Some people utilise their acres of lifestyle property to farm, others just want the space, but Shirley Hazelwood has turned hers into a tribute to horses.
The Kaponga celebrity has been collecting ornaments, pictures, puzzles and even scarfs since the age of five. ``It's just the love of them. The gentle giants is what I call them,'' she says.
With around 1800 ornaments in her home, Shirley might just be one of the biggest horse lovers you will ever come across.
Shirley opens her Dawson Street home to tour parties and the public where she plays DVDs of her brother pulling a cart by horse, and shows her private collection of memorabilia from New Zealand and around the world. ``The visitors from the rest homes love it. It's in their era.''
Shirley's father never owned a tractor, the farm work was done by horse, something that has run in the family for
``He (brother) has the real things and his sister has the pictures.''
Shirley was diagnosed with polio in 1948 at the age of 14 months and is now in a wheel chair after losing one of her legs from the knee cap down.
Shirley would drive the Clydesdales' in parades, which she says makes her feel like she isn't disabled. Being in a wheelchair hasn't stopped Shirley owning a horse. She is the proud owner of a miniature horse called lucky who shares a paddock with the pet goat.
Although Shirley is wheelchair-bound, she is a volunteer field officer for the Taranaki Disabled Persons Assembly. In
2006, Shirley was awarded the Queens Service Medal for her ``inspirational achievements''.
Shirley says she loves to see visitors' faces when they can share their love for horses with her.
And if you haven't been to the museum yet, Shirley says there's still time. ''I'll never stop collecting.''
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