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Pahiatua woman Sue Hobson, right, has been elected as president of Equestrian Sport New Zealand. Here she is pictured with dressage judge Marcia Bayley.
EQUESTRIAN: Pahīatua woman and long-time official Sue Hobson has been elected as the president of Equestrian Sports New Zealand.
Hobson has been the national judges officer for Dressage New Zealand for the past 12 years, a job where she is responsible for the training and development of all the nation’s national judges.
In her four-plus decades of involvement in equestrian, she has competed in eventing, showjumping and dressage, the latter for New Zealand in trans-Tasman teams at Prix St Georges and Grand Prix level as well as for New Zealand in the world dressage challenge.
Hobson has been head of the dressage ground jury at the Horse of the Year show for a decade and judged on both sides of the Tasman, as well as Europe, Asia and the United Kingdom.
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She is known for her direct approach.
“If you ask me a question, expect an answer,” she said. “I think a lot of people know that I am very straight up and down. It probably comes from all the judging I have done.
“It is very important you don’t mollycoddle people. People need to know what they need to know.”
Hobson came to New Zealand from the United Kingdom in 1974, living first in Upper Hutt before moving to Pahīatua where she and husband Brian started Hobson Horsecoaches.
She was then an eventer, but a new-found friendship with Claire Daniel sparked a move to focus more on dressage.
“Claire was hugely passionate about dressage and had previously been head coach for Canada’s eventing team,” Hobson said. “She wanted to get more New Zealand riders doing better basics.
“At that stage I had a horse that was good at dressage, so that’s what I did. If you look at all the world leaders in equestrian, their initial work is flat work. Getting those basics correct helps all disciplines.”
She tasted success in dressage and the rest is history.
She sold her young horse a couple of years ago when she decided to start judging full-time. She is one of four FEI4* judges in New Zealand.
While you won’t see her inside an arena, don’t think for a moment she has lost her competitive spirit.
“I am a very competitive person and it is the same when you are judging. You are competing against yourself when you judge. I find it exciting and very rewarding.”
Through Hobson Horsecoaches, Hobson knows many people from across the disciplines.
“It was our livelihood for 43 years. We were the first ones to build committed luxury horse coaches.
“We started part-time, just working after work and weekends, and it snowballed from there.”
Hobson, who is a life member of Equestrian Sports New Zealand was looking forward to getting her teeth into her new role.
“I want to make sure our communication is top notch. I know people don’t always read everything they receive, but they are far more open when they know and understand what is going on so making everything more user-friendly is important to me.
“I just love the sport, it has been part of my life since moving to New Zealand. I love talking to people and meeting people, talking with sponsors and encouraging more to be involved in positions like stewarding, judging and volunteering.”
She was looking forward to getting out and about at more competitions when not judging.