Levin woman Louise Duncan has again achieved success at the country's premier equestrian competition, taking home a host of accolades at Horse of the Year last month.
Duncan, who suffered a series of strokes and endured extensive rehabilitation after contracting meningitis as a teenager, has fought her way determinedly through equestrian competitions in New Zealand, competing in both Para and able-bodied categories.
At this year's competition, riding Wolkenstein BC, Duncan's results in the able-bodied category were: Level 5: Test 5C - 12th, Musical - 12th, 5D - 8th. Horse of the Year Level 5 title - 12th.
In the Para category: Grade 4 :Teams test - 3rd, Championship Test - 1st, Para Musical - 2nd. Horse of the Year Para Grade 4 title - runner-up.
Riding her other horse Northern Ivanthus, her results in the Para category were: Teams Test - 2nd, Championship - 3rd, Para Musical - 1st.
She also took out the Overall Horse of the Year Para IV Title with first place.
Para Equestrian gives people with mild to severe disabilities the opportunity to train and compete at dressage competition on equal terms. It became the fifth discipline in Equestrian Sports NZ in 2009 and is different from special categories, which include athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Participants compete at a certain grade based on their level of impairment, or against able-bodied riders if they choose.
To prepare for the event, Duncan said she did daily schooling six days a week, lessons with her mother who is an equestrian coach and monthly sessions with visiting trainers John Thompson and Andrea Raves.
"I wasn't going to let meningitis beat me," Duncan said.
"I've always been a glass half full person. Dressage is my passion. I've have had huge encouragement and support from friends and family to enable me to get back into riding and to attain the level I have."