family have been busy raising money for the 17-year-old’s trip to the UK as part of the New Zealand Royal Agricultural Society’s Youth Squad. Each of the riders has to fund the trip themselves but will have incredible experiences at the Welsh National Show, as well as the Longines Royal International Show at Hickstead. Horses will be provided and the squad will be hosted by UK families.
They are flying to the UK in July, and Maia’s family have pulled out all stops to raise the money needed. As well as selling pine cones and holding raffles, Maia has been given a small grant by the Wigram Lions Club. He and his friends have been taking on other paid jobs such as painting a racehorse trainer’s fence.
But, the most special effort of all was a fundraising show held at Rangiora. Despite deteriorating weather conditions, it was a huge success with more than 100 entries.
“It is going amazingly well,” said Maia at the conclusion of the in-hand sections. “We have raised about $3000 and there is still money coming in for raffles. We used all donated ribbons, coming from lots of people. Everyone has been so generous. We have had so many people helping us – I’m immensely grateful to people such as Mandy Phillips.”
The winners received ribbons which had been recycled, as well as gifts donated by supporters. Sarah Cronin donated the Garland which went to the Supreme In-hand winner, Abbey Sinclair on My Prima Donna.
After leaving school, Maia moved up to Auckland, where he rode show horses as well as riding track work. One of the people he worked for is Kevin Cholmondeley-Smith. “Kevin taught me a lot; it’s been a great learning opportunity,” he says.
He is currently riding an 18hh warmblood called Romeo for Kate Leonie. The young horse is doing dressage and riding horse competitions and they are aiming him for next year’s rising star riding horse classes at HOY.
Maia is very excited about the UK trip: “I can’t wait. I’ve been to Australia to Equitana, but this is by far the biggest trip I have done. I’ve been competing in showing forever, and saw this as a great opportunity, so I took it.”
You can read more about Maia’s trip in the article on this link.