One of New Zealand’s longest serving Endurance official’s, Wendy Farnell of Mayfield, Mid Canterbury, has been promoted by FEI to level 3 FEI Endurance Steward. This makes Wendy the only level 3 Endurance Steward in the country and the first Kiwi to have reached this esteemed level.

“I am really honoured and proud to have been promoted by FEI to Level 3 FEI Steward! I have been told that I am the first to reach this level for New Zealand Endurance so I am really chuffed.”

Wendy first got involved in Endurance in 1990 when she met her husband John. Endurance then became a family affair, when her son Paul Cross decided that he wanted to follow John’s footsteps and from there it was no going back.

Before she became involved in Endurance, Wendy had been involved in show jumping, was the head instructor at the local pony club and was currently hunting. She rode her hunter in a 25km Endurance ride the day after participating in a hunt and thought it was easier than hunting. She didn’t let that put her off though. Right from the second ride she attended Wendy was working on the ground, getting to know the sport and working her way up the official ladder. ‘I fell in love with the sport”.

Wendy and John didn’t spend all of their time in New Zealand. They also travelled the world taking horses with them. In 1997 they travelled with horse to Qatar, where they met some people who were impressed with their horses and training and offered Wendy and John jobs. They spent three years in the desert, sleeping during the day and training during the cooler nights. They then headed up to Europe, spending three years in Germany and another three in the Czech Republic, before heading home to finally meet their grandchildren.

This time away also presented Wendy with opportunities to officiate in many different countries across Europe, including the Czech Republic, Switzerland, many in Germany and also all the way down in South Africa.

John gave up riding in 2007 but Wendy was determined to stay involved. For the last four years she has been a national official’s course director as well as being an official herself. Her son, Paul is also still involved in Endurance now, often attending events as the Farrier or just coming along to volunteer and catch up with old mates from his days as a junior.

In her own words Wendy is ‘busy all the time’ but she wouldn’t have it any other way.