An eye for the horses

Nathan Pearson isn’t your average teenage horse-enthusiast.

His passion for horses began when he saddled up, aged four, for his lessons at Greenhithe Riding for the Disabled in Auckland.

“I’d never seen him sit and stand so straight. Horse riding was like his weekly physiotherapy,” mum Natalie Pearson says.

Fifteen years on and with the aid of a new funding initiative, he is an aspiring photographer, while staying true to his love for horses.

And this weekend he’ll be photographing riders at the Takapoto Classic at Maungatautari.

“Equestrian is my social life and now it has the potential to become my business, I’m really excited,” he says.

Nathan Pearson in action.

Nathan’ was born prematurely and faced early challenges when he experienced hypoxia, resulting in cerebral palsy, making him a regular wheelchair user.

His interest in photography was sparked by a family photo session.

Now he is combining his two passions.

When the family heard about Manawanui’s Fund For Good initiative, Natalie secretly entered him.

Out of hundreds of applicants this year, nine received funding – and Nathan was granted $7000.

“I was looking for a custom-built tripod that can be mounted to my wheelchair so I can comfortably use my camera for long periods at events,” he says.

The funding will also cover some courses with tutors from Canon.

Manawanui is an individualised funding provider and started the Fund For Good initiative in 2018.

Manawanui’s Chief Executive Marsha Marshall says Manawanui started the funding initiative after realising that money that was being budgeted for various events and sponsorships in the disability sector could have a greater impact by giving it directly to customers.

“Some of the brilliant things people use the money for is to start micro-enterprises or seed funding for small businesses, getting qualifications, or accessing specialised equipment that is not funded elsewhere.”

She believes the impact of Fund For Good is more profound than any general event or sponsorship could achieve.

Nathan coaches non-riders at Wainoni Pony Club where he has a particular interest in dressage and show jumping.

“It’s not often you see someone in a wheelchair at equestrian events and so many people always ask to see the photos I take so I’d love to be able to offer quality images to horse riders, clubs, and event organisers,” he says.

He has big plans for his equestrian photography business, with Horse of the Year next in his sights.

“I’ve just finished high school and so everything truly has fallen into place.”

Nathan Pearson will be behind the camera at Takapoto Estate.



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