Forde A Familiar Face
Cathie Forde has been part of the Horse of the Year Show every year it has been hosted in Hawke’s Bay.
Over those 19 years, the farmer from Elsthorpe has done everything from stewarding to sandwich making, judging and more. This year she is back again, this time as the show hunter announcer, the person in charge of presentations, and wingman to section coordinator Sandy Richmond.
“It is just something you get caught up in,” she says.
A grandmother to two – who aren’t into riding yet – she brought her own three children up competing across the disciplines. Daughter Ashleigh is still riding and will this year compete at HOY aboard 18-year-old My Gummi Bear in show hunter classes. They’ve been doing well in showjumping as well over the season, but aren’t doing that at HOY.
Forde, a senior national show hunter judge, got involved in the discipline about 21 years ago.
“Show hunter is good because it teaches them balance, gives them the rhythm and reinforces basic riding. If you can do a good show hunter round, you can go out and do anything. I have always thought it teaches them so much about their own riding.”
Forde is also heavily involved Pony Club, and is an instructor, area president and the Heretaunga District Commissioner.
“There is something special about watching these young riders develop and come through the grades. It is the people and community that brings it all together,” she says.
Over the years, Forde has seen HOY in its many guises.
“The concept of HOY has changed so much since we were first involved, but I do still enjoy it,” she says. “Just catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. This is the penultimate show of the year for everything and a gathering of all those who can compete – they’ve qualified and worked so hard for it all year. It really is all things equestrian coming together.”
When she’s not teaching one of the 327 youngsters at the Heretaunga Pony Club or helping out at a show or other equestrian event, Forde is likely to be on the bull beef and lamb farm with husband Tim.