Three years ago when the TV series Keeping up with the Kaimanawas aired, it was the talk of the classroom.
'Horse crazy' kids watched every episode with enthusiasm and affection, all vowing that one day they too would love to own and train a wild Kaimanawa horse.
That dream became a reality for Year 8 Opoutere School student Aime Utting when she got the opportunity to handle and train her own wild Kaimanawa horse at the Wilson sisters' farm in Northland.
Aime spent four weeks away from her family living on the farm training her own 6-month-old Kaimanawa foal she named Lacey. She was one of the youngest handlers at the four week workshop during her term one school holidays.
With a scholarship from the Wilson sisters and support from her parents Brandon and Nicky, Aime was mentored through the process of taming her first wild horse.
"I am bursting with pride at how tenacious and gutsy Aime is. She had to manage her (type 1) diabetes without help, but had the time of her life working incredibly hard in the stables and gaining life experience. We missed her like crazy but my gosh, who could say no to an experience like that!" Nicky said.
Aime says the experience was a dream come true.
"I loved every second of it! If I could go back and do it again I would. This has inspired me to work harder and to know that I can achieve my dreams."