Judging for the love of it

'I love seeing kids learning and moving up through the grades'

'I love seeing kids learning and moving up through the grades'

CONGRATS: Gisborne jumping stalwart Kaye Williams (above) who has recently won the 2017 Chris Hodson Scholarship which she will use to attend an FEI level 3 jumping judge’s course in Sydney later this year. Picture by Paul Rickard
RUNS IN THE FAMILY: Daughter Tess Clark rides at top national level and will compete in the World Cup series this season.

Gisborne equestrian jumping judge Kaye Williams, a recent recipient of the 2017 Chris Hodson Scholarship, reflects on her 32 years of judging and her love of the Poverty Bay A&P Show.

Kaye Williams started her judging career 32 years ago when pregnant and unable to ride at the Poverty Bay A&P Show.

“I wanted to be at the Show and was not good at doing nothing,” she said.

It has led to plenty. Just this week she was presented the 2017 Chris Hodson Scholarship, which is awarded to support the development of a dedicated New Zealand official who aims to rise up the ranks as a Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) official.

Williams is currently New Zealand’s only FEI level 2 international judge. She has been the chair of the area and a committee member for 35 years and counting. She has also been an Equestrian Sports New Zealand jumping board member, a national young rider and junior selector and on the equestrian board for the Horse of the Year Show.

Williams’ journey through the ranks of the FEI started as a candidate, which led to an international level 1, and 2 and now she has her sights set on level 3. In December she will travel to Australia for a seminar and will have to sit an exam to move to the next level. She was nominated for the scholarship by the jumping board.

“I was really chuffed to win it,” she said. “People from all the disciplines applied and it is nice to have some recognition.”

Williams would love to judge at bigger events overseas.

“This next qualification will mean I can do a lot more travelling. New Zealand has never had a judge at the Olympic Games or World Equestrian Games before . . . but you never know! It is everyone’s hope in the end.”

Williams rode at top national level and won the Lady Rider of the Year, a title her daughter Tess emulated many years later. She kept riding until Tess had “too many ponies in the truck”. Tess continues to ride at top national level and will compete in the World Cup series this season. Williams has been chef d’equipe for young New Zealand teams to Korea for FEI competitions, and for young rider teams on both sides of the Tasman.

“It is good being a chef and knowing the rules (as an FEI official) — it can be a big advantage,” she says. “I absolutely love the sport. It’s healthy and you look around at all these kids out there being busy, having fun and enjoying their riding — right from those who are grandmothers and have been riding for decades to the youngsters. I love seeing kids learning and moving up through the grades.”

Williams regularly travels to shows throughout New Zealand to judge and steward — she is an FEI level 1 steward. Her love of the Poverty Bay A&P Show is clear, and there is a sense of pride too.

“There is such a great crew involved here,” she said. “We had more than 28 people here early in the week helping to set the rings up. It’s a show that has a very good feel about it, and is great to be part of. It’s a real shame it clashes with Equidays (in the Waikato).”

Gisborne equestrian jumping judge Kaye Williams, a recent recipient of the 2017 Chris Hodson Scholarship, reflects on her 32 years of judging and her love of the Poverty Bay A&P Show.

Kaye Williams started her judging career 32 years ago when pregnant and unable to ride at the Poverty Bay A&P Show.

“I wanted to be at the Show and was not good at doing nothing,” she said.

It has led to plenty. Just this week she was presented the 2017 Chris Hodson Scholarship, which is awarded to support the development of a dedicated New Zealand official who aims to rise up the ranks as a Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) official.

Williams is currently New Zealand’s only FEI level 2 international judge. She has been the chair of the area and a committee member for 35 years and counting. She has also been an Equestrian Sports New Zealand jumping board member, a national young rider and junior selector and on the equestrian board for the Horse of the Year Show.

Williams’ journey through the ranks of the FEI started as a candidate, which led to an international level 1, and 2 and now she has her sights set on level 3. In December she will travel to Australia for a seminar and will have to sit an exam to move to the next level. She was nominated for the scholarship by the jumping board.

“I was really chuffed to win it,” she said. “People from all the disciplines applied and it is nice to have some recognition.”

Williams would love to judge at bigger events overseas.

“This next qualification will mean I can do a lot more travelling. New Zealand has never had a judge at the Olympic Games or World Equestrian Games before . . . but you never know! It is everyone’s hope in the end.”

Williams rode at top national level and won the Lady Rider of the Year, a title her daughter Tess emulated many years later. She kept riding until Tess had “too many ponies in the truck”. Tess continues to ride at top national level and will compete in the World Cup series this season. Williams has been chef d’equipe for young New Zealand teams to Korea for FEI competitions, and for young rider teams on both sides of the Tasman.

“It is good being a chef and knowing the rules (as an FEI official) — it can be a big advantage,” she says. “I absolutely love the sport. It’s healthy and you look around at all these kids out there being busy, having fun and enjoying their riding — right from those who are grandmothers and have been riding for decades to the youngsters. I love seeing kids learning and moving up through the grades.”

Williams regularly travels to shows throughout New Zealand to judge and steward — she is an FEI level 1 steward. Her love of the Poverty Bay A&P Show is clear, and there is a sense of pride too.

“There is such a great crew involved here,” she said. “We had more than 28 people here early in the week helping to set the rings up. It’s a show that has a very good feel about it, and is great to be part of. It’s a real shame it clashes with Equidays (in the Waikato).”

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