All Blacks great Richie McCaw will be donating a signed All Blacks jersey - in an effort to help raise vital funds for spinal injury sufferers.
The double World Cup-winning captain has put up the jersey and a signed rugby ball for auction at the Horse of the Year event's Equestrian Sports NZ hall of fame cocktail evening on Thursday.
Proceeds from the evening will go to the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust, aimed at getting paralysis sufferers out of their wheelchairs and back on their feet.
McCaw, the most capped test player in history, is a patron of the trust.
"I have seen the effects of spinal injuries and how much of a life-changing event this is," McCaw said.
"Playing rugby I have seen how bad luck can change your life in an instant forever and realising the risk is always there has meant CatWalk's work has always been something I have supported closely."
Spinal injuries affect a number of horse riders every year in New Zealand, with the latest ACC statistics showing the cost and number of compensation claims for horse riding injuries increasing since 2012 - with claims totalling more than $20 million for the year ending June 2017.
Auckland jockey Maija Vance is one of the riders whose life was turned upside down when she was involved in a horror fall in September last year.
The 27-year-old was having just her third hurdle ride when Zedsational misjudged a fence and flipped, smashing into her at Arawa Park in Rotorua. o
That left Vance with smashed teeth which almost cut her tongue off, two punctured lungs from broken ribs but most worryingly five fractures in her spine, including two vertebrae.
"A spinal injury could affect anyone at any time and having a cure would be awesome - so dig deep and support the great work CatWalk is doing to fund this research," McCaw said.
Other items under the hammer include a signed rugby ball from former All Black first-five Dan Carter, memorabilia from Olympic equestrian great Blyth Tait, a signed Black Caps cricket bat and a 250kg powder coated horseshoe sculpture, created and donated by young equestrian Olivia Ahlborn.
The annual Horse of the Year show is New Zealand's premier equestrian competition, featuring over 1400 riders and 1800 horses competing in multiple disciplines.
The show is held at the Hawke's Bay showgrounds and runs until Sunday.