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29 GENUINE HILL COUNTRY BULLS ON OFFER
Monday, May 30, 2016 at 1pm
By Robbie Kay
ALTHOUGH he can’t see the stunning gold
horse on the 2015 New Zealand Riding for the
Disabled Rider of the Year trophy he won last
weekend, Brayden Guilford’s pretty sure his
special horse ‘Nimbus’ is much more beautiful.
The national award capped a great year
for the 12-year-old Otorohanga South
School student, who is severely
Brayden, who can only see
blurry shapes at best, and
‘Nimbus’ gave an outstand-
ing performance in an RDA
dressage competition in Sep-
tember, riding a very good
Grade One test without a help-
er (Waitomo News, October 1).
His trainer (and the owner of the
Clydesdale-cross horse) Marin Walmsley
says although ‘Nimbus’ is very much a dressage
novice, the pair received excellent comments
from the judge and achieved nine out of 10 points
for some movements.
“ The horse is big and strong, but she’s very
kind – she trusts Brayden,” says Mrs Walmsley.
“ They trained every week for three months in
my dressage arena during winter mastering the
test, which shows Brayden’s commitment to being
the best rider possible.”
He has ridden ‘Nimbus’ at Riding for the Disa-
bled sessions in Otorohanga since he was five and
the two have formed a strong bond.
“She’s pretty cool,” he says.
“I can’t believe I’ve won this big award . . . it’s
really all down to ‘Nimbus’.
“We trained hard to improve our dressage
OTOROHANGA equestrian Brayden Guilford (12) who is virtually blind, with the 2015 Rider
of the Year trophy he was awarded at the New Zealand Riding for the Disabled’s national
conference on Saturday night. He is pictured below left on ‘Nimbus’.
performance, but I didn’t mind.
“I like riding inside the arena because I can’t
go anywhere I shouldn’t be.
“And I’ve learned to trust her.
“I like the rhythm of the way she moves – she
makes me feel confident and safe.”
Brayden says learning the dressage test was
a challenge because he can’t see the let-
ters around the arena which mark
where the next movement or turn
He learned to count the
horse’s paces so he made the
changes in the right place.
Mrs Walmsley says she is
very proud of both Brayden
“When Brayden came out
to ride at our place he often rode
with my daughter going ahead of
him through the games and trotting
“His courage is amazing and he is a master at
covering up through witty joking.
“He also went on some farm rides with us
and was happy to trot along the races beside us.
“It wasn’t until his mum walked with us one
day pointing out the dips in the ground and
potential hazards that I was reminded of his
limitations. He certainly never asked for my help.”
Otorohanga RDA coach Lisa Ryan says she
feels humbled to have coached New Zealand’s
“Brayden has overcome so many hurdles to
achieve this award,” she says.
“He began with two side walkers, graduating
to one side walker as his balance improved, then
to a leader only as his confidence grew.
“Now in the dressage arena, it’s just him and
‘Nimbus’ – it’s awesome to watch.
“He’ll quite happily trot off down the long side
of the arena and he plays all the pony club games.
“ There are no limits to what he’ll have a go at.
“ To win rider of the year when he’s only 12 is
Brayden says he is keen to continue riding
‘Nimbus’ at RDA, but he’s not sure what his next
equestrian challenge might be.
His parents Michael and Paula say they are
grateful to the many RDA volunteers, including
his trainer and coach, who have put in hundreds
of hours to help their son enjoy – and be rather
good at – riding.
caps great year
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