Game Changers Taking Maddie Collins To Takapoto 

The ESNZ Game Changers programme has raised awareness that we can all change someone’s day for the better.

Dressage NZ saw the TVNZ Seven Sharp clip about Canterbury dressage pony rider Maddie Collins whose dream to compete at the 2021 Land Rover Horse of the Year Show was shattered when it was covid cancelled. Maddie had entered for the major Pony of the Year title at Medium level.  Land Rover have generously offered to support her trip for next year, but for Maddie, 2022 probably seems like an eternity away.  It was a moment in time when Dressage NZ saw the opportunity to become a Game Changer as a national organisation and offer Maddie and her pony Buckton Denniston (Dennis) a trip to Oro Dressage by the Lake

Support has quickly gathered with ESNZ partner, Majestic Horse Floats LP offering complimentary return travel for Dennis from Christchurch. Tayla Johns Marketing Manager for Majestic said Providing transport for Dennis up to Cambridge is the least we could do. We wish Maddie every success and we hope she has a truly special time”.

Clare Austin from Oro Equestrian is supporting the venture with a contribution to costs and an Oro goodie bag, and Christine Weal Equestrian is providing accommodation and care for Dennis at her stables for a few days prior to the event to make sure he is well rested and on track for his Takapoto adventure. Dressage NZ is contributing to the cost of the adventure and also assisting the family with logistics.

On being told about the trip, which was secretly arranged with her Mum Sarah, Maddie said  

“I’m so excited to have been given such an awesome opportunity to compete at Takapoto it looks like such an amazing place to compete in. I’m so grateful to Dressage NZ for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to watch and learn from the other riders too”. 



About Maddie

Maddie was diagnosed in Dec 2008 with a kidney disorder, Nephrotic Syndrome. Maddie did not respond to any of the treatments to control the disease – high doses of steroids, 13 weeks of chemo & immune suppressing drugs.  In August 2011 Maddie had her first kidney removed & started dialysis every night until a transplant was possible. Maddie’s second kidney was removed September 2012.

Over the years of Maddie’s disease developing to FSGS Maddie has been on life support and required Air Ambulance transfers to a specialist child ICU unit in Auckland, numerous times required many surgeries & has spent many admissions lasting months in hospital. Maddie was not able to have a normal childhood.

In October 2012 Maddie’s dad Adam gave Maddie one of his kidneys. Unfortunately, Maddie’s disease was to return in her transplanted kidney.  

As Maddie’s disease returned so quickly & aggressively the family has been told that the chances of Maddie getting another transplant when this kidney fails ( transplanted kidneys do not last a lifetime) that there is a high chance that New Zealand will not offer Maddie another transplant due to her not meeting the transplant criteria.  Thus the family are trying to make every day count and on those well days giving Maddie as many opportunities to live life to the full & have many experiences as possible despite her daily routine of dialysis .