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The Committee

Nelson Dressage Committee - Meet the Team


Myra Friend.  

Born in England in the New Forest, showed an early interest in horses. Learned to ride at 12 years old when the family moved to NZ. Rode competitively from 1966 to 1990's. Travelled back to UK 1974, attained BHS Assistant Instructors Cert. and in 1978 BHS Grade 4 Riding & Horsemastership Cert. Specialised in Dressage from 1978 after attending World Dressage Champs at Goodwood, impressed by high level of training required for Grand Prix. Judged dressage from 1971, starting at Pony Club, progressing to Horse Society as it was then. 1981 achieved List 2. 1991 List 2A, then in 2001 appointed to List 1. Enjoy seeing riders and horses progress through the grades, developing their talents

President: Vanessa Roberts

Hi, my name is Vanessa Roberts.   As an adult I returned to riding about 6 years ago.  My daughter also rides, so most of my time has been spent supporting her.  I am now wanting to be more involved with the Nelson Dressage Group, and my goal is to get out there on my own horse and compete.

Vice president:

Hi my name is Helen Bowler. I hold the president's role at Nelson Dressage.
I am an adult rider who returned to riding approx 10 yrs ago.
I ride and compete my horse Monty.
My favourite saying is : "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway! "

I am also the area delegate, which is the liaison between Dressage NZ and the local area group. I pass on all the information sent from DNZ to the local area.  I attend the DNZ planning meeting held in Wellington in April and the annual convention in June, where I represent the Nelson area and convey our opinions and decisions to DNZ.


Judges Officer and DNZ delegate :  Suzanne Inglis

Treasurer: Gwen Gilmore

Gwen Gilmore was bought up in South Canterbury on a sheep and beef farm. Riding was a passion from early on with a range of typical farm experience where the horse or pony was also farm hack, pony club (ride to pony club only), hunter (ditto) and polo pony on Sunday. Her best horse was also the farms best asset and took her to South Canterbury one day event representation. Sadly, as the best farm asset he ended up in America as a polo pony as she left school. Later, with her husband Kevin she trained trotters from a base in Murchison and then Geraldine in the early 80s. With her children she sampled endurance riding in the 90’s before turning to somewhat her eclectic professional career in Education. In the 2000’s her education career took her to the UK, United Arab Emirates and Australia and watching horses from afar. On turning a certain age she decided to return to riding in Australia starting out with dressage. She has bought Dr James, a mature thoroughbred with a range of professional expertise, back from Australia to continue her riding adventures in Nelson. She is very grateful to her coaches for their patience, their guidance and advice. She is looking forward to contributing further to the riding community in Nelson.

Secretary : Sonia McMeekin


Writer Convenor

I’m Leigh Rodd and have taken over the role of Writer Co-ordinator. Although I rode as a child and teenager, I haven’t ridden much in recent years and never owned my own horse, as I rode at a live-in riding school. However my dream has now been realised through my daughter Emma who has her own pony and loves dressage! It’s a big learning curve, but a lot of (mostly!) fun too. If you are interested in writing please email or phone me.


Ph:0274 812 325

Hi there, I'm Corena Rhodes-Gillespie, I am new to the committee.  Looking forward to helping out where I can.  I'm a rider, and have just started the challenge of riding dressage with my show horse Hannah.

Nelson Dressage Convenors

 Contact Details
 Anna Terrell
 Ribbons & Trophies
Helen Bowler
 Health & Safety
 Vanessa  Baxter
 Day Secretary
Sharon Williams
 Summer Sponsorship
  Vanessa Hargreaves-Dowell