Tributes are pouring in from around New Zealand for a young woman and horse enthusiast who died when a farm vehicle rolled near Waipukurau on Saturday.
Twenty-year-old Samara Windle, from the Ruapehu area, was well known throughout the rodeo and equestrian communities.
Windle comes from a rodeo family with her father the president of the Waimarino Rodeo Club and mother a longstanding member of the New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association.
National secretary Diana Bradshaw said she remembered Windle competing as a junior barrel racer from as a young girl.
“She was a sparkly young girl on her little pony.”
Now on the cusp of adulthood, she was viewed as a mentor by younger riders.
“She was a great horsewoman – very talented.
“She was just gorgeous.
“Everybody loved her.
“Those young kids really looked up to her.”
Windle was meant to be competing at the Mid Northern Rodeo over the weekend but her horse was lame.
She died on Saturday when the 4×4 farm vehicle she was a passenger on rolled at a rural property near Waipukurau.
Emergency services were called at 11.30am and medical assistance was provided but she died at the scene.
Two others on the vehicle also sustained minor injuries.
Her death had left the community reeling with many riders at the Mid Northern Rodeo paying tribute to her during their ride, Bradshaw said
“There was such an outpouring of grief [at the Mid Northern Rodeo].
“The community is just devastated.”
She said fellow cowboys and rodeo riders from around the country would be travelling down to her funeral at the family farm in Raetihi on Wednesday and would be wearing their hats.
“We have been blessed to be a part of Samara’s life.
“From the sparkling junior barrel racer, to a tough rookie and blossoming into the gorgeous, vivacious open barrel racer we all loved.”
Rodney Schick, Windsor Park Stud stud master and owner where Windle had worked for about 18 months, said she was a “very hard worker” and “talented horsewoman”.
“She was an outstanding young lady.
“She had a lovely personality with a big character.”
Her first job “away from home”, he said he and wife Gina had gotten to know her other well during the lockdown period and she was great with their kids.
He said the team had been rocked by news of her death.
“She was a big part of the team here.
“It’s been pretty tough.”
He said Windle had dreamed of going to work in the Australian outback.
“She had a lot of life left to live.”
Police extended their sympathies to Windle’s family and friends.
Inquiries into the incident are ongoing.
Both the Serious Crash Unit and Worksafe NZ have been notified.
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