Jumping for Lara

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A fundraiser sponsored by a disabled former rider’s family is being launched ahead of the Wakatipu’s biggest one-day equestrian event.

Lara McGregor, 41, from Frankton has been confined to a wheelchair since being severely injured in a car crash in the Kawarau Gorge in 1992.

Tomorrow the inaugural Lara McGregor Six Bar Jumping Competition will be held from 6pm at the Wakatipu Pony Club grounds.

It’s a curtainraiser for Sunday’s big one-day trial at the Speargrass Flat Road course and will raise money for Catwalk – a not-for-profit organisation supporting research into cures for paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

“Before her accident, Lara was an active member of the Wakatipu Pony Club and still has a keen interest in horses,” says her mum Shirley.

“She likes to attend the one-day trial when she can and last year we expressed an interest in sponsoring an event.
“From that, the idea emerged for a jumping competition in Lara’s name.”

The fundraiser – for 12 competitors – has $300 in prize money. The evening event also features a bar­becue.

“The local community has been very supportive to­­­wards Lara, and the family is delighted to be able to put a little back,” Shirley adds, referring to a Mountain Scene community fundraiser which brought in donations of $12,000 for a special wheelchair.

Meanwhile on Sunday, a group of up-and-coming young Canterbury riders will saddle up alongside some strong local entrants for the one-day trial, now in its fourth year.

They’ll be joined by Tinks Pottinger, who won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and another top Kiwi, Annabel Wigley, who’s bringing four horses.

Last year’s event attracted more than 130 top competitors, with even more expected this time for dressage, show jumping and cross-country disciplines.