Wendi Williamson is continuing to fly the New Zealand dressage flag on a journey she hopes can end at next year’s World Equestrian Games.
The potential road to Tryon in North Carolina is a long and winding one, but the 46-year-old geologist from Auckland will make it easily if commitment and determination are the principal ingredients.
By the time she arrived at this year’s Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show in Cheshire this week, Williamson estimated she had completed around 200 hours of travelling since leaving New Zealand on March 1.
That journey has also taken in appearances at the World Cup final in Omaha, at Hagen, Germany, Royal Windsor, Bolesworth and then Hartpury in Gloucestershire before heading back home and then hopefully returning early next year to do it all again.
Riding her top horse Dejavu MH, Williamson delivered a highly-competitive grand prix performance at Bolesworth, where rival competitors included the likes of British trio Carl Hester, Michael Eilberg and Gareth Hughes.
And with double Olympic dressage champion Charlotte Dujardin also competing a number of her younger horses, Williamson admits that the time spent overseas has proved to be a rich learning experience.
“It’s massive for me in terms of being able to do this,” she said.
“The biggest things I am lucky about are my husband, who is so supportive, and he loves the horses. And secondly, my job with Tonkin + Taylor (an Auckland-based environmental and engineering consulting company), and how helpful they have been to help enable me to do this.
“I can’t do it without the support I get. It is very expensive, which is why I work full-time. You have to want to really do it and give that commitment, and I feel that if I didn’t keep challenging yourself, then I don’t know if I would do it.
“Coming here was a massive challenge, but it has been unbelievable. We’ve been to Omaha, Hagen and now Bolesworth, and then we will look to come back next year.
“We think we have done nearly 200 hours of travelling since we left home on March 1. We’ve been to the UK, to America and back, to Germany and back, and now we are here for Bolesworth and Hartpury and then we are going home.
“We went to Germany and we saw a lot of interest from the general public, and here as well. Carl and Charlotte draw a lot of attention to the sport – they do a fanatstic job as ambassadors for dressage.
“I am hoping to get to the worlds. The experience over here has been amazing and has given us lots to take home with us, and the plan is to come back over next year.
“Eventing and showjumping is massive in New Zealand, but the dressage numbers are really growing.
“It would be a career dream to get to the World Games. I would love to go, and now to go back to New Zealand and share my experiences of over here will be great.”