Darfield’s show legend

by Kent Caddick

Jackie Hill of Darfield is now officially a Canterbury A&P Show legend.

The 78-year-old was presented with the prestigious Show Legend Award at the 155th Canterbury A&P Show last week.

“It was out of the blue that one and I was overwhelmed by the recognition, It seemed all my family knew it was coming but not me.” she said. 

Mrs Hill began her association with the show when she first competed in the equestrian section as a 12-year-old.

For the last 20 years she has helped organise the programme for the Horse and Pony Section at the Canterbury A&P Show as a member of the Horse Committee.

She said she has had a lifelong love of horses.

“It first started when my parents bought me a rocking horse when I was five years old. I think they thought it would satisfy me but it didn’t.

“When I was about 12 I went to stay with my sister and her husband in Geraldine when my parents travelled overseas.

“My brother-in-law told my parents the best way for me to get to school was on a horse so they bought me a pony and I got my dream.”

She then started competing in equestrian events with dressage becoming a specialty for her and continued to take part in dressage competitions up to the age of 65. She was chair of the Canterbury Dressage Group for a number of years.

She first joined the Riccarton-Fendalton Pony Club before moving on to become an instructor at the Waihora Pony Club for many years. She has now taught all her six grandchildren to ride. 

Dressage is Jackie Hill’s first love when it comes to equestrian competitions

She said for her riding wasn’t about collecting trophies but about the pure enjoyment of spending time with the horses and the equestrian fraternity.

Mrs Hill was originally from Christchurch but after her marriage to Geoff they first ran a stud farm near Prebbleton before moving to Aylesbury where they had a sheep farm. 

The couple moved to Darfield after they retired but both continue to work with their son Richard who is the manager at Flock Hill Station.

“It’s just down the road so both of us spend a bit of time there and will go for the odd ride there.”

She said she never had a thought of joining the Canterbury A&P Association which she has been involved with since 1997.

“One day someone asked me if I’d like to be on the committee, and I did, so I guess I was conned into it.”

She has noticed a few changes to the Canterbury show over the years.

“It just seems to get bigger and bigger and it is such a wonderful thing now for Christchurch and Canterbury.

It brings everybody together,” Mrs Hill said.