Her strong background in farming and the equine world, has equipped Delma Dunham well to deliver the Ag Challenge Animal Care Technology (Equine or Companion Animals), Level 3 programme.

Born and raised on the family sheep and wheat farm in Western Australia, Dunham always had horses around her and of course her daily chores were on the land.

Her equine experience was inborn; her grandfather and uncle trains thoroughbred racehorses and she later joined pony club, western riding and did equestrian riding while growing up.

"I grew up with horses and even at 8 and 9 I was exercising my grandfather's racehorses after they had spelled," Dunham recalled.

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"I've been riding since I was 2 and came through the pony club path and a time barrel racing in the western riding ranks. I also showjumped a bit. All this continued when I came to New Zealand."

After settling in Whanganui and raising children, Dunham became heavily involved in the Petre Pony Club and is a former president of the Tayforth Rd organisation.

For the past two and half years she has delivered the Animal Care Technology (Equine or Companion Animals), Level 3 programmes and Ag Challenge, a job she loves.

"I actually find it very therapeutic. My students also love the courses. The equine students volunteer their time with Riding For The Disabled, while the companion animals give their time freely at the SPCA and the Wanganui Veterinary Services clinic as part of their courses," Dunham said.

Most of this year's first intake have graduated and are going on to do one of the level 5 programmes (Vet Nursing or Rural Animal Tech).

Ag Challenge is currently looking for people to join the second intake of Dunham's 22-week programmes, which will start on July 15.