Special Trophy in Honour of Long-time Supporter
There’ll be a special someone missing from the sidelines of the Archibald & Shorter North Shore Show Jumping World Cup Festival, but he will certainly not be forgotten.
Long-time supporter John Rhodes died in November, just short of his 80th birthday. He and his wife Kathy had often talked about a trophy and while it has all happened faster than Kathy anticipated, she is excited to be presenting the Rhodes Family Trophy to the winner of the 1.4m championship at the show.
Show Jumping Waitemata president Emma Buckingham said the organisation is forever grateful for John’s support and involvement in the sport. “He was someone who never sought the limelight and just quietly supported wherever he could,” she said. And it was Emma who suggested the 1.4m championship.
Kathy said John had wanted it to be for a big event, so the World Cup Final show is certainly fitting. She designed the glass trophy which was made by Mark Adcock. “John didn’t get to see it but he would love it. I am so happy with it – it is exactly what I wanted.”
Animals were the connector between Kathy and John who married in 2014 after being together for some time. “I miss him a lot. We did absolutely everything together. It still doesn’t really feel real,” she says.
Kathy started her involvement with Show Jumping Waitemata with John about 15 or so years ago. “I always had horses but hadn’t showjumped. Our first date was riding in the forest in the pouring rain and our honeymoon was in a horse truck with our horses.”
Together they would head to shows in Taupo and Rotorua where Kathy would groom for John.
His first thought for the day was always about a plan with the horses. As he got sicker and couldn’t walk, the horse truck would be used as his own corporate box so he could see Brooke Knight-Wills or David Collett riding their horses or watch at a show.
They both loved Woodhill Sands, and particularly the people involved there. “They are all so good and so friendly.”
Kathy has been busy repotting plants with Louise Blair in readiness for the World Cup Final Show. “It is good to keep busy.”
She still lives on their Muriwai Valley farm with their animals who were always so special to John. “He was always so cheerful,” says Kathy. “He was on a dialysis machine nine hours a day but never complained. He could sit in the kitchen and see his cows on the hill. He just loved that. The day he died, all 50 of them gathered right outside the kitchen window. They just knew and were all there watching.”
It was a serene and fitting send off for a very special man.